Trip leader Wil knows Ken and Vicki Siefker, owners of the Siefker Sawmill just outside Delphos, Ohio. They own a wonderful piece of property along the Auglaize River with a nice log cabin and a great camping area for OHCRA folks who love tent camping. Wil and Gloria arrived early Thursday afternoon and set up camp followed by Ted and Connie, Harold and Laurie and Tom. Early evening saw Tony and Tootsie the dog pull in and set up. The eight folks sat around a wonderful campfire, fed with slab wood from the sawmill which was 100-150 yards away. The warm, starlit evening was very relaxing especially after all the coronavirus issues 2020 had brought to the world.
Friday morning had a slow start then talk of paddling a 7.5-mile upstream stretch was had. Tom, Tony and Wil shuttled to the Main Street bridge just north of Buckland. The USGS stream gage read 2.6 feet. 6 more inches of water would have been nice, but everyone made it downstream just fine. Tootsie was riding shotgun in Tony's canoe and since Tony forgot the dog pad he made for the front of the canoe, Tootsie tried riding on an extra paddle. One hard thrush of Tony's paddle to get through a low area, sent Tootsie into the water. The wet looking rat was pulled back in the boat and life continued. The OHCRA members saw turtles, squirrels, blue herons, Baltimore Oriole and numerous other songbirds. Tootsie managed to fall into the river a second time and after dog paddling a moment, she spent the rest of the trip in between Tony's legs. There were not many pictures taken to document the excursion since Tony dropped his old cell phone that was being used just for a camera, into the water. After searching a few minutes, it was found and turned off to help save it. A saying materialized "not a violent person. I just cuss a lot". The 7.5-mile mark at Agerter Road has a nice designated launch ramp. The Happy Paddles Canoe Livery uses that part of the river and keeps it cleared.
Back at camp the other folks played Yahtzee for money while enjoying a beautiful day camping. Soon everyone was back at camp. Tony was craving wings since the virus had places shut down for so long. Gloria knew of a place in Lime, 15 minutes away and she was craving a draft beer. Off Laurie, Gloria, Ted, Connie and Tony went, to the Beer Barrel for food and draft beer, the first Gloria has had since the world changed. Wil went to Delphos and picked up three grandchildren, Leyton, Lillian and Sabastian who brought energy and Wil also got his dog, Teddy. Lance drove in, Coleen, Murphy her dog, and Liz greeted, and lastly, Chuck. Our hosts, Ken and Vicki came down and talked about the history of their property and other tidbits of interesting items. They invited us to see their collection. They collect old miniature Subaru's that look like what the Shriners would drive in a parade. There was even a miniature teardrop camper, just for show. Some poker games and another wonderful campfire rounded out the day.
It was a good club turn out with more coming in on Saturday. Chuck's gal Kerri met everyone at shuttle time and our soon to be newest member Noah came in, introduced himself and had a kkkayak. It wasn't held against him. Vehicles were shuttled downstream to Fort Jennings and at 10:26 am 9 boats launched from the cabin/campsite into the Auglaize for a 7.5-8-mile trip. It was getting very windy as a cold front moved through Ohio but with the tree line and traveling north on the river, the wind wasn't noticeable much at all. They saw deer, beaver and the other common animals. The shallow Auglaize River has lots of weed beds in the stream. The way the river splits and breaks up around the weeds makes deciding which route to take very challenging. If you took the wrong route it would be too shallow. You also got more experience in turning your craft. Wil was paddling a new Old Town Discovery solo canoe. The short 11-foot canoe flips easy and it did while getting in at the start. Tom flipped his canoe the day before while getting out at the ending point. Just goes to show that with years of experience mishaps still happen. Noah being with the club members for the first time did great and even stayed with everyone. Sometimes the members paddle fast, but Noah handled his boat well and even shot the low head dam that the others lined their boats through.
After taking out at the Fort Jennings Community Park, it was back to camp for drinks and relaxation. Ted and Connie, Harold and Laurie and Tom all left on Saturday for other commitments. Due to the virus, there wasn't any normal potluck. Everyone had to feed themselves to keep socially distanced and not share utensils. More campfire time ensued and that evening the heat felt good as the temperatures dipped to the low 50's.
Sunday morning was on the cool side, but the sun promised warmth for the day. Tony was on the road to home before anyone else was stirring. Talk of paddling the 7.5 miles from Friday's trip was discussed. In the end no one paddled on Sunday. Slowly the tents were packed, and members drifted off to home. At last an OHCRA outing was had in 2020. Hopefully another will be held in July.