Licking River
July 9, 10, 11, 12, 2020



Dillon Falls

Trip leaders Chuck and Kerri secured tent sites at Dillon Lake State Park for the July outing and Thursday afternoon folks started arriving. Ted, Connie, Wil, Gloria, Harold, Lauri and Tony all pulled in and started dragging gear from the bottom of a small hill up to the tent sites. As they sat up the sweat was just pouring off them in the very humid, warm day. Chuck arrived near dark as that item called work prevented him from being earlier. Individual meals were cooked then everyone social distanced in a circle to talk. Later poker was played as darkness descended. Campfires were canceled due to the heat that engulfed the state of Ohio.

Friday morning was still humid, sunny and very warm. Chuck, Harold and Tony had plans to canoe from the Dillon Lake Dam downstream to the Y Bridge in Zanesville. It was only 6 miles and the river was beautiful, until you met Dillon Falls. Harold and Tony lined the stretch of shallow rapids and the two drops, but not Chuck. No, Chuck had to run the falls in his plastic canoe. When he went straight down on the second chute, his bow went into the water then shot back up like a rocket, with just a little water splashing in. He had the clapping audience of a fisherman that had waded into the falls and watched the whole spectacle. The fish were active, and the boats would bump one occasionally especially in the falls area. After dumping water, the folks headed on down to the confluence of the Licking and Muskingum Rivers. The Y Bridge is a local landmark in Zanesville, Ohio with claims that their Y-bridge is “the only Y-shaped bridge in the world!” Now in its fifth incarnation, the bridge spans the Licking river to the West and the Muskingum river to the East. Allegedly this makes the Y-bridge the only place in the US where you can cross a bridge but stay on the same side of the river. The Muskingum River had a system of eleven locks and dams that made the Muskingum River navigable from Marietta to a short feeder canal just south of Dresden, Ohio, that connected to the Ohio and Erie Canal. Lock number 10, which is a DNR park, is at the Y bridge and shuttle man Ted, found the paddlers waiting when he pulled in. After loading boats on the canoe trailer, they met the ladies at the local Rooster’s Restaurant for lunch. The air conditioning felt great. Then it was back to camp for more hot, humid weather.


More folks were coming in including Ruth and her Terrier Cobi, Laura, Lance, Brad, Steve and Coleen, Denny, Kathy, their sone Rick and daughter Hanna and finally Wil and Gloria’s daughter Becky. Becky, her husband Dan and son Carter came from Columbus in a pickup truck, using a pickup truck tent in the back. Around 6 miles from Zanesville, something happened to the transmission and they were stranded. Wil got them to the campground where they used the tent without the truck. It was towed to Zanesville for repairs three days later. Food was cooked, socializing commenced, and games were played. Again, no campfire as the hot summer evening drug on. It did cloud up and sprinkle at one point.

Blackhand Gorge

In the night rain came down, hard at times but only lasting a short while. In the morning the air was less humid and very tolerable. The dry ground gobbled the rainwater very quickly, but the river gained height which made for nice paddling. After Kerri, her son Justin and his girlfriend Re’anna arrived it was time to figure out a very complicated shuttle. 13 boats and 18 people had to get upstream and two vehicles had to be left at the takeout. The campground is too far from the takeout to walk. Arriving at the put in on Brownsville Road, it looked like a used car lot. Cars and trucks everywhere and four more plus two trailers were added. At 10:45 am, OHCRA pushed off and started downstream for a 7-mile paddle through the Black Hand Gorge on a beautiful, fast flowing, tree lined stream. 4 eagles were seen, as well as the normal rivers edge wildlife. Lots of other folks in kkkayaks were also enjoying the river as that stretch of water is very popular. Chuck had Justin and Re’anna in his canoe and almost capsized by turning sideways on a log but got off and was celebrating when suddenly over they went. Not sure why. Later Kerri and Justin traded places, Justin in a kkkayak and Kerri in the canoe with Chuck and Re’anna. It wasn’t long before the canoe went over again, but the water felt good on a beautiful, warm day. After the wonderful paddling was over it was shuttle time and back to camp. Drinks came out and people sat in lawn chairs talking and soaking up the marvelous day. Because of the covid virus, no potlucks are being held for the 2020 season so slowly folks got up and cooked their meals then settled back in for a summer evening. As it was getting close to darkness, Wil had dumped some still hot charcoal in the firepit. Tony added some pieces of wood and soon Wil was blowing it into a campfire. A small Indian fire was had until slowly everyone drifted away into the darkness.

Sunday morning saw no one hurrying for anything. Brad and Lance were planning on paddling from Dillon Dam to Zanesville while the rest started packing up for the return trip home. There was a seasonal record of members in attendance and a fun relaxing time was had by all.

Wil Cooking

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