This outing was supposed to be an 83-mile paddle from the Jacoby Road canoe landing near Yellow Springs, to the Ohio River, with members carrying all gear, food and water with them. Trip leader Tony arrived in the area on Tuesday and scouted the put in and some bridges crossing the river. The water levels were low but looked canoeable from his vantage point. The base camp for the trip was at Morgan’s Canoe and Campground near Morrow, Ohio. Putting in at Jacoby Road they would canoe 20 miles the first day and camp at a Greene County Park called Constitution Park, just outside of Spring Valley. The second day would be 21 miles arriving back at the base camp for the night. The third day a 21.5-mile paddle would take them to Lake Isabella, a Hamilton County Park. The last day would be 21 miles to the Ohio River. Tony pulled into Morgan’s Campground around noon and set up camp waiting for more members to arrive. Wil came in, Lance, then Harold and Laurie. New members Ron and Lis also joined the crew. Ruth and her lovey dog Cobi were staying in an unheated cabin across the river. The day was beautiful for a mid-October day with sun and warm temperatures. A little Indian campfire rounded out the day then everyone retired for the evening.
Wednesday the 14th everyone was up early for a shuttle to Jacoby Road. Lance provided shuttle for Harold, Tony, Wil, Ron and Lis. Those 5 braved the river for the outing that turned into the trip from hell. 4 canoes shoved off at 9:00 am for the first 20-mile leg of the journey. After an hour, with low water levels and more logs, trees and brush than anticipated they only made one mile of progress. Ron and Lis were going tandem and with all their gear they were heavier than the other 3 and had to unload every time they bottomed out. Tony being the smallest and lightest made better time by scrapping over lots of shallow areas the others had to get out for. But no one can stay in a canoe when a log or tree blocks the way. One log jam took 40 minutes to portage around. After 6.5 hours of paddling, pulling and portaging, they only made 8.5 miles. There was no way they could reach their destination before dark. And with only 11 hours and 12 minutes of day light, it was clear that the only recourse was to abort the trip. Harold, Tony and Wil stopped and unloaded at a canoe ramp at the intersection of ST RT 35 and Trebein Road outside Xenia. After a call to Lance to come rescue them, they waited an hour for Ron and Lis to catch up to them. It wasn’t long that Lance showed up and boats were loaded. Ruth came in her car also so everyone could social distance with the covid thing still going on. They made it back to camp with plenty of daylight left to get supper then relax with a roaring fire and lots of adult drinks. They did see deer and a turkey plus the other normal wildlife they see every time. The air was starting to cool off and the threat of rain was promising as they members drifted off to bed.
Thursday was much cooler than the day before. Weather radar showed rain coming around noon, so plans were quickly hatched to paddle from camp 3 miles downstream to the village of Morrow. After shuttling vehicles everyone was off in good water levels, with no wind, for a nice, peaceful, relaxing canoe ride. And it was all canoeing, no kkkayaks. Ruth had Cobi in her canoe and there was Lance, Harold, Wil, Tony, Ron and Lis. Laurie doesn’t paddle much anymore and enjoyed reading a book while holding camp together. After getting back to camp there was enough time for some chores before the rain started. And rain it did, the rest of the afternoon. The temperature also started dropping as it was forecast to only be in the 30’s Thursday overnight. Tony, Wil, Harold and Laurie loaded up and went to Putters Sports Pub for lunch while Lance took a nap, Ruth retired to her cabin and Ron and Liz went driving around. When the folks got back from lunch Liz, Coleen and Steve were there. In the evening the rain did stop, and a huge White Man’s Fire was had. They burnt wood galore to keep warm and just to enjoy.
Friday morning Steve was gone at 4:30 am because of that thing called work. Everyone else stirred very slowly because who wants to get out of a warm sleeping bag in 30-degree weather? Wil headed for home around 9:30 followed by Tony and later Harold and Laurie drove out. The others braved the weather for the rest of the weekend. They didn’t report of their happenings so no record of their adventures.
The Ohio River could not be achieved as the Little Miami gets wider and shallower the further downstream you go. The trip is still in bucket list mode and hopefully will be accomplished in the near future. The dreaded 2020 covid canoeing season is over and let’s hope 2021 is a much healthier and friendly year.