This week I was invited to do a kayak/camp on the Grand River in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Because the snow had just melted a couple days before, and the high water had receded only days before, the mud was plentiful and sticky. We found nice dry places to place our tents, and set up a base camp for the next three days.
Tents erected, we gathered our paddling gear and got on the river. It was deep, narrow and very muddy but in it’s own way beautiful. The trees had evidence of flowing ice damage. The geese were extra noisy trying to keep the foxes and racoons away from their eggs. Ducks were very skittish, leaping into the air at the slightest noise. Down the river we went about 3 miles, and then turning around, back up the river we paddled. We actually paddled faster upstream. The reason for that is, if you stop paddling you are dead in the water, so you don’t stop. Getting back to camp, we stowed the boats and got ready for supper and a nice campfire and relaxation.
The moon was almost full and was so bright we did not have to use flashlights to move around that night.
Next morning after a breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuits, we staged a vehicle at the pick up point, returned to our base camp and got on the river by 930 for a nice long day of paddling. The first three miles were the same as the day before, but then we went further. The river got prettier as we went along. There was some human habitation to deal with but mostly it was very rustic and very quiet. We saw lots of turkey vultures, a couple hawks, possibly a eagle, and a red fox running along the bank of the river. He was probably out for a meal of goose eggs. We did not see any, but there was lots of evidence of beavers. Many trees had been chewed on and there were slides on the banks. We seen two covered bridges, one about two thirds of the way through and one at the take out point.
The further we went on the river the more riffles we encountered. They made the trip more exciting. We stopped on a bank and found many fossils locked in shale. On the opposite bank there were many springs coming out of the side of the shale wall, all still frozen making nice little ice falls. The trip soon ended at a low head dam. We pulled the boats out, still dealing with mud on the bank. We safely got out and loaded everything up on the van for the return trip. Overall it was a great paddle.
After another night of a beautiful campfire and almost full very bright moon we settled for our last night of sleep. When I woke, I did my usual of packing all my gear before I even get out of the tent. Opening the door of the tent, I threw all the bags out the door, folded my cot and I was packed except for taking the tent down. We had a good breakfast of scrambled eggs, onion, pepper, cheese and sausages all tossed on some soft taco shells and some good strong coffee. Another wonderful three days were gone and it was time to go home.
Thanks again Irv Oslin for inviting me it was a good relaxing time that I needed to get the Winter out of my system.