In the end, we did get on the water. And we were still within the bounds of the Ohio River watershed but the trip became a metaphor for me and an important one. Jordan drove us from Kennedy down to Chautauqua Lake and helped us get the canoe in at the docks in Celeron, famous for being the birthplace of Lucille Ball. She would have been proud at our persistence and amused at the ill-fated, to date, nature of our experience! The lake was calm in that area and off we pushed from the dock. Jordan managed to get some photos of us on the lake and in action. Since we usually do not have an audience, these kinds of photos are few and far between. While the previous day we had shot down the swollen headwaters of the Allegheny going 2 miles in 18 minutes, today, we would do another 2 miles in a leisurely three hours. We paddled from the lake into the Chadakoin River where the lake flows out and down eventually into the Allegheny River. It was lovely. We watched for wildlife including herons and turtles, ducks and geese. We paddled up a tiny creek and when we could go no further we stopped and had our lunch in the canoe. Then I ventured out, prepared for the march in Karen’s rubber boots, and tried to see what lay beyond a small dam. I did not get far so we paddled back out to the river and down to the power plant in downtown Jamestown. I lived near Jamestown and worked in Jamestown for 17 years and never knew the beauty of the river that ran through it. Of course, much has been done in recent years to create a river walk and improve the whole area. My hats off to those who worked so hard and continue to work on that project. This slow paddle was just what my body and spirit needed even though I had thought that I wanted the excitement of either the big Ohio River or the rushing waters of the upper Allegheny. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow, even when it is slower than you thought you wanted. What will 2015 bring us?
I’ve not yet aged to perfection. I still have a little of that accomplishment/acquisition blood in me. Having had our exciting though short-lived trip down the upper Allegheny, I wanted to do something major even if just a little major. I wanted to go up to Kennedy to get on the Conewango Creek upstream from where we had joined it years ago. We had already decided that the Cassadaga Creek presented too many issues of getting in and out or finding our way through the marshy parts. The Conewango is larger. And on Saturday when Karen’s son Jordan (getting to be baptized into the tradition of transporting us to or from paddling as Kyle and Chelsea had in the past) drove us to Kennedy, we learned it was not only larger but also significantly overflowing its banks.
We found that the road to the public ramp was closed because of the flooding water and, in case we were considering something stupid, a state trooper showed up just then to tell us the whole area was under water and we might consider getting in at Frewsburg. He must have known that we were all wondering what would happen if we drove around those barricades and found a way to get a canoe into the creek!
Two things: We had already paddled the Frewsburg part of the creek and we took this as a closure to getting onto the water that day. At least that is what we thought at the time.