We made it 110 miles down the Ohio river this month! We have reached the end of this leg of our journey, and are sad to leave the river for the time being, even while we are glad to dry off! We had breakfast of tea and chocolate, then paddled the rest of the way to Powhatan,where we were picked up by Karen’s son Kyle.
Heading home with “Wonder”, which is what we have named our new red canoe because we wonder about things all along our journey, and because we think she’s Wonder-ful!
Thanks to the generosity of a boat club, we were able to spend last night indoors, and woke up to a bit of sunshine. The rest of the day, however, was very wet. We had to wait out a thunderstorm under a bridge in West Virginia!
We are spending the night in the basement of a Catholic church in Bellaire, Ohio, after paddling about 35 miles. Thank you to Father Dan for taking us in on such a rainy night! Now, time for some dehydrated macaroni and cheese…yum.
Preparing for a trip is almost as fun as going on the trip, and with this leg being the longest, farthest away, and on the biggest river yet, planning is essential. From the day we finished the Allegheny River last May we began talking and planning for this next stage of our journey.
Being map geeks we delight in poring over the US Army Corps of Engineers river navigation charts. Along with our Quimby’s Cruising Guide and Google Maps, these charts help us anticipate how far we might go, where we’ll find boat ramps, camping spots and other services, and the all important info – on which side of the river is the next lock. These books hold center stage on the Karen’s dining table, where Mark joins in the fun of research.
As launch h day approaches, we gather gear. The tried and true tent airs out after a long winter dormancy, while the new pack stove, smaller sleeping bag and neoprene boots (all Christmas presents from Karen’s family) await their chance to prove themselves. We’re trying to reduce the bulk of our gear, but navigation lights are a new addition, just in case we can’t find a campsite and have to stay on the river after dusk.
My (Karen’s) biggest concern is whether my body is ready for this longer trip. Though I’ve resumed walking and stretching this spring, my aches and pains are more numerous and frequent. Will I be able to handle 8-10 hours in a canoe, followed by nights sleeping on the ground? You can bet Ibuprofen is on the list for both of us to bring! When we get on the water I have no doubt the thrill of adventure will make up for a little discomfort.
Though the prep and planning have been fun, I’m eager to get on with the trip. Six more days and we’ll be launching in Pittsburgh!