I am truly sorry. I misjudged you!
For many of you that have been following along with the blog, you may have seen that before this trip, I had road tripped and have been to 46 of the lower 48 states. Once upon a time, after seeing the beauty in other states, I had ranked Ohio, my home state near the bottom of states to see. It ran neck and neck with Indiana and North Dakota. But now…this week…and my time on the Scioto River has made me rethink that evaluation.
Sure, it might not be paddling the Yellowstone River, but it has been one pretty darn beautiful week.
The river “Scioto” means deer, and there were plenty to see, along with a few Bald Eagles, hawks, cardinals, a falcon, and more than a fair share of cranes. As a guy who went to school for history, there was also plenty of that along the river. I could literally picture myself as one of the Hopewell Indians or other tribes that utilized this beautiful river for their daily lives. A river teaming with fish everywhere I looked, again made me wish for my fishing pole.
This portion of my journey is a one hundred and eight degree difference from the Great Lakes. Every day in Michigan, there seemed to be someone knew to meet, and people always around the next bend. Here, I maybe met 5 people the whole way down from Columbus, until Portsmouth.
That was quite alright though. It felt like a getaway trip. It was the perfect 5 day paddle, with a small current behind me, rather than the big Lake Michigan headwinds I had grown accustomed to. If anything, being back on the river, made this river rat feel at home.
Most places and small towns I just paddled right by, just enjoying the peace and serinity this leg brang. I did stop though just past the 220 bridge to hike into Waverly, Ohio on Tuesday night. I figured I could use a good fast food meal for this fat boy and a Gatorade or two. It didn’t take long for one of the two store clerks to ask where I was coming from and what I had been doing? It could have been I still had on my boating floppy hat, or just also the fact that I smelled like 3 solid days of paddling the Scioto. I would probably guess the later.
Nevertheless, after a good stop for KFC and a 2.5 mile walk back to camp, my quick stop in Waverly was the perfect break from camp food. Still, I was ready to get to bed and enjoy the next few days of my paddle towards the Ohio.
I had learned to paddle and fish the Scioto River from my buddy back in the day, so getting to finish this paddle from my old outdoor playground in Columbus, to the mouth of the river here in Portsmouth, Ohio was a real treat.
To top it off, I pulled up to the Anchor Pad Marina in Portsmouth when I reached the Ohio. I wanted to see if they would be kind enough to top off my drinking water. The owner Joe was happy to spring up and not only help fill me up, but go above and beyond. He asked if he could take me into town for a bite to eat, and I just couldn’t turn down the offer of a good piece of Pizza pie. He even gave me the 25 cent tour of Portsmouth on the way and the amazing murals painted on the floodwall. They are a spectacular display of the towns history, and I was blown away by the artists incredible depictions. They are a must see for anyone passing by Portsmouth. My favorites were the Branch Rickey and Jim Thorpe illustrations. Oh yea…and my Portsmouth Lions pic…the original home for the Detroit Lions!!!
Also at the Marina, I met Tom, another owner of the boat club, Erin (Joe’s neice), her husband Jeremy, and their little boy Jeremy. Little Jeremy made sure to show me how to fish, all while asking plenty of questions about my board, and everything else imaginable about my trip. Joe tried to convince him to join me on the paddle, but he wasn’t thrilled about the idea of Sharks in the Gulf.
There was no better end to an awesome week on a secluded river, than sharing the company for a bit on the banks of the Ohio River with a few great people. If these 1st few days are any indication of the Ohio River leg I’m in store for, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
So again…I’m sorry Ohio. I have taken you forgranted. You too, are beautiful.