Team: Harrison Police and Fire Canoeing for a Cure.
Team members: 2 police officers, 2 firefighters, and a nurse
Purpose: Raise money for the American Cancer Society under the topic of Harrison Police and Fire Canoeing for a Cure
We launched from beautiful Creitz Park in Cambridge City Indiana. This leg of the trip would take 9 hours and would end at Robinson's on the River Campground just South of Connersville. The scenery was beautiful and the water levels we were told were normal.
Along the way we saw deer, muskrat, squirrel, numerous blue herons, 1 bald eagle, a beaver, and a raccoon. This leg of the journey had it all with lot's of dragging the kayaks through shallows as well as over log jams blocking the entire river. There is also plenty of rapids with some that are very challenging with logs, stumps, rocks, etc. in the way. We ended up with two overturned kayaks and one team member actually swept under a debris pile where he was drug along the bottom of the river and popped up on the downriver side to all of our relief.
We encountered a terrible thunderstorm with torrential rains and thunder and lighting and had to seek cover under a bridge on the north side of Connersville.
We did not stop much and kept moving all the time and I have to say if your not in decent shape and do not have a strong will power leave this section of the river to others. We seen no sign of any river travel until we got almost to Connersville.
There is not much activity on this section of the river and you will most likely have everything to yourself. Keep in mind that the river is not maintained up here and you may encounter just about anything along the way. I do not recommend the average paddler to attempt this on your own, bring a partner.
Overall, a really physically draining adventure here, however Robinson's on the River have a beautiful camping facility and our stay there was great.
July 23rd - Connersville to Laurel Feeder Dam.
Beautiful section of the river that took a little under 5 hours. Again can be physical with debris riddled rapids that push you to the limits. Had two swamped Kayaks with the Fire Chief being swept into a debris pile in super fast moving water with his lifejacket pinning him underwater. A few tense moments and he was out. Had to drag just north of the feeder dam as a debris riddled rapid was completely impassable.
Overall, a nice paddle with challenges to keep you alert. Arrived at the feeder dam and wow what a beautiful place. Camped there for the night.
July 24th - Laurel Feeder Dam to Metamora and on to Moran's Canoe Livery in Brookville.
Laurel Feeder to Metamora was a nice paddle. You will have to portage around the dam to get started but there is beautiful water and the normal amount of wildlife along the way. We seen another two Bald Eagles on this section of the river. A little less challenging however there were still the occasional debris filled rapid and with no organized canoe livery's nothing has been cleaned out for your safety.
The trip to Metamora was a snap taking about two hours however the trip from there on into Brookvile seemed forever and a lot further than we had been told taking us about 4 hours. We camped at Morgan's Canoe Livery and they rolled out the red carpet for us. They are a great bunch and I would recommend them to anyone.
July 25th - Brookville to State St. bridge West Harrison, IN
The river was more flat here and not as may rapids. The pools of water were long with swifter water at the end of each. It seemed like the current was not as strong as upriver so the going was not as fast.
It was a very long 7 hours to West Harrison with hard paddling all the way. Most safety issues have been removed or cleaned up by Morgan's and the going was somewhat relaxing. The normal amount of wildlife was encountered with another eagle sighting. This area lends itself more to a nice somewhat gentle trip down the river with a canoe. There will be a few hotspots but not like what we encountered upriver.
Our friends at Green Acres Livery gave us use of their facility at the bridge. Wow, what an absolutely great group of people they are.
July 26th - West Harrison to Tanner's Creek Boat Ramp Lawrenceburg, IN
Again Green Acres takes care of this section of the river like it's their own back yard. There are some rapids but no real safety issues here. Three more Bald Eagles sighted along with the normal wildlife. A pleasant relaxing trip down the river. Once past Green Acres take out on Suspension Bridge Road your on your own.
The Whitewater is blocked where it joins the Great Miami River just below the Highway 50 bridge and we did have to pull the kayaks around the debris pile. Picked up quite a bit more current once we hit the Great Miami River and even more when we hit the Ohio River. It ended up taking us 7 hours to reach the boat ramp.
Overall our group was completely exhausted by this epic adventure. Other than the short stretch of the Whitewater between Cambridge City and Hagerstown we basically ran the entire West Fork from start to finish. It took a couple of days to recover from this and in looking back it was like completing 3 marathons in 5 days.
We had figured the mileage at 75 miles but I got an e-mail from a guy the day before we left from a guy who swore that it was 92. I tend to believe that it was closer to the 92. I tried to check it out and so far I haven't found anyone who has completed this in one continuous trip.
We ended up raising $5,500 for the American Cancer Society. We are thinking of doing something like this again next year and opening it up to more teams. We are thinking of going from Laurel Feeder to West Harrison over a three day period...