About Me

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Columbus, Ohio, United States
A project manager by day, but an outdoor enthusiast 24/7. Desired profession....KAYAKER! My boats include a red 14' Wilderness Systems Capehorn, an orange 11.5' Dagger Blackwater, and a lime green Dagger Approach 9'. One more boat and I think I qualify as a livery. My other toys include a Specialized Allez Sport road bike and a Jeep Wrangler to hold 'em all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paddling Big Darby Creek - November 2010

Big Darby Creek within Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park
Southwest Franklin County, Ohio (just outside Columbus)

Temp:  41 degrees and sunny
Flow:  ~250 cfs
Depth:  3 feet
Put-in:  Alkire Road ODNR Canoe Access (river left)
Take-out:  Osprey Lake (river right, just past Trapper Johns & Harrisburg-Georgesville Road Bridge)
Mileage:  6 miles 
Time:  1430 - 1600
Boat:  Dagger Approach 9

Some may say I'm crazy, but if the sun is shining I'd rather be outside.  Since it is hard to paddle through ice, I thought I'd better get out today before the snow falls.  My attire:  sliding shorts, rash guard shirt, neoprene socks, keens, shorty wet suit, long sleeve running shirt, running pants, rain pants, paddling jacket, neoprene gloves, hat, ear band, sunglasses, and a life jacket.  I was warm the entire trip except for my hands were a little chilly most of the trip and my right foot got cold at the take out since I had to step into the water to exit the boat.  I think I need liner gloves in conjunction with the neoprene gloves.  That or stuff hand warmers in them. 

It's no secret to my friends that the Big Darby Creek is my favorite river.  Perhaps it is because its the first river I paddled with my very own kayak over 5 years ago.  Or perhaps its because it is so close.  Or maybe it is because I see something interesting and different every time I paddle it.  Many friends have tagged along with me on this river.  I love sharing this river and seeing their excitement.  I love to paddle it fast, paddle it slow, paddle in the cold weather, paddle with a cold beer.  As my license plate cover says, "I'd Rather Be Kayaking".

Beautiful River

So peaceful....funny no one was out paddling today

5 mile bridge...otherwise known to my friends as "we're almost there bridge"

A few relatively small rapids near the end of the trip

Trapper John's Canoe Livery (river left)...almost to the take out point

Take out point, river right, just past the Harrisburg-Georgesville Bridge

Although there are a few put-in and take-out points on the Big Darby Creek, I do tend to paddle the 6 miles from the Alkire Road ODNR Canoe Access Point to Osprey Lake.  If I'm flying solo, I will drop my yak off at the put-in, drive to the take-out, and jog/walk/bike back to the put-in spot.  It's about 3.5-4 miles to jog/walk as I cut through the Metro Park trails.  Biking is about a 9 mile road trip as you cannot cut through the Metro Park (unless you want to carry your bike about 1-1.5 miles).  I hold my breath hoping no one messes with my gear (life jacket, paddle, etc).  I do lock my yak up to the sign, but I cannot lock up the gear really.  If I bike I have to return to get my bike that is locked to the sign.  Total time from garage and return is 4-5 hours with about 1.5 hours paddling on the river depending on the flow.

Generally before I leave the house, I check the USGS Real Time Water Data to see the river level and the flow (speed) of the river.  Today it was about 250 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is above the normal for this time of year.  I wouldn't recommend paddling if the flow is less than 100 cfs and the height is less than 1 foot.  I've paddled the Big Darby when it was around 3,000 cfs....THAT WAS FUN!  Perhaps on the verge of being a little too intense even for adrenaline junkies like me.  I feel like I own this river.  That or the Big Darby Creek owns me yet takes care of me too...brings me peace even at its wildest and even at my craziest. 

I scouted the river levels online debating which boat to bring, the sleek but somewhat tippy 14 foot red WS Capehorn, the stable and steady 11.5 foot orange Dagger Blackwater, or the exciting and adventurous 9 foot lime green Dagger Approach.  So this trip I took my new 9 foot Dagger Approach yak out as I thought there would be a lot of rapids. When I got to the put-in I momentarily wished I would have brought my Cape Horn as the river just wasn't flowing like I thought it would be.  Excitement won out though and the need to break in my newest boat.  And she didn't let me down.  It was her 2nd river trip and I think she's ready for the next adventure.  Perhaps the Rocky Fork/Paint Creek or the Spring rapids of the Sandusky River.  We'll see...Spring seems so far off. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

John Bryan State Park - September 2010

I had heard about John Bryan State Park not too far from Columbus but hadn't visited there until this summer.  Hiked the North Rim trail and John L. Rich trail (~3+ miles roundtrip from the Wingo Picnic area parking lot).  There were tons of people out on this sunny weekend afternoon.  I'd like return to hike the South Gorge Trail and mountain bike the 8.5 miles of mountain biking trail.  Just a few pictures below. 

View from ground level!

Typical uneven path along the North Rim Trail

Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle

Little Miami River (I paddle this river but
further below where there is much more water!)

Hocking State Forest Rappelling - November 2010

Located off Big Pine Road near Conkles Hollow
What could be more fun than hanging from a rope about a 100 feet in the air with little more than a tiny but sturdy carabiner, belay device, and a harness?  Had I known rappelling would be sooo much fun I would have surely gone air assault while in the Army.   Thanks to Chris, our amazing instructor, for volunteering his own time on a gorgeous 70 degree November day to teach us "the ropes". 

Notice the people which puts the height
of the rock formation in perspective


Beautiful rock outcroppings of the rappelling area
More beautiful rock outcroppings

Bottom of the 100+ foot vertical descent

Buckeye Trail (blue blazes) goes right past rappelling area

The Buckeye Trail passes right by the rappelling area, which is less than 3 miles north of Old Man's Cave (part of Hocking Hills State Park).  Most people start at Old Man's Cave and hike south through Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls for a 6 mile loop (and sometimes on to Ash Cave to form a 10 mile loop).  But if you're looking to avoid the crowds you could hike North/West toward the rappelling area or even start from the rappelling area and hike towards Old Man's Cave for a more secluded hike.  Athough I have not hiked this other than a few hundred feet in from the rappelling area to snap a few photos, I'll be back to explore this portion of the blue blazes Buckeye Trail.