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Ohio River

 

Granny’s Run (Mile 225.5) to Sandy Creek 220.5

 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

 

River Chart 163

 

 

 

Today I had the pleasure of putting in at another one of the old lock and dams on the river, in this case old #22.  They’ve really done a nice job of transforming the old grounds here into a park that they refer to as the Washington Western Lands Park Museum.  More information can be found here:  http://www.ravenswoodwv.org/town%20(History).html?409 and they’ve also got their own Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/WashingtonsWesternLands.  There are two markers at this location as well, one based on the area’s Civil War history and one which indicates:

 

“These lands were surveyed, 1771, for George Washington by Colonel William Crawford, who later was taken captive by the Indians and burned at the stake.  Washington camped near in 1770.  Here is the grave of Jesse Hughes, noted scout.  Sandy Creek Riffle, where the Indians and pioneers crossed the Ohio, was used by General Jenkins when he carried the Confederate flag into Ohio in 1862, and also by the Union Army under general Lightburn in its retreat the same year.”

 

As for my plans to paddle this section, they changed a little.  You see, I was going to start by heading downriver to Grannys Creek where I stopped the last time and then turn around to come back upriver but I couldn’t do it.  First, I simply had to get some pictures of the old lock structures from the water. Then, immediately after I passed these I saw the entrance to the Sandy Creek, and I couldn’t resist going ahead and paddling in!  Well, it turns out that this stream goes back just shy of 3 ½ miles to end in one of the most enchanting river scenes you may ever see!  More on that in a bit…

 

As I first put in from the ramp I was doing so alongside a flock of geese and I was just able to catch a couple more of them dropping in to join their comrades.  How these birds came down mesmerized me!  I guess I’d never seen any land as they’re coming toward me, but the way they stop flapping their wings and just kind of hang there prior to landing is really something to witness.  They’re just dropping!  That must be fun!

 

 

Anyway, when you get down to Granny’s Creek (which enters the river at mile 225.5 right alongside a light and day marker of the same name) you’ll find yourself starting what will eventually become a sharp left curve – a curve which ends at Ravenswood. Granny’s Creek wasn’t navigable for me, but the Earl Jones of Kirby Inland Marine (http://www.kirbycorpjobs.com/about_Kirby/) passed me here and it made for a nice shot.  According to their website Kirby operates the largest fleet of inland tanking and towing vessels in the nation.

 

 

 

Y’know, it’s funny. This is the second straight time I’ve seen a Kirby vessel, after having encountered them for the very first time on the last trip I took.  This happens to me sometimes.  I’ll encounter something – a thing, a word, a song, whatever – and after that I’ll see it maybe a couple more times in fairly rapid succession.  Is it just me?

 

At any rate, if you start from this point you’ll be in the midst a large stretch of farmland. You’ll see a couple farms on your right in West Virginia (along with a train track which follows the river for this entire stretch), but in Ohio there looks to be one massive plot which covers the entire curve I described above. 

 

 

 

There are also some pleasant spots to stop and rest along the shore…

 

 

 

I found this to be a very quiet section where you can be alone with your thoughts – and maybe some cows.  Once again, my pictures didn’t turn out very well due to lack of sun, but perhaps some of the most impressive scenes I saw today were at the location of – get this – the Pleasant View Light and Day Marker!

 

 

There are three little streams that enter the river here before Ravenswood that I either completely missed or they weren’t navigable:  the Silver Creek at mile 225, Cedar Run closer to mile 223 and Bar Run just past mile 223.  There were also a couple private-looking ramps.  You’re apt to see some egrets in here too, although I couldn’t capture a worthy picture.  I did, however, spot another nice rest spot with an old bench up on shore.  This one looks to have been here for quite a while!

 

 

Once you reach the last of the streams mentioned above, the curve you’ve been making will sharpen steeply with the Ravenswood Bridge visible just up ahead at mile 221.5. This span was competed in 1981 and it serves as a nice introduction to the community of Ravenswood, whose website is here:  http://ravenswoodwv.org/.  This community has a population of around 4000 and I’ll be exploring it more in the next section.

 

 

After you pass under the bridge (which was apparently being repaired today – note the net underneath to protect boaters from falling debris!) the park I put in from will be on your right.  This is a fantastic place to pack a lunch and stay a while although there’s a dearth of information about it online.  As mentioned, however, I saw a museum here along with a little log cabin, some picnic shelters and some restroom facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, at the end of the park grounds, you’ll find the mouth of the Sandy Creek.  This one goes back pretty far – about 3 ½ miles. It’s a beauty!  You’re apt to spot some wildlife…

 

 

 

…as you go through your fair share of meanderings and straights…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and when you reach the end (of the slack water, anyway) you’ll find yourself at the site of a very old lock and dam underneath the Silverton-Hemlock Road Bridge.   The spot was so endearing that I’m at a loss for words to describe it.  It’s simply wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 Needless to say I spent quite a bit of time here, feeling very thankful.  Here I was, at a time in my life when I was going through a very turbulent and uncertain period, paddling simply to seek inspiration (“Paddling as Rome Burns” I call it).  I was led here.  Why? So many questions came to mind at this point that I found myself like a toddler asking many of them in rapid succession.  Why did the circumstances in my life compel me to start paddling in the midst of adversity?  Why instead didn’t clarity come?  Why am I compelled to write about my experiences to share them?  I could only think of the Bible.  Knowing that there must be some appropriate verses to explain the situation, I found Saint Matthew.

 

 

Matthew 5:3:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

 

Or

 

Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

 

 

I left here with new hope.  Perhaps we are being given clarity through the things we’re allowed to see and experience! If nature can be considered a reflection of the Lords love, then perhaps scenes like this are like “windows” through which we might gaze to see what is truly important, and as we gaze we might find that our problems slowly fade away to be replaced with a peaceful serenity in our hearts and minds – a serenity which matches the beautiful scene upon which we might be gazing.    

 

Anyway, back to the ramp!  I’ve mentioned before that when you return to these you never really know what to expect. This particular put-in seemed to be in a very safe and popular area with a quite few people out enjoying the river, but you always have to wonder what kind of people you’ll meet.  Will they be of the friendly sort (as they almost always are) or will you get something else?  I believe it’s always prudent to be cautious – and especially at the more forlorn spots.

 

Today, however, I found that I didn’t need to be the least bit concerned as who came to greet me but a very friendly little boy!  He was accompanying his father who was fishing onshore.  Seemingly interested in what I was doing, he asked me my name.  I told him, and he likewise told me his (which I won’t repeat out of respect for his privacy).  We wound up passing the time of day for a while as I get my gear together to head home.

 

“Why are you in the water? “

 

“Well, I’m guess I’m just having a little fun.”  I replied.

 

“Aren’t you afraid of sharks?”

 

“Well, sharks live in the ocean down south.  You’re not apt to see them out on a river – except maybe if you’re down on a river in Florida.  They don’t like it up here in the North.  They like warm water.”

 

“I wish I had a boat!”

 

I was delighted to have the company of this little boy and his father and I hope that someday this little gentleman will get his boat!

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

 

The put-in I used today is right in the midst of the community of Ravenswood, West Virginia.  Ravenswood is about half way between Charleston and Parkersburg, so the best option is to take I77 and get off at exit 146.  Then head north on what will be a combined U.S. Route 33 and WV Route 2.  The road will shortly begin to make a sharp left curve as you cross over Shady Creek and then you’ll come to WV68.  Take a right here, go past the bridge and both US33 cut offs and then immediately look for the park (the Washington Western Land Park and Museum) on your left. To reach the ramp parking lot you’ll turn left once in the park.