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RE: [kayaking-129] Geneva/Conneaut Marsh paddle Sunday May 26th

From: Sue K
Sent on: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 3:14 PM
so the moral is, take a chainsaw with you, cut out the strainers and life will be good? Emoji

Take Care & God Bless
Sue K


Subject: Re: [kayaking-129] Geneva/Conneaut Marsh paddle Sunday May 26th
From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Date: Wed, 22 May[masked]:19:06 -0400

Ok, here's my scouting report for my version of the Conneaut Marsh trip.  I didn't want to start a whole meetup for uncharted waters so I took a trip this past Sunday and spent just over three hours on Conneaut Creek in Crawford County. I put it at the creek's juncture with French Creek at Shaws Landing (State boat ramp) about 8 miles south of Meadville and paddled west/northwest towards the Conneaut marshes and, hopefully, the I-79 bridge.  It's a beautiful creek, winding and scenic with great swaths of calm water. There are no shallow spots, riffles or rapids at all.  Judging by the bank conditions, I'd say the water was a bit below or at normal levels.  Saw a bald eagle within the first ten minutes of paddling and another on the way back, a herd of deer including what had to be a 12 point buck, all up to their chests feeding in the marsh, more than a dozen blue heron, plenty of ducks and ducklings, geese and goslings, more turtles than you can shake a stick at and plenty of other flora and fauna.  Nice tree overhang so it was cooler than the eventual open areas but no so closed in as to feel confining. Paddling upstream against about 1-1.5 mph current was easy.  Here's the rub. On the approximately 11 mile round trip, I portaged 6 times - three up and three back - and it was challenging.  Not horrible challenging, more like adventure challenging. There are plenty of places where the creek is more than 40 feet wide and in at least three of the average-width areas there were trees fallen fully across the stream.  Luckily, there were good takeout and put in spots close to the barriers so I didn't have to paddle even 30 feet backwards to take out for the portage. In addition to the complete blockages, I dragged my bottom (of the boat!) across more sunken tree trunks and branches that I ever have before.  There were places where I am certain I spent more time paddling from gap to gap between trees and other obstructions back and forth across the creek than I did heading directly upstream or downstream.  Once you get to the marsh, it's open water with a clear channel for about 3/4 mile and eventually you come around a bend and you're heading towards a bridge in the near distance.  Initially, I thought it was the I-79 bridge but quickly realized two things:  It wasn't big enough, and there was some apparent vertical obstruction just on the other side of it.  As I got closer and checked the map, I realized that it was not I-79 running North/South but Mercer Pike, a two land road running North/South and the vertical element just past it was a dam!  I paddled up gently (somehow still managing to offend the local fishermen), climbed the bank to the roadway and looked West over the Promised Land of the marsh I took this trip to paddle and I saw the I-79 bridge about 1.25 miles away.  A fifteen minute paddle and I can't get there from here!  Yes, I could have dragged the boat out of the creek, up to the road, across the road and past the dam to put in again but I was out of time to allow a you're-not-really-in-trouble return to home time. Really frustrating. I've been driving my son to Allegheny College for the last four years and I really wanted to paddle the marsh under the I-79 bridge so I can say to my younger son who's going to Allegheny for the next three years, "I paddled down there and it was awesome!".  It was awesome getting there but I'm thinking I'm going to have to start from the West side of the marsh near Rt. 19 to get to the part I'm dying to paddle.  Maybe even from the source at Conneaut Lake towards the marsh from West to East.  I was paddling my 17' Perception Essence.  It's 23" width was literally all that would fit between some of the trees and other obstructions. Otherwise I'd have probably added 2-4 more portages. Take lots of water and snacks as it's a calorie burner with all the portaging. Bugs weren't too bad and the portage areas were level easy to traverse. Longest was about 35 yards.  Be careful getting out of the boat near shore as there are roots and sunken trunks/branches all over the place.

Tom Dempsey

On Mon, May 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM, Rob <[address removed]> wrote:
There seems to be ample interest in paddling through the marsh, but the only weekend I'm free through June is Memorial Day weekend: paddling the whole connemaugh/kiski route from the dam to Steve's in Apollo on Saturday.  He has split it up into three separate trips (see pittsburgh kayakers group for information about those meetups)

So I'm going to do the marsh paddle on Sunday May 26th, trying to be on the water by 10:00AM.  Anyone who'd like to come along please RSVP me directly (check return-headers on your email response so that it only comes to me).  I need to limit it to 7 boats (tandems and canoes are ok) plus my own so that we keep the group size manageable.

I'll head up there tomorrow to scout out put-in points and to get a general feel for the environment, and will then email details of the trip directly to the respondents.



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Tom Dempsey, Jr.

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Tom Wilson

Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
This message was sent by Tom Dempsey ([address removed]) from Pittsburgh Kayakers (ka-"yack"-ers).
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Set my mailing list to email me As they are sent | In one daily email | Don't send me mailing list messages

Meetup, POB 4668 #37895 NY NY USA 10163 | [address removed]

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