We headed out at about 1pm on Friday, with the Cabela's store in Wheeling WV the 1st destination. Jeff set a time limit of one hour in the store, and that worked. I was very suprised to find a pair of size 14 EEEE gore tex boots in the Bargain Cave - I have been needing to get a good pair of boots to wear while riding the scooter, lightweight running shoes will not do!
Next stop was go get the campsites at Beaver Creek State Park, and setup camp. The primo campites for overlooks are 23, 24 and 25.
Beaver Creek State Park
Walt was somewhat dismayed at the number of campers, but we did find nice sites at the end of the loop that overlooked the valley. 23 was occupied, but 24 and 25 were ours.
Jeff, Walt and I went to Hoge's Restaurant for dinner, at Walt's suggestion. They had Really good food - I would revisit anytime.
People trickled in on Friday night - Michael Lange, Tim, Mike and Kitty - and it got quite chilly, water bottles had a film of ice in the morning. I had brought the warm bag, and warm it was! Walt had to resort to using 2 sleeping bags.
Dan and Amy Pearse showed up Saturday morning, and Bill Miller. Things were warming up by 10am, and that is when we left for the put-in.
The creek was well below normal levels for this time of year, but still a nice paddle.
American Whitewater link for the lower Little Beaver
We did the lower Little Beaver on Saturday, from the park put-in to the Ohio River - about 15 miles.
I had not realized that the Little Beaver had been extensively canalized. The 73-mile Sandy and Beaver Canal was built in the mid-1800s and contained 90 locks and 30 dams
Wikipedia entry for Sandy and Beaver Canal
The creek was scrappy at the put-in, but soon settled down to deeper river sections with short, shallow riffles between.
Many locks on the river, more than I had expected. This is a great paddle for history and scenery! The story of Gretchen's Lock whas sad and poignant.
There were 2 rapids on the lower section of the Little Beaver that may cause some concern at higher water levels. One is at the confluence of the Little Beaver and the North Fork Little Beaver.
The other rapid is near Frederickstown, about 3/4 of the way to the Ohio River.
We also saw 2 bald eagles on Saturday!
The take-out just above the Ohio River is very nice. there is a park with facilities and a picnic shelter.
Sunday, Walt wanted to paddle the shorter section of the Little Beaver that have us take out at the same landing we used for the put-in on Saturday. We saw a mink while waiting for the shuttle to return!
American Whitewater - Upper portion of Little Beaver Creek
The morning was warmer than saturday, but clouds moved in while we shuttle was running, and a cool wind came up. We were concerned about the water level, but it really was a fine trip. I walked about 30ft of the first riffle below the put-in, and had to do a couple of other short walks later in the day - no real issue at all. Just below the put-in we passed a sycamore tree that was a Great Blue heron rookery - very cool!
I had time to try to figure what the bigger fish we were seeing just might be.