The Bend In The River

Jessica Evans | Corwin, Ohio

I was introduced to kayaking when I moved to Ohio in 2011. My first few trips were relatively uneventful on Caesar Creek Lake and on mellow sections of the Little Miami River south of Corwin. I quickly came to enjoy the beauty around me and the sense of being alone in nature as I kayaked.

One early summer day, some friends and I decided to kayak on Caesar Creek. I had never kayaked this creek and was excited to see a new paddling section. The creek starts at the outflow just below the dam for Caesar Creek Lake. It runs for two miles from the outflow to the Little Miami River. Because the Caesar Creek Nature Preserve flanks the creek for the last mile, the area around the creek is pristine, full of plants and wildlife.

As we put our kayaks in the water at the Caesar Creek Spillway, the water was moving fast. It was also quite cold because it is pulled from the bottom of the lake. I felt a little nervous reflecting that I had been primarily on gently flowing rivers up to this point. Once in the kayaks, we pulled away from our put-in quickly. I followed the lead of the other more experienced kayakers taking the same lines they took through the riffles. It was a lovely day to be on the water. Because of the rain the night before, the water droplets on the trees and plants shimmered in the morning sun. The air smelt fresh and clean.

I traveled along in my kayak, delighted at the swift water and ease that I kept myself on the correct line. But then, around one corner, I saw my nemesis. On the left bank was a tight bend in the creek and a tree root hanging over the water. It was a narrow section of the creek and would take some maneuvering to make the turn and not hit the root. Unfortunately, I failed miserably. I tried to keep my line in the middle of the turn, but was pushed to the bank and next to the root. Thus, I flipped over and was dumped out of my kayak. I popped up out of the water to smiling faces around me. They all knew that bend would get me because it got everyone at some point while kayaking down this stretch. It was a shallow spot and not dangerous, but difficult to navigate, especially for new kayakers. I pulled my kayak to the side and climbed back in. We continued our trip to the Little Miami River.

To this day, that creek remains one of my favorite waterways to kayak. It is a lovely section where the creek is allowed to be natural and free.

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