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We had often discussed the river portion of this trip but had never done it. The reason being due to the sheer number of people and reference sources that claimed it was either "almost impossible" or just simply impossible. The claims were that the upper river was so strewn with log jams and strainers that passage was "impossible".
But none the less we launched in the pre-dawn hours of Columbus Day (after all were we ourselves not great explorers?). We found the trip difficult but hardly impossible. We had only one actual portage, two occasions where we had to get out and do a balancing act while dragging the 'yaks over logs, and on several occasions had to do the "kayak limbo" to go underneath obstructions. This sometimes required the use of the "bench press technique" pushing against the obstacle so that either it rose enough, or the kayak submerged enough to pass beneath it. The river portion of the trip took 7 1/2 hours vice the 12 hour claim found on the Trumball County Canoe Club webpage.
We found this portion of the Shenango mostly wild and very scenic. We saw Deer, Racoons, all manner of waterfowl, and both Bald Eagles and Osprey. The trip was physically taxing requiring good kayaking skills and endurance. I loved it.
There is much evidence of the old canal works and the tow path still evident along the way. A short hike off the river in the section between Kiddes Mill and New Hamburgh will bring you to "Circle of Stones", long believed to be the remnant of an old meeting place of witches or satanist. Some claim it was a spot used by early Masons to conduct initiations - very creepy.
The lake portion was 11 miles and was typical flat water lake paddling. We used 4 hours on this leg for a total trip time of 11 1/2 hours.
A great trip but not for the weak of heart or spirit.
Deck Rigging Gear