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The trip began at the Riverview Restaurant boat ramp. My maps indicate that there is a charge for this ramp, but there was no one there when I arrived and it was early. I didnít know if the restaurant was open for me to pay someone. I decided to start out and, upon my return, eat at the restaurant and pay them any ramp fee then (there is a fee, by the way, of $2 I found out later which is waived if you eat at the restaurant). I pushed off and headed for dam 12.
Once there, I saw that there was virtually no water going over the dam at all. This is a change from the last 2. The portage from this side looks pretty easy. Thereís no underbrush visible topside. Like dam 13, thereís only a little brush as you carry your boat up the bank. Thereís a ladder on this side too if that option would be preferable to some. It occurs to me too that all of these portages would be a lot easier with more water. Less of the bank to climb! Also, there are 2 buildings here which look like old farm houses and were probably once used (maybe they still are Ė I donít know) in conjunction with the operation of dam somehow. Anyway, these are really nice and I couldnít help but think that, if they are dwellings, I sure wouldnít mind living in one of them! Real nice.
I also found that on this side of the dam there are pretty nice beach areas on either side of the river. They donít appear to be used much and the map indicates that the right bank (heading downriver) at this point is known as Ravenna Beach. Thereís no one on this beach though. It could have been quite a popular beach at one point, but itís not now. Both sides are nice spots although the dam side of the river would be much more dangerous of course.
Soon after this it all goes to the dogs Ė literally. You come to a rock outcrop known as Dog Rock and, after passing Dog Branch (dry) you round Dog Rock Bend and pass Dog Rock Bar (as in sand) on the right bank. Thereís farmland on both sides although not too far in the distance on the right are the towns of Ravenna and Irvine. They seem separated only by Chamberlain Creek which flows between them but I almost missed this creek since it has only about a foot of water in it now. Either town is the largest I have seen since Beattyville. Put them together and I feel like Iím in a virtual metropolis compared to what Iíve become accustomed to on the river so far.
You come to Quick Shoals and Quick Shoals Bar at mile 219 and on the left about this point is the town of South Irvine. Nearing my return to the boat ramp Station Camp Creek comes in on the left. This is about the size of Cow and Sturgeon Creeks before but itís less navigable due to more deadfall debris. On an interesting note, my navigational charts indicate that at about this point the Indians had a North-South Warrior Path which crossed the river.
On the right bank I saw some intriguing structures: parts of which were brick and quite old and parts of which were newer. Apparently this structure is or was the Irvine-Ravenna Municipal Water Intake. Down from this I encountered a shock -- I actually heard water trickling! I found 2 spots where water was cascading down from above. This was probably due to a water hose someone left on, but it was quite amazing to me because itís the first time Iíve heard this sound. What a crazy year to explore the river!
I got back to the ramp, loaded up, and headed to the restaurant. I had the pleasure of being served by a very kind waitress who seemed to take an interest in what I was doing. She mentioned that there was a retired judge in town who had put out a little booklet about the river. He usually left copies but they were out of them. She was able to call the author up and she put me on the phone with him. I ended up learning quite a bit from a very interesting man.
Iíll be returning to the Riverview Restaurant again. It was a nice experience. Shoot, Iíll come back Wednesday! Iíll be absolutely starving after that trip!
Wabakimi Canoe Pack