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We met our son at Beaver Creek State Park, and dropped his truck along with some picnic supplies at 9 am. We then drove our truck and our kayaks to Lisbon Ohio.
When you are driving to launch, you will head south on route 45. After you turn onto 45/30, you will cross a small bridge. The first left, is where you will park to launch. Launching was easy, the creek was running at 700 cfs. You can go to Americanwhitewater.org and check levels. As I write this, about 28 hours later, it is running at 545 cfs. Ideal running, to avoid portaging is between 900 cfs and 500 cfs. I doubt you would be able to make this trip in another week.
After we put in, we were amazed immediately at the extreme seclusion of this beautiful creek. We spotted great blue heron, many geese and numerous small birds in the creek bed and on shore. We could hear the highway, but eventually, even that seemed to become distant. We had two Necky Manitou 13 kayaks, and our son was in his Old Towne Dirigo Angler 120 kayak. These were just the right size, and easily navigated the few faster spots and rocks. After you get to an area where you will see a gravel pit on the left, you will cross under a company bridge. After you cross under this bridge, be careful. There is a strainer to your left around a bend. If you don't hit it hard and fast, you are sucked into the strainer. The easiest and safest method is to beach before the turn, and walk it across a small area, and put it back in. Two of us hit it too slow and ended up flooded and had to walk the kayaks over the beach area to turn them over and start over. The only thing that saved the trip: Everything had been put into zip lock bags, or dry bags, and the water was warm enough to avoid hypothermia for the short time were submerged.
The next landmark will be the Route 11 bridge. After you go under this bridge, the whole area takes on a different look. We were the only ones on the creek that day, and it was completely private. You would see an occasional home, until you get to Elkton. After that, it is pretty desolate. Cliffs on the right side, jutting up majestically, cutting a swath of creek bed. The shoreline was pristine, clean and without any indication of humans. Mileage from Lisbon to the Beaver Creek State park is 12.25 paddled miles. (From the State Park to the Ohio river is approx. 14.5 paddled miles. ) The Middle Fork of the Beaver Creek twists and winds. After we passed through Elkton, the creek was so beautiful with birds, deer, and other wildlife. It seemed to be untouched. The rest of the trip was nothing but fun. Occasional burst of sunshine through the trees and cliffs, with moderated flow, and rocks here and there. We never had to portage, paddling was easy, with only a few areas of rocks and trees. We stopped around noon at a beach area after Lusk Lock Rd., and took a short fishing break. There were many times that we just used our paddle as a rudder and floated along.
It was the most enjoyable trip we have ever been on. We got to the State Park at 2:20 pm. We dropped the kayaks, one of us set up our picnic area, and two jumped in the truck and drove to Lisbon and back. They returned in about 40 minutes, and we enjoyed a leisurely picnic, nestled among the pines. We had a picnic table right on the water. The rest room was in the parking area, and it was clean and well maintained.
Total paddling time via GPS was 4 hours 16 minutes.
The middle fork of the Little Beaver Creek is worth the trip, be prepared. If the water is cold, dress appropriately. It can be fast and deep in some areas, and you never know if there is going to be a tree down. If the water would have been colder, or deeper, we would have had a hard time pulling two swamped kayaks thru the water to the beach. It was all we could do, for three of us. Wear your life vest, it may save your life.
Beaver Creek State park has restrooms, picnic areas, ample parking and park employees at the various stations. We always felt safe, and our vehicle was secure.
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