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HouseTackle
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Let me just this post off by saying that SmittyFisher is 1000% more hard core than any outdoorsman I've ever met. I used to think I was pretty crazy...but this guy is my new hero.

8/25/2013 I awoke with a plan to explore a new creek that feeds down into the Ohio River in my kayak. I threw the idea by Smitty, and he said "Let's go, bro!" and so the adventure began...

7am: We arrived at the creek about 1.5miles upstream of the Big-O and it looked amazing. Water was backed up nicely and there were signs of fish everywhere. The only problem was that the creek was about 50feet lower in elevation from the closest parking area. I said to Smitty, "Dude...how the heck are we going to get down there?" to which he said, "Dude, I got this..." and walked back to his car. He returned with a 3 foot long Gator machete and 50 feet of para 550 cord and climbing rope. "House, you'd better grab your machete too and put on those stupid scrubs. It's about to get messy." I had to laugh...I could only imagine what crazy plan he had schemed up in his head...and so we started hacking a trail.

8am: After an hour of bushwhacking, we finally got down to the water's edge. We used the climbing rope around a tree to slide out yaks down the steep hill down to the water. I love that first 'splash' when a kayak gets dunked. "We're good!" he said, and so the fishing began.

8:05am: We paddled around the first bend and were greeted by a huge beaver dam. You've got to be kidding me! I shouted over to Smitty, "Now what?!?" as there was no way we were going back up that hill, and without any hesitation, Smitty replied, "House, it's just a little beaver dam. You've gotta keep your fishing cup half full, bro." And so we went over it...after 30minutes of moving logs.

Here's Smitty heading right towards our first road block:


9am: I hate beavers.

9:30am: Where the heck did the water go? We went around a bend after the beaver dam and there was no freaking water in the creek. Oh dear. The first pool we saw from the parking lot was only backed up water from the damn dam! I didn't panic (yet), but with a little bit of doubt I looked over to Smitty saying "Uh...ideas?!?" And Smitty just laughed and said "We got two legs and rope, brotha!" So we got out and started dragging our kayaks through knee-deep mud. Good stuff.

Now let me pause a second and just throw this one out there in case Smitty is reading this. My kayak is a 10ft Tarpon 100 that weighs in around 100 pounds. Smitty's kayak is a 12ft BARGE that weighs in just shy of 200 pounds. He's packing everything from a TV to an air conditioning unit in the S.S. Smitty. Anyways, we dragged them for what seemed like hours with an occasional 20foot paddle in some puddles along the way until the inevitable...

11am: We hit the wall. After 4 hours of playing Louis & Clark, we finally came around a bend and were met by a tree completely blocking the creek. And that tree had friends...little 8 legged ones hanging off of billions of branches blocking the creek. To make things even more exciting, we were close enough to the Ohio River now that all sorts of interesting "floaters" were bobbing in the creek. I'll let you use your imaginations on those, I don't want to re-live those memories. House to Smitty: "Dude, I can't even see through those trees! I think we have to turn around." Smitty to House: "House! stop being such a Debbie Downer! Trees are 90% air, brotha!" and he started tearing them apart with his machete.

12pm: After an hour of chopping down tree branches and going up/over/around/THROUGH fallen trees, we finally got to the mother of all trees and the fishing gods had finally seen enough. "Though shall not pass!" Oh crap. Now I'm getting pretty concerned and I shouted ahead: "Smitty, we are going to freaking DIE out here!" and he didn't even answer. Instead, he scrambled up a 20foot muddy bank, and started hacking a damn trail of tears through 5 foot high stinging nettles, poison ivy, and every other hateful plant that exists on this planet. Smitty: "These freaking things aren't going to chop themselves, House!" so I climbed up and started hacking. Imagine 2 dudes covered in mud out in the middle of nowhere, hacking through stinging plants with machetes in one hand and half of a kayak paddle in the other. After 100 feet of trailblazing, we finally saw deep water and a clearing. Could this finally be the light at the end of the tunnel?

1pm: We dragged the kayaks up the slop using our machetes and foot holds, through 100 yards of stinging plants, and down a final muddy bank and we were finally floating. We were both covered in mud, blood, bug bites and angry at the world, but we had survived one heck of an adventure. We finally hit the river just in time to paddle upstream to a take-out location and go home. Both of us had 2pm curfews so we never even got to fish! LOL

Recap: I certainly hope Smitty reads this. He is one heck of an optimistic person and dang is he crazy, lol. I only wish he had been rewarded with a good fish or two after such an insane adventure through the woods. If any good lessons can be learned from our debacle, one would be to not panic when the [email protected]#% hits the fan, the second would be to not bring a 5000 pound kayak on such an adventure, and the third would be to never leave home without some rope, a machete, and a good fishing friend.

:) Thanks for not letting me die out there, Smitty.

-House
 

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That's great! I heard a little about it fishing with Smitty on Sunday and it sounded EPIC! Sounds like some of the mtn bike rides we used to do! That's what makes and adventure an adventure, not knowing whats around the bend
 

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Good question. In the past, I have made inquiries to metro park, department of wildlife and federal land authorities about hacking out invasive species like bush honeysuckle that were interferring with my fishing and hunting endeavors. No one seemed to care as long as I only hacked out the invasives. Then again, who defines the term invasive? I assure you officer, that particular species of tree didn't grow in Ohio prior to the 10,000 BC ice age - it's invasive!
 

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That was one crazy day with the yaks. With all the hauling the yaks up and over all the crazy terrain I think we got in a good work out in. Thanks for leaving out how I twisted my ankle on perfectly flat ground right at the end. lol
next time the fish will be big and our epic struggle to get to them will be small. :)
 

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HouseTackle
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Was this on Private Property? I didn't think it was kosher to hack trails through public land. If I am wrong that will make me a very happy person!
Dang...I've heard of tree-huggers before, but never a stinging nettle hugger.

I'm pretty sure it's public land, I'd have to check the map in closer detail. I'm not one to trespass or deface public property intentionally, but in this situation I think it was justified. The stinging nettles will grow back and no beavers were harmed, although I'd really like to strangle one after this trip.

Thanks for leaving out how I twisted my ankle on perfectly flat ground right at the end.
Yea, I also left out the part where I tweaked my knee and you said you would carry me out on your back if need be. I didn't want it to sound like we were getting old!
 

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Dang...I've heard of tree-huggers before, but never a stinging nettle hugger.

I'm pretty sure it's public land, I'd have to check the map in closer detail. I'm not one to trespass or deface public property intentionally, but in this situation I think it was justified. The stinging nettles will grow back and no beavers were harmed, although I'd really like to strangle one after this trip.


I personally don't care what you cut down. I just want to know if I can do the same to get where I want to be. There are a few spots that I have to wear jeans cause of nettles and briars.
 

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Nubes I only had to eat two people on the MTB epic rides that we used to do in KY. Never let a guy live down a little cannibalism and I never ate a friend I didn't like. ;)
 

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Now there’s an epic tale of hard work, perseverance and heart break if I ever heard one!!
That was an awesome story! I was pulling for you guys; thought for sure there’d be a river monster at the end and you guys paddling off high fiving each other. It didn't end that way and you guys didn’t let it beat you…Bravo Gentlemen, Bravo!!!
You’ve had a really good year so far; the fishing gods just wanted show you who’s boss and get a chuckle at your expense.
 

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___upacreek
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Sounds like an epic day!

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts” -Yvon Chouinard


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Haha I've had those sorts of scarily epic adventures before. When its all over and you are back in the comfort of your house at the end of the day, it can be hard to believe that it happened in the same city(ish area) that you live in.
 
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