PARKERSBURG - The changing colors of the leaves is slowly beginning and there is no better place to take in the view than the middle of the Muskingum River.
"It is just beautiful. The Muskingum just doesn't get enough use," said Dan Jones, president of the Marietta Rowing and Cycling Club, which will hold a "paddling party" on Sunday.
"We're calling it the Muskingum River Tour," he said. "We've had it off and on for a long time but annually for the last seven or eight years."
Anyone with a kayak, canoe, row boat or rowing shell - any human-powered craft - a personal flotation device (PFD), and the will is welcome to join the tour, which will begin at 10 a.m., near lock #3 on the Muskingum at Lowell.
"We usually get 10 to 15 boats show up but we had a similar event at Rivers, Trails and Ales and there were 45 boats," Jones said. "So we don't know how many there will be until we show up on Sunday, since there is no registration."
The cost is free, aside from a $5 fee to lock through in Devola. But if you don't have a boat, never fear, there are options.
If You Go
What: Muskingum River Tour.
When: 10 a.m. Sunday.
Where: Beaches near lock #3 in Lowell on the Muskingum River.
Crafts allowed: Kayaks, canoes, row boats, rowing shells.
Cost: $5 fee to lock through in Devola.
Details: Bring your own refreshments/lunch, no alcohol; sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and appropriate footwear recommended; must wear personal flotation device (PFD).
For information: Dan Jones, 350-6418.
To inquire about renting a boat, contact Marietta Adventure Company, 538-0801.
"We will provide a boat, drop you off and pick you up at the finish for $40 or if you have a boat and just need transported, we offer that service for $25," said Ryan Smith, owner of Marietta Adventure Company, 219B Second St.
Smith, an organizer of the annual Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival, held each August, said any time people get to use the local resources, it's a good thing.
"We have so many local opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I think events like these are great," he said.
Smith also suggested that reservations be made in advance to be sure of availability.
Club member and Marietta City Councilman Roger Kalter has been traveling the river by way of canoe and kayak for a long time and will be one of those participating Sunday, along with members of his family, including two furry friends who often accompany him.
"Snickerdoodle and Theodore Roosevelt sometimes come along and ride on the top, They both have their PFDs," Kalter said, referring to his dogs.
The tour will make a pit stop in Devola, where participants can take a break for lunch and will lock through. The process of paying the fee and riding down to the lower river level will take about 15 minutes, according to Kalter.
"It is safe. We genuinely go through in a group and will gladly help anyone who needs it," he said.
The 14.2-mile trip will wrap up at the Marietta College boathouse on Gilman Avenue on Marietta's west side.
Anyone with questions is asked to call Dan Jones at 740-350-6418.