We shook it up a little this year for Susan’s birthday. She usually likes to canoe and camp on her birthday and we usually go to the Brookville location. This year, we tried the Ft. Ancient location since it has been so long since we visited there. We also wanted to pay our visit to the June Morgan River Sanctuary.

It was good to see all my cousins and my uncle Bob who I usually only see during the holidays or other significant gatherings. We stayed in the cabins at Riverside Campground and the place looked beautiful. Upon arrival Lori was weeding the flower beds and Dirk was making picnic tables. It’s clear the Morgans go out of their way to provide a fun-filled experience with the grounds pleasing to the eye and hospitality equal to down south.

We were driven up the river to put in at the Livery. Cousin Randy opened the door of the van and greeted us while Gary gave us a tour of the livery and the upstairs museum. I’m so glad my family are the chief proprietors around these parts. They have collected knowledge of the area and responsibly documented it as well as organized fossils, points, stones and other artifacts for display and education. The Morgans truly are the keepers of this land and river.

The canoe trip was as scenic as ever. We stopped at June’s Sanctuary and talked about her pioneering the efforts to clean up this once polluted river. The weather was beautiful and we soaked in the scenery and even caught some turtles basking in the sun on a log (see pictures).

After the trip, I ran into my uncle Bob at Riverside campground and got to catch up and update him on my dad. Then, Dirk showed us a tree that was leaning over a little too far so he jumped on the tractor and pulled it straight. Sunday morning, I watched (with some guilt) Dirk pounding rocks and dirt around the planter to stabilize the tree that we straightened the day before.

Later in the evening on Saturday, Dirk and Lori gave us a tour of their home and we finally got our glimpse of the famed turtle rock as well as the other awesome artifacts in Dirk’s personal collection. Later, they set up a corn-hole tournament at the campground that thoroughly entertained us and our guests. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to slow down and forget about work and responsibility and I want to thank my family for welcoming us and our visiting friends from Louisville and helping us forget about things for a while. For those of us over-worked and under-paid, it really goes a long way and means a lot. After our friends Andy and Debbie were stuck on I-71 for an hour and a half on their commute up on Saturday morning, it really meant a lot to them as well.