Morgans Canoe and Outdoors Blog

Canoe liveries are tribute to Morgans' love of outdoors

July 13, 2010

WARREN COUNTY — Bob and June Morgan and their five sons have always loved the great outdoors.

For years, Bob took groups of young adults on camping adventures he named “Canoe Trails,” from the late 1950s to the early ’70s. Five times a year the groups would spend almost three weeks hiking, canoeing, and sharing stories by the campfire.

On one trip, they would canoe the Buffalo River in the Ozarks, another, West Virginia’s New River, among others. And the annual trips to Canada, which his wife, June, went on as well, were 31 days of pure adventure in the Ontario wilderness.

Bob’s youngest son Randy, now 45, says, “My best memories are every trip with dad.” Another son, Dirk, 51, who went on his first Canadian trip with his parents at age three, says, “To Dad, the great outdoors was a huge classroom.”

Bob, 77, recalls the time when well-known wildlife artist Charley Harper, who became good friends with the Morgans, went on all five of the trips in the early ’60s. The Ford Times, a former monthly magazine, commissioned Harper to write a story about the trips, along with the artwork for the cover. After that article, Bob said, “Every parent wanted their kids to go on the trip.”

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Tags: brookville , ft. ancient

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I shared two summers during graduate school as a guide with Bob and June and Gary Meyer and Tim Curto, the other earliest guides, probably the summers of 1966 and 1967. Gary and Greg were still young but already going on some trips and Dirk was barely old enough for the easiest trip. We did the upper New River, camped on islands, fished for smallmouths, and took out above the Gorge, for no one ever thought of running such water in those days, even in old army surplus rafts. How the gear has changed to allow river trips in formerly unrunnable venues! I remember one of those month-long Canadian trips on the Spanish River where it rained virtually every day and there was sometimes ice on the water bucket in the morning. I remember little Dirk peeing in Bob's ear when he didn't move quite far enough away from his sleeping bag during the night as we camped under an overhanging ledge on the South Fork of the Cumberland. I remember Bob always looking over the shoulder of the cooks, throwing a handful of dried onions into whatever was in the pot, and murmuring, This'll really wake the flavors up! Most of all I remember June, who was really the ramrod of that outfit despite staying home to take care of the boys before they were old enough to go on most trips. Not many families anywhere have such a history of helping folks enjoy the outdoors through the medium of a river. Many slightly-spoiled young men grew up a bit during the days of those Canoe Trails trips, working hard outdoors, learning to get along with different folks, and eating what was put in front of you. They came back home better persons!
Bill Eastlake 12:33PM 10/04/10
We have cycled the Little Miami bike trail for years and always talked about camping and cycling. We finally did it this weekend, and stayed at Morgan's campgrounds! What an awesome treat! Not only were we able to get right on the trail from our campsite, but we also went tubing later in the afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it! Dirk and Lori were just awesome! We never felt so welcomed! We will continue to go back and I would recommend it to any and everyone! The place is well run and clean. The enitre staff are friendly and helpful! If you're looking for a fun get away with alot to do, I highly recommend it!
Cyndi Tudor & Ed Nicewicz 6:55PM 08/10/10
My wife, myself and our two sons, spent two days camping at Morgan's for the frist time. The staff is courteous and helpful, and the campground itself is spotless and has become our favorite place to camp. We had so much fun canoeing and camping at Morgans that we intend to camp there every opportunity we get. I can't say enough about the great family experience we had and how friendly and kind everyone was there. I highly recommend Morgans for a great camping experience!
Lynn Shaver 5:42PM 07/27/10
It was many years ago when my husband and I would come and spend a day on the river. Now we have a family with 2 boys ( 9 and 11). We drove from Indy and had a wonderul day! The boys had a blast learning to steer a kayak. The weather was great, the water level was perfect, the facilities were clean and well taken care and customer service was beyond satisfaction. Would highly recommend the 8 mi trip. We spent a good 3.5 to 4 hours on the river, stopping often to take a dip, have a snack, watch the boys swing from the ropes along the riverside. It was a very enjoyable day, and very affordable. Thank you and we will be back!
Orth 12:34AM 07/14/10