Drone view of snowy scenic Little Miami River

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Aerial view of the Little Miami River cutting through the snow near Spring Valley

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The water is cold now, but not cold enough to freeze. A light snow covers the banks and the trees that hold the Little Miami River in its place near Spring Valley.

>> Dayton’s sub-zero temperatures bring beauty and woe

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But that hasn’t stopped some paddlers from floating the twists and turns of this State and National Scenic River.

>> ‘Into the wild’: What students learned on a 53-mile, 3-day trip down the river

“I’ve got a group of paddler friends I went with a few weeks ago from U.S. 35 to Washington Mill in Bellbrook,” says Rhett Rohrer, owner of Rivers Edge Canoe and Kayak Outfitters in Waynesville.

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Rhett Rohrer paddles on the Little Miami near Beavercreek in warmer weather. Photo provided by the Little Miami Conservancy

Rhett Rohrer paddles on the Little Miami near Beavercreek in warmer weather.  Photo provided by the Little Miami Conservancy

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Rhett Rohrer paddles on the Little Miami near Beavercreek in warmer weather. Photo provided by the Little Miami Conservancy

“It was misty and it was chilly -- we had gloves on. We try to go when there’s snow cover because the visuals are much prettier. The water was really clear,” Rohrer said.

The Little Miami flows for more than 100 miles through farmland, forest, small-town, industrial and urban settings before joining the Ohio River just east of Cincinnati, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“There’s been a lot of work done since 1969, when it was designated a State Scenic River. Part of what makes it unique is it’s in two urban areas, Dayton and Cincinnati. Most of the other scenic rivers are out in places where there’s not many people. It maintains a really good level during dry summers. The watershed is good and the recharge from aquifers is good.”

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Canoe and kayak season for Ohio generally starts in late April and runs through the end of September, Rohrer says. As an industry standard, canoe and kayak rental companies want the air temperature and the water numbers added together to equal 120.

“That’s about the threshold for hypothermia,” Rohrer says.

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Lori Schultz, left, and Brian Coniglio enjoy a leisurely kayak trip on the Little Miami River. "Its great. There is nobody out here," Coniglio said. "I'm ready for more," Schultz added. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Lori Schultz, left, and Brian Coniglio enjoy a leisurely kayak trip on the Little Miami River.  "Its great.  There is nobody out here," Coniglio said.  "I'm ready for more," Schultz added.  TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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Lori Schultz, left, and Brian Coniglio enjoy a leisurely kayak trip on the Little Miami River. "Its great. There is nobody out here," Coniglio said. "I'm ready for more," Schultz added. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Little Miami is popular.

“There are so many more boaters now,” Rohrer says. “It’s gone up by a factor of 10 in the past 10 years. I’d say at least 95 percent of them are kayaks.”

And there are plenty of companies renting canoes and kayaks on the upper parts of the Little Miami River.

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