A Camping and Hiking Bucket List

A Camping and Hiking Bucket List

We aren’t necessarily attempting to visit all the national or state parks, but it is kind of fund to track those we have visited and see how much there is still to explore. Of course this list neglects many of the state and national forests, historic sites, recreation areas, and other wonderful public lands.

⛺️- camped in the park
🥾- hiked in the park

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Patoka Lake State Park

Patoka Lake State Park

This was our second attempt at Patoka Lake. We had reservations last summer that we cancelled to go to Colorado. Honestly, after the wonders of Colorado we kind of forgot about Patoka Lake.

As the long President’s Weekend approached, the weather in the Ohio-Indiana-Kentucky area seemed to be doing its normal midwest thing. South of us, a few inches of snow and rain were expected. North of us, nighttime temps dropped into the teens. Western Indiana seemed to be in a sweet spot. It would be winter camping, but temperatures wouldn’t dip much below freezing and precipitation would be minimal.

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Winter Camping

Winter Camping

I belong to a lot of camping groups on Facebook and one of my greatest annoyances is the trope that it is impossible to camp in the winter. Frankly, one of the reasons we bought a trailer is to have a heater. We have tent camped every month of the year, but our propane heater makes subfreezing temperatures not just something to endure, but a whole new season of camping that we can enjoy.

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Camping Resolution Accomplished!

Camping Resolution Accomplished!

One of our 2018 camping goals was to become better camp chefs. As tent campers, our meals were functional; what could we get in our bellies quickly after a long day of adventure? We ate a lot of simple steaks, hot dogs, and one pot meals. We also tried to minimize dishes and the amount of cooking gear we brought along. With the trailer we have been able to acquire a whole new set of tools stored in the trailer and we have really started to slow down and enjoy our meals.

So in 2018 we really invested in our technique and our tools. I spent a lot of time learning about campfire cooking and thoroughly scoured Pinterest for the best recipes. If my scale is any indicator, I would say our efforts were a total success!

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Dog Slaughter Falls

Dog Slaughter Falls

The Dog Slaughter Falls trail consistently ranks among the top trails in Kentucky. On our last trip to Cumberland Falls, we tried to reach Dog Slaughter from the Visitors Center – about 5 miles each way. The mid-June 90º weather was not on our side and we gave up about halfway in favor of the watermelon in the cooler and a trip to the pool.

This time, we approached from Forest Service Road 195, a thoroughly rutted and pot-holed dirt road off of KY-90. The first trailhead is .8 miles down the road, but I strongly suggest continuing another 2 miles to the second trailhead. From there, the falls are a little under 1.5 miles. Continue reading “Dog Slaughter Falls”

Cumberland Falls State Park

Cumberland Falls State Park

Cumberland Falls bills itself as the “Niagara of the South” and the falls are certainly impressive – 65 feet high and 125 feet wide. It is also known as one of only two places in the world to view a moonbow. On a clear night, around the time of the full moon, a faint glow can be seen in the mist at the foot of the falls. Of course the attraction draws quite a crowd in the summer. On our first trip to the region, we were wedged into a tiny tent site in the campground and watched the moonbow with hoards of others. But this fall weekend we got to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. Continue reading “Cumberland Falls State Park”