Iron Ridge Campground

Iron Ridge Campground

Holiday weekends are always a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, it is hard to not take advantage of an extra day of hiking and camping. On the other hand, everyone else with a camper or tent has the same idea. We were even rather late this year in booking. At the end of July we were in Colorado with spotty internet, but I found an open campsite on the app and quickly booked it without knowing much about the region. It seemed the camping gods were on our side because we found not just a relatively quiet and beautiful campground, but I think we may have had the best spot in the campground! Continue reading “Iron Ridge Campground”

Over the pass

Over the pass

Last night wrapped up with Ted befriending our neighbor Emmanuel, a single dad out with his girls for the first time. We invited him to share our campfire after their bedtime and therefore stayed up a little later than intended. Blue didn’t seem to care and got us up at 5am again. Ted put her back outside, but I was awake enough to read and doze rather than fall deep asleep.

Since we didn’t have reservations for the night, we were eager to get backed up and claim our first-come-first-served campsite. We finally packed everything up as fog oozed over the mountain ridge, layering us and our things with a glistening of water. We said goodbye to Hermit Park around 8:30am. We were sad to leave, but ready to explore another area.

The only way to the other side of the park is via Thunder Ridge Road. This 40 mile stretch of paved highway doubles back on itself again and again, climbing to over 12,000 feet. Few guardrails separate the road from 90 degree drop offs. It requires a confident driver, especially if you are towing 5000 pounds of trailer behind you. Ted wove uphill expertly. He paced with all of the SUVs, vans, and sedans. Downhill was another story. It was our first extended downhill grade and it took about half of the trip of looking in the manual to figure out how to use the transmission to slow us down. We think Blue might have been greatly distressed by the pressure in her ears and I worked on giving her chewy treats and trying to trigger yawns in her by yawning myself. Continue reading “Over the pass”

Colorado Bound

Colorado Bound

There are times in life when you are watching a documentary on the Rocky Mountains and you decide you absolutely have to visit. So you pull out your calendars and begin to discuss when might be the best time to take a couple weeks off and head out with the trailer and the dog.

And sometimes, when you are doing this, you realize the absolute best time is now; despite a freshly-spayed dog, despite a few personal and work obligations, despite a trailer that is waiting on parts for both warranty work and Memorial Day body damage, despite having no itinerary and no reservations, and despite being rear-ended in a hit-and-run while parked. So you start packing everything you can think of and 96 hours later, you are on the road, heading west! (Thanks in no small part to the help of great friends, family, co-workers and neighbors!) Continue reading “Colorado Bound”

Blue Heron Campground

Blue Heron Campground

Many campers have a love-hate relationship with Memorial Day weekend. On the one hand, it is a treat to spend three nights in a row – two full days of hiking! On the other hand, everyone with a tent and a sleeping bag descends on our favorite parks. Our normally tranquil hikes and haunts become clogged with hordes of families.

A couple years ago we lucked into the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. We enjoyed the trails and the campground. We found plenty of seclusion for a holiday weekend. Such a big contrast with our trek to Abrams Falls! So when we procrastinated a bit on making this year’s reservations, we were thrilled to find two adjacent sites a couple months out in such a beautiful area. Continue reading “Blue Heron Campground”

Hocking Hills: A Tale of Two Campgrounds

Hocking Hills: A Tale of Two Campgrounds

Our previous trips to Hocking Hills have been some of our favorite weekends. We love the hiking and camping in sites 152-163. We had never before camped in the full hook-up side, so we were very excited to spend a couple nights in a beautiful place with full water and sewer. I can’t remember a time we have been so disappointed in a place we had previously enjoyed.

Some of the issues with these sites included: Continue reading “Hocking Hills: A Tale of Two Campgrounds”

Maumee Bay State Park

Maumee Bay State Park

I will never forget our first time at Maumee Bay State Park, four years ago. I booked a weekend as a Christmas present so we could participate in the Biggest Week in American Birding. We were new birders, and had little idea of what to expect other than the high praise heaped by more experienced birders. As we exited off the highway and wound through industrial Toledo, my skepticism increased. The miles remaining on my navigation app continued to decrease but we still drove past and through mills and factories. No way was this going to the wild, nature weekend I had hoped. Yet we enjoyed the weekend enough to return ever year. In fact, it has become one of our favorite parks in the state. Continue reading “Maumee Bay State Park”

Winton Woods Campground

Winton Woods Campground

Camping within metro areas can be sketchy at best. In Cincinnati, we are very fortunate to be able to get away to the few campgrounds with the Hamilton County parks system. We grew up playing on the playgrounds at Winton Woods, but haven’t had much opportunity to explore the campground. When spring weather finally arrived, we decided to head over for the work week.

For a suburban campground, Winton Woods is rather large – 123 total sites, including 37 with full hookups. The full hook up sites (including 12 pull-throughs) are located near the entrance and feature large paved parking pads. The tent sites are not as level and are more variable in size, but at least feature 30 amp electricity and many are on the water. The tent sites are doable for all but the largest of trailers or RVs. Continue reading “Winton Woods Campground”