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”

Our First Colorado Hike: Lake Isabelle

Our First Colorado Hike: Lake Isabelle

Blue remembered our promise to be up early again this morning and woke us at 5:30. Warming up took a little more time and we realized why when we glimpsed the 44* on the outside thermometer. We got breakfast, dug out warm clothes, and packed up to head to the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Since dogs are not allowed on the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, we sought out some of the beautiful surrounding areas. The Brainerd Lake Recreation Area was about an hour drive, but well worth it. We checked out the campground and filed it as a possible home base for later in the week. Continue reading “Our First Colorado Hike: Lake Isabelle”

Angel Falls

Angel Falls

Our second day at Big South Fork, we had intended to do a longer hike. But we decided to run into Oneida for some decent firewood. And if we were driving that far, we might as well do a hike in the Tennessee area of the park as well.

Angel Falls is an easy 4 mile out-and-back trail (2 miles each way). It follows the Cumberland River from the parking area at Leatherwood Ford. Continue reading “Angel Falls”

Princess Falls

Princess Falls

Big South Fork has so many amazing trails. We were looking for something pretty, but easy. Since we were staying at the Blue Heron Campground, the Princess Falls hike looked like our best option.

The Princess Falls trail is accessed at the Yamacraw Day Use Area, just east of where Route 92 crosses the Big South Fork. Park at the top of the hill. We were the only car there when we headed out. Continue reading “Princess Falls”

Wildflower Pilgrimage 2018

Wildflower Pilgrimage 2018

A perfect camping weekend for us is great food, great people and great scenery. The Wildflower Pilgrimage held by the Arc of Appalachia was all of these things.

I don’t remember where we first learned about the Wildflower Weekend, but it has been on our to-do list for a while. I was worried that this year’s late spring and the predicted constant rain would lead to a disappointing event, but I could have been more wrong. The registration fee is rather steep, but includes five delicious meals, two field trips, and two programs. The 2018 mini-theme was vernal pools and their accompanying amphibians. Continue reading “Wildflower Pilgrimage 2018”

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

We had to find some way to celebrate Less’s first birthday, but when we got the chance to attend Opening Day on Friday night, our outing was shortened to one night. No matter! It is just a chance to explore some options closer to home. We pass the signs for Big Bone Lick (and giggle) on anytime we head south and Ted visited frequently as a kid, but we haven’t had a chance to explore recently. Continue reading “Big Bone Lick State Historic Site”

Yellowwood Lake Trail

Yellowwood Lake Trail

Just about three miles from Brown County State Park is Yellowwood State Forest. The trails in this region ranked well on AllTrails.com and we were eager to see as much of the area as we could in a day.

The length of the Lake Trails seems to be a bit up for debate with the two maps available at the Forest Serve office offering lengths of 4.5 and 5 miles. My Fitbit (which is never accurate) clocked the trail at just over 7 miles, but my guess that was due to the snowy conditions requiring picking footing more carefully and therefore more steps per mile.

Speaking of maps, the maps available at the forest service office are grainy photocopies and the trail has a few confusing intersections, so it is important to pay attention to trail signs and/or have a written description of the trail. The Lake Trail blazes are white waves.

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We began the trail from the Forest Service office. Alternatively, the trail intersects parking areas at the north and south ends of the lake. At the Forest Service Office a short access trail leaves from across Yellowwood Road. When the access trail reaches the Lake Trail we chose to head right and complete the loop in a clockwise direction. I don’t think there are any particular benefits of either direction. Continue reading “Yellowwood Lake Trail”