Rock House Trail

Rock House Trail

Sunday at Lake Vesuvius promised to see summer out in full force. As soon as we woke, the heat and humidity were oppressive. We quickly decided it would be a relaxing day – no long hike. We spent a little time driving around the region and then did one of the short hikes.

Lake Vesuvius Furnace
Iron Furnace

The Rock House Trail is only .42 miles long. It is paved and wheelchair accessible, at least in theory – roots have made much of the pavement rather rutted. Continue reading “Rock House Trail”

Lake Vesuvius Lakeshore Trail

Lake Vesuvius Lakeshore Trail

Labor Day may mark the end of the official summer season, but our trek around Lake Vesuvius was our sweatiest and most miserable exploration of the summer. Fortunately, we had amazing views and spectacular wildflowers to distract us. On more than one occasion, I leaned into the humidity, lush plant-life, and the cacophony of birds and insects and pretended I was on a jungle exploration. Fortunately, the weather was made manageable by the knowledge we would have a cold shower and air conditioning before bed.

We ended up at Lake Vesuvius because the Iron Ridge Campground had availability a month before Labor Day. The 8.25 miles of the Lakeshore Trail beckoned as a perfect way to enjoy our first day in Wayne National Forest. We set off from the boat ramp parking lot from which the Rock House Trail also departed. We were fortunate to encounter an employee at Kountry Kayak, the boat concessionaire, who offered a fantastic map of the hiking trails in Wayne National Forest. I had studied this map enough at home to be confident of finding our way by following the lake, but this was a waterproof version that covered lots of trails and will be a great addition to our map collection. Continue reading “Lake Vesuvius Lakeshore Trail”

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”

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”