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”

Paint Creek State Park

Paint Creek State Park

Once again, it seems have accidentally found a gem in Ohio. I’m not sure how long it would have taken us to find Paint Creek State Park otherwise, but this was the campground closest to the Highlands Nature Sanctuary – headquarters for the Arc of Appalachia Wildflower Pilgrimage.

Reservations weren’t accepted this early in the season, but we arrived a bit before dinner on Friday and got a prime spot along the water. These sites come with a surcharge, but I can’t think of a better way to spend $10 than to be right on the water. These premium sites also feature a deck for eating.img_7634 Continue reading “Paint Creek State Park”

A quick tour of Ohio State Parks

A quick tour of Ohio State Parks

We don’t always get three day weekends in February, but when we do, we camp!

We weren’t sure exactly where we wanted to go, but we wanted to go somewhere for a hectic, but fun winter trip.

A quick scan of eBird lead us to decide that Maumee Bay might be our best bet for a destination with a potential of a Yellow-headed blackbird. We worked too late on Friday to make it all the way north, so we overnighted at Van Buren State Park.

It was a great distance from Cincinnati – just over two hours. But this may have been the smallest state park I have ever seen with a campground. A total of 29 non-equestrian sites were available, about half with electric. Although the surrounding area was cornfields and a few houses, the place had a pretty creepy vibe on arrival. We filled our water tank and opted for the first site – 38.

van buren state park copy

I walked to the office/nature center/hut to check in. There was a single check-in packet and it seemed to have withstood a fair amount of weather. Continue reading “A quick tour of Ohio State Parks”

Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills is considered by many to be the ultimate hiking and camping destination in Ohio. The falls, caves, and overlooks are exceptionally stunning. We have hiked in the region for years and greatly enjoyed the campground during our annual family camp out. It has long been a goal to visit the park during the splendor of the fall. The campground is very popular and was full well in advance of the weekend, but consistent checking for cancellations eventually landed us a prime spot. In fact it was the exact spot we had in the spring!

hockinghillscampground Continue reading “Hocking Hills State Park”

Shawnee State Park

Shawnee State Park

One of our first camping trips when we were just getting back into camping was at Shawnee State Park. It will forever be memorable for Ted insisting there was a wild boar outside the tent (pretty sure it was a dog) and camping next to a “crazy birder” who tramped through the woods looking for wrens (we now would be right with her).

With all of our camping throughout the year in state and national lands, it is not unusual for me to check for a reservation on recreation.gov and panic until I realize it is actually on reserveamerica.com. Or vise versa. This happened on our way into Maine. So when I attempted to retrieve this weekend’s site number at a new location and got “No Current Reservations” I didn’t immediately panic. When I checked the other site, I began to worry. I combed my email, my credit card – nothing. We were hoping to camp in two days during a gorgeous October weekend and I didn’t have camping reservations! Panic started to set in. Continue reading “Shawnee State Park”

Cowan Lake State Park

Cowan Lake State Park

Participating in the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist classes has exposed me to more than just that plants and animals of the Greater Cincinnati area, but some of the unique places. For our Birds of Prey demonstration we were hosted at the naturalist cabin at Cowan Lake State Park and I thought it was a charming park with a decent campground. It seems little more off the beaten path than it’s more popular neighbor, Caesar Creek.

For our second adventure in our Mini, we wanted to try out some highway driving, but not venture too far – especially since we would be attempting to leave after work on Friday. We did not want to attempt our second ever campsite set up in the dark. It seemed the perfect time to try out the Cowan Lake campground.

img_4495 Continue reading “Cowan Lake State Park”

John Bryan State Park

John Bryan State Park

johnbryanparkmap

Typically, the secret to enjoying summer in Ohio is a mixture of air conditioning and swimming pools. On the rare occasion that summer storms bring lower humidity we make a bee-line for the nearest park. It seems we were not the only people with this idea on Saturday. The trade off for not hiking in sweat soaked socks is a trail as busy as the mall in December.

John Bryan State Park is located just outside the quirky town of Yellow Springs. It is home to a 59 site campground. Unfortunately, the only toilets available are single stall vault toilets and they did not smell particularly great by mid-summer. Some sites on the perimeter have relatively level pads, but much of the camping is in the middle of a grassy field. I honestly wish the facilities were a bit better because there are so many great activities to explore in the area. But based on the lack of free camping spaces mid-day Saturday, it seems we are the only ones hesitating to camp. Continue reading “John Bryan State Park”