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”
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”
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”
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. Continue reading “Paint Creek State Park”
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.
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 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!
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”