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”

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”

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”

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”