Some of the flowers we encountered at Lake Vesuvius over Labor Day weekend. I normally think of late August/early September as too late for flowers, but this weekend was one of the most spectacular we have ever seen outside spring.
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”