Edisto Beach, South Carolina

I spent a relaxing couple of days in Edisto Beach, SC. It’s a lovely little beach village. I had always known about them, from reading or watching shows, but I had never been in one until now. It looks like a fun place to vacation. I dird a little research and discovered most of the house are duplexes and are rentals. Each one has a name, some are cute: Eye Sea,  3 Gulls and a Buoy, Just Beachy, Seas the Day. And some were more traditional: Carolina Paradise, Beach Dream, Family Tradition, Southern Comfort

I stayed in the State Park that borders the town. It’s got two sections, one on the beach

and one back in the woods. I stayed in the woods cause it’s cheaper. I like the sites that have electric and water hookups. I can charge my laptop and DVD player, saving my inverter some power. I could have spent even less if I chose one of the walk in tent sites, but…I’m to old to carry all my gear more than 20 feet. LOL.

The trails are wonderful, solid ground pathways that are accessible to wheels (bikes and wheelchairs). They’re full of shells cause they use sand from the beaches which are full of them. Made it interesting to watch the ground as well as view the plant life.

       

There was a nature site that is a hill of shells, mostly oyster, that was once nearly twenty feet high. Supposedly it was used as a trash heap for hundreds of years. It has since been reduced to about six feet.

The education center focuses on sea turtles as they are prevalent in this area. In the mating season, people living on the beach are encouraged to turn off their lights after 10 pm cause that is when the females lay their eggs in the sand.

This park is on the ACE Basin, which is a bay with three rivers emptying into it. The Edisto River winds through the area.

      

You can see where it has changed course and left a huge marsh.

The campground was great. My site was right across the road from the bathhouse. Showers and flush toilets – hurrah! Even though boondocking is preferable (cause it’s free!) when I want a shower, a campground is a good choice.

 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is unique.  It’s a recent addition to the National Park System, 1970’s, and was created in an urban area. In fact, it feels more like a National Forest because there are villages and towns and county roads inside its borders.

Civilization intrudes in many ways, like Highway 271.

Many areas of the park are actually city parks in the Cleveland metropark system. The Cuyahoga Valley lies just south of Cleveland, Ohio. It features the Ohio-Erie Canal and has many museums and historic sites. The one on the history of the canal system is excellent.

Other attractions within the park include golf courses, ski resorts, sustainable farms, horse riding trails, and several inns.

The Visitor Center is an historic site itself. It is in the village of Boston Mills and was a tavern/rest stop for canal boats.

There are several nature centers, too. The one I visited is tucked away in the woods.

I did a little hiking, but as you can see, the weather was not cooperating.

All in all this national park is interesting. And, as a bonus, since it is made up of city parks, there is no entrance fee.

 

Heading North

I have come to Michigan for several reasons. To regain a bit of my youth – I lived in Three Rivers through High School and went to College in Kalamazoo. To experience the joy of the woods. To see something new.

My first destination was Huron National Forest. I love the National Forests because they are such a mixture of woods and small towns. And there are many little areas designated to scenic views and/or education.

One I found is the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary. It has a guided trail with many stops that describe the vegetation. You get a self-guided tour map at the head of the trail.

 

There is also a cultural trail that lets you wander through a homestead from the early 1900’s. The buildings are gone except for a few foundations. It was inhabited by a famer whose daughter fell in love with and married an artist, Albert Schmidt, in Europe. The wedding caused the family to miss their voyage back home – on the Titanic! – and the father was so grateful that he built a studio on his property for his son-on-law.

I’m at Brower Park Campground on the Muskegon River. It smells so good! There are pine trees all around my campsite. Some birch and oak, too. I do love a good forest.

Growing up in Michigan meant that if you didn’t live on a lake or river, you knew someone who did. Swimming was second nature to us. And fishing. ( I was not fond of fishing, but you just don’t broadcast that sentiment.) The wildlife is abundant. I saw these one morning.

I am camping here for a couple of days and then I’ll head further north. Maybe hit the dunes one afternoon.

Wisconsin – Governor Dodge State Park

On my trip to the House on the Rock, I stayed at the Governor Dodge State Park. It’s an interesting mix of prairie land and woodlands. I did a couple of hikes.

Stephens Falls is a beautiful spot. It’s down in a gorge right in the middle of the upland prairie. It was named after the family that farmed this land before they donated it to the state.

Here’s a spring house that they used for refrigeration

The falls

     

This is the path down into the gorge. Stone steps, thank Goodness there’s a railing.

Then I went on a walk to find the Lost Canyon. It too is a lovely scenic spot.

                         

This State Park is nearby several places of interest. (I don’t like the term tourist attraction) The House on the Rock, Taliesin which is Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, a folklore retreat, and it’s close to Wisconsin Dells.

Southern Wisconsin is delightful. Rolling hills with farm fields stretching to the sky is the scenery.

The Hemlock Cliffs

Third day at Hoosier National Forest – I spent a while perusing maps to find some point of interest to explore. One in particular looked interesting. It was a thirty minute drive from my camp. After passing a lot of farms the route eventually turns off onto one lane gravel roads through the woods. The Department of Natural Resources, who control the forest, have done a good job of putting up signage to point the way.

One of the highest rated hiking trails in Indiana, Hemlock Cliffs is an area where streams have cut deep into the forest floor leaving majestic rock cliffs on either side.

      

These sandstone cliffs have overhangs called rock houses and some are actual caves, going deep into the ground.

    

This is one cave you can go into. The standing room is not very big, but I did sit there for a while, imaging being a native hunting game or perhaps a pioneer camping for the night during a long journey west..

Most of the deeper caves are high up the side of the cliffs, and rappelling is prohibited. There was a time years ago when you could camp out along the streams and in the caves, but so much plant life was being destroyed that the DNR stopped it. This whole area is now a wildlife sanctuary.

My hike lasted about 2 hours. Midway it became the first time I have hiked in the rain! Thanks to my Girl Scout days, I was prepared.

The last part of the walk was a bit slippery. There is one spot where you must climb up a rock stairway to the top of a waterfall. That was tricky (my dad would have loved it) I have a good pair of walking shoes, but crossing streams needs hiking boots, I think. That may be my next big purchase.

 

Hoosier National Forest

I think if I ever come into a lot of money (in other words win the lottery)I would like to live in a national forest. What a great backyard! Indiana has no National Parks, but it does have Hoosier National Forest. It includes several counties in the southern part of Indiana. French Lick is on the northern edge of the forest. There are lots of villages and towns throughout the area. And I don’t know if it’s naiveté, but I didn’t realize there were so many farms inside the forest boundaries.

The first night I stayed at Initial Point, which has a small area for tents. There’s a trail that leads down the hill to the Pivot Point, which is the place where all the measurements for Townships begins. Something I never knew. Yay Trivia!


The next night I decided I needed a shower so I rented a site at the Patoka Lake State Park campground. Since it’s early in the season there are not too many people here. I scored a delightful site right on the lake. Well, it’s above the lake on a ridge, but it looks out over the water. A trail leads down to it.

          
It was so good that I reserved the site for 3 days.

After I set up camp, I visited the Nature Center and did a short hike.  The trail had the most amazing rock formations.


The rocks form overhangs that were used by the Native Americans as shelters when hunting. And apparently there are 100’s of caves in this area.Here’s a small cave I passed.


The trail eventually goes to the lake, which is actually the second largest reservoir in the state. Unfortunately with such a warm winter, and not a lot of snow melt, the water level is very low.

Rain is in the forecast but I hope to do some more hiking.

Heading South

On my way to Hoosier National Forest, I stopped for lunch at a nature preserve. McVey Memorial Forest. It’s a 249 acre forest out in the middle of farm fields. This land was deeded to the DNR by Edna McVey in her will. She loved the woods and wanted others to enjoy it.


Several trails wind through the forest, there’s a small pond, and it’s a wildlife sanctuary maintained by the Red Tail Nature Conservancy. Further in the forest is a small cemetery that is all that is left from a community called Stubenville.

  
You can find it on Highway 1 just north of Farmland, IN.