Gorgeous Gorge

hike/trek date 10.7.06
high (H) or low (L) temperature 65°F
total time 2.5 hours
round-trip distance 3.5 miles
object(s) found serenity!
wildlife seen tourists, squirrels.

On a clear, cool day in Southern Ohio I discovered how gorgeous Mother Nature can be. Somewhat between Dayton and Columbus, the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve abuts the John Bryan State Park, both sharing the Little Miami River, gorge, and abundant hiking trails.

Part of my logic in driving 2-1/2 hours had to do with fall colors. Here in Ohio we are on the verge of peak, with some places seeing more colors than others. Although there were a handful of brilliant yellow trees, fewer reds, it's still a bit early.

typical trail

Hiking forested trails along dolomite and limestone gorge made for a nice, varied hike. Some rough terrain, some flat, some tourists (oh well...), and enough elevation change to give a nice burn to the legs. At times I had the trails to myself, but on occasion had to put up with groups of children, clusters of bored teenagers, along with other nature lovers. Weekdays hiking the gorge would undoubtedly be blissful.

peaceful short-drop water on its way to the gorge

Although I didn't explore the nooks and crannies of the cliffs (usual "stay on the trail" signs were plentiful), they made for a dramatic backdrop along some of the trails.

dolomite and sandstone cliffs

There's nothing quite so soothing as a cool day's hike where the sound of water is plentiful to mingle with the birds and scurrying squirrels.

some rapids

waterfall admirers


(wood)pecker power

Audubon State Park

hike/trek date 7.20.06
high (H) or low (L) temperature 88°F
total time 2.5 hours
round-trip distance 2.5 miles
object(s) found n/a
wildlife seen turtles, birds

On a hot, sunny day I spent a couple of wondrous hours roaming the Kentucky woods that make up the John James Audubon State Park just inside the Kentucky state line south of Indiana (and Evansville). Most of the time I wandered the trails that wind through the 335-acres nature preserve portion of the park. Audubon spent from 1810-1819 living in Henderson (the town that wraps around the park) and roaming the woods in search of birds and other wildlife to sketch and paint. One presumes he walked some of this same area, but there's nothing in the brochures that offer that fact.

museum.jpgOn the premises is the Audubon Museum which houses one of the largest collections of his original art. Only partially because it was wonderfully air conditioned, I toured the museum and nature observatory (which was largely a round room looking out on a bunch of bird feeders). Included in the museum, and awe-inspiring, are several displayed copies of his Birds of America books, and I mean the monstrous originals, not the subsequent smaller reprints. These original tomes were issued in the most inconvenient size of about 30 x 48...and that's inches, folks. Not exactly sized for shelving on your typical bookcase. But back to the hike...after all, this is a hiking blog.


Besides lamenting that I forgot the bug spray (NEVER go in the woods without it Gary...), the park offers a chance to get away from civilization, in a hurry. Most trails I hike aren't remote enough to lose the sights and sounds of the modern world, but in this park those non-natural artifacts seemed to disappear quicker than usual. It wasn't long before I was huffing and puffing up and down the hilly trails and realizing the only sounds were my breath, the crunch of my feet, the incessant cicadas, and an assortment of bird calls. The park is known for its 20 different species of warblers and an abundance of other birds, such as great blue herons, green herons, and belted kingfishers, and mammals. Although I only saw some squirrels and tons of turtles, the park boasts frequent sightings of beaver, fox, deer, muskrat, and raccoons. I'm sure in Audubon's day there were probably black bear roaming around as well. Although the day was really hot, the trails were all shaded and survivable.

If one looks carefully, there is occasional color amongst the overpowering green and brown,


but these residents could care less about the beauty of a blue flower.


The path was rich with well-worn elevated footpaths and bridges,


but again, another oblivious turtle.


Sometimes the going was a little tough, as evidenced by this fallen tree in a most inconvenient spot. I'm sure someone heard this tree in the forest fall, despite that old saying.


Past Hikes

Oakwoods Nature Preserve (Ohio – March '06)
Living temporarily in Findlay, Ohio, presents my hiking id with a dilemma:  where to hike within less than an hour's drive. The choices are slim, unfortunately, but I'm determined to check them all out. Today I took off on a...
Litzenburg Mud (Ohio – March '06)
On a brisk, but sunny, pre-spring day I met my match in the form of a shallow creek's slippery slope. Today's hike was not much more than a good excuse to stretch the legs and start working towards getting ready...
Steamy (Texas – July '05)
It's been awhile since I've had anything worth posting here. Today's post isn't about an interesting hike per se, but about the contrasts that time brings when re-visiting a familiar trail. It's been at least two months since I've walked...
Hailey-Grogan's Loop II (Texas – June '05)
What do you do when the power goes off rendering necessities like cable, Internet access, and (gasp) air conditioning useless? Why, you don your hiking boots and take off...what else? ;-) Distracting myself from the record-breaking South Texas power outage...
Eliza Adams Gorge (New Hampshire – June '05)
On a pretty New Hampshire day, Lori and I hiked into the Eliza Adams Gorge and two miles beyond to the intersection of Seaver and Chesham roads. A nice woodlands walk with some hills and the usual rocks to hike...
Goose Pond (New Hampshire – June '05)
Ah, to be hiking in New England while back at home Texas is roasting! While still warm, it was at least 10° cooler with far less humidity. Although Lori and I were plagued by persistant mosquitoes and the infamous black...
Hailey-Grogan's Loop (Texas – May '05)
This hike took me on the back trail by Hailey Elementary, wound through the old section behind the WAC, then off down the long path that runs beside the golf course and turns to the overpass bridge going to Grogan's...
Starbucks Run (Texas – May '05)
A good start, today's walk took me from the house to Starbucks for a bit, then back home. I've never walked this route, but have wanted to see how it would work. Part of the route kept to the paved...