About Me

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Columbus, Ohio, United States
A project manager by day, but an outdoor enthusiast 24/7. Desired profession....KAYAKER! My boats include a red 14' Wilderness Systems Capehorn, an orange 11.5' Dagger Blackwater, and a lime green Dagger Approach 9'. One more boat and I think I qualify as a livery. My other toys include a Specialized Allez Sport road bike and a Jeep Wrangler to hold 'em all!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Winter Hike in Caesar Creek State Park - December 2010

Caesar Creek State Park - Wilmingtown, Ohio (SW Ohio)
Temps expected in the low 30's/upper 20's.
Snow accumulation of 2-3 inches expected.
Trail:  11+ miles of the yellow-blazed Perimeter Loop Trail

This trail traveled around the southern third of the Caesar Creek Lake crossing the lake using state route 73.  It is believed to be comprised of the 7.2 mile Visitor Center Trail on the West side of the lake and the 4.3 mile Spillway Trail on the East side of the lake.  Caesar Creek Lake is a 2,830-acre lake with unlimited horsepower. 

Caesar Creek SP Nature Center driveway
We parked the cars across the street in the Pioneer Village parking lot

I have not hiked in the Winter more than a stroll of a mile or so. I don't know why as the trails are less crowded and there are no bugs.  So when I heard that Columbus Outdoor Pursuits would be backpacking Caesar Creek State Park in Southwestern Ohio only an hour away, I decided I'd go.  Even prior to the snow forecast, the trip changed to hiking and camping at the park campground instead of backpacking and pitching tents out on the trail .  I had to skip out on the camping and head home but it sure looked like a lot of fun.  I'll have to catch the next Winter backpacking event. 

Caesar Creek SP Campground - Yes some camped!
Dusting of snow at 10:30 AM....around 2+ inches fell that day.

Many people don't realize that while there are many resources out there about various trails and facilities, more times than you would think the trail mileage, trail conditions, and facilities are not accurate or are confusing.  You never know what you'll encounter.  Most backpackers and hikers have the adventurous spirit and so embrace the uncertainty and unknown.  The plan was about 9 miles of hiking...maybe up to 11 miles.  After about 11+ miles of following the yellow blazes Perimeter Loop Trail (and a few side excursions) spirits were still good, but the end was uncertain. 

Waterfall & Bridge Crossing

Hikers in their "hunter" orange. 
Passed several hunters along the way.

View of Caesar Creek Lake from near the
Furnas Shores boat ramp off SR 73

State Route 73 bridge over Caesar Creek Lake

let it snow...let it snow...let it snow

Darkness was within sight and the air was getting chillier.  The taste of hot cider back at the main tent was on every one's mind.  While it looked promising to just keep on moving and Pioneer Village parking lot where the cars were would be just around the corner, the group came upon a broken cable bridge.  A moment of concern likely flashed in a few minds, but the unexpected obstacle fueled my adrenaline junkie spirit.  Broken bridge....not broken spirit.  After scouting up and downstream, the best solution was to cross the creek near the old bridge particularly since finding the trail again on the other side from any other crossing would prove challenging with darkness falling.  Not really terribly treacherous in comparison to Man vs Wild (love that show), the rock crossing would be slick and a wrong move could bruise a butt and perhaps an ego.  Additionally, the uncertainty of the end of the trail made the thought of getting one's feet wet a tad concerning.  Water went over the top of my boots, but my feet still stayed warm perhaps because of the wool socks.  Thanks to George for moving several large rocks to provide extra steps for us as we all managed to cross the creek safely with his assistance as well.  Carmen, a furry four-legged Katrina survivor, was the last hold out as she was a bit nervous but eventually was coaxed across the water. 

Creek we had to cross

Cable Bridge out...crossing the creek the "old-fashioned" way

After about another half mile or so of hiking past the creek crossing, a sign for "Pioneer Village 1  mile" was a pleasant site in the darkness.  I was secretly disappointed that the adventure was coming to an end.  All in a days work though.  The jury is still out, but I think we hiked 13-14 miles that day...the most I've ever hiked in one day.  Thank goodness my day pack was light and not the full 35+ pound backpack.  Many will think we're crazy, but I cannot begin to explain the feeling of trekking across this beautiful land....in any season.  The weight of the world is a million miles away when the snow flakes settle on your nose out in the middle of acres of a beautiful state park. 

View of the tail waters of Caesar Creek from the Dam

View of Caesar Creek Lake from the Wellman Meadow Area


Many thanks to Lisa for the warm wool gloves.  I would not have kept my spirits up with cold fingers.  Wool gloves (or skier's gloves) are on my Christmas list!