Author Topic: New to Ohio  (Read 2292 times)

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Offline Andrew Grachek

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New to Ohio
« on: February 08, 2016, 01:02:26 PM »
Hey everyone, 😀

I'm new to Ohio,  but not new to hiking/backpacking... Moved from the Durango area.

Just some quick inquiries...  I've heard that the Wildcat Hollow trail is a relatively safe hike for soloers...  That the black bear is an officiall state animal...  That there the two most worrisome things are coyotes and other weirdos who hang out in the backwoods...  And that in the Wayne NF you can camp essentially anywhere (using no trace ethics,  of course)...

Are these truths or fallacies? Anyone have any stories or specific Ohio guidelines for my safety?

Thanks,
Andrew

Offline Scratch

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 06:48:58 PM »
Hey Andrew, welcome to the board.

The best way to learn about the backpacking trails here in Ohio is to read the owner of this board's info on the home page of this website.

http://www.backpackohio.com/

After you get the basic info on a trail, do a search here on the board and read what people have to say who have hiked trails recently. For instance, you will find some people who like Wildcat, others who find it too loud with road traffic and mine noise. All trails are safe for solo hikers, unless you have some medical condition that might leave you unable to hike out by yourself (an even that would not be an issue at Zaleski, it is hiked constantly).

Black bears are in this state but have never attacked anyone, and are rarely seen. Coyotes are also rarely seen (but are often heard) and are not a danger. Weirdos? There are some here on the board, but they are pretty friendly.

And yes, WNF has a "camp where you want" rule (I think they require a distance from the trailheads). All WNF trails have established campsites so there is no reason to cut your own sites out of the underbrush.

Read more of the old posts for info.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 07:14:23 AM by Scratch »
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Offline silver_beetle

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 12:08:28 PM »
What Scratch said. Regarding bears, they're just starting to come back into Ohio, so they haven't really been an issue yet. I don't even think people bear-bag their food yet. I wouldn't wear Lady Gaga's meat dress to bed, but otherwise there isn't cause to worry.

Coyotes seem to be more of an issue in the suburbs. There was one in my neighborhood (Parma, outside of Cleveland) a few years ago. We saw it, and it looked like a mangy, grey German Shepherd. I think they steer clear of people, though. I've heard them at night in Zaleski, and they're really spooky. It made my dachshund perk up his ears.

Regarding (other) weirdos, I've never encountered any while hiking in Ohio (or elsewhere). They tend not to hike too deep into the woods, so you might encounter folks at trailheads, but I'd say that's about it. Vandalism at trailheads is sometimes an issue. I've never had my car vandalized while hiking, but others here have. Put yo junk in yo trunk! It's just a risk we all take. My car was broken into a couple months ago, but that was at the commuter train station in Cleveland, not at a trailhead. They probably would have stolen it if it wasn't a manual transmission.

Regarding the Wayne, check their web site (or this site!) for more specific info, but the best trail maps and info are right here.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
-Albert Einstein

Offline Glenn

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 07:12:05 PM »
Welcome to Ohio! Where in Ohio are you? (I'm in Dayton.)

You won't have the big mountains you're used to, or the unlimited views. You can't truly leave civilization behind, and lose yourself in "real" wilderness; Ohio's been settled too long and too thoroughly. But the woods tend to grow on you; you find yourself looking in instead of out, and paying attention to the small details. You're also often within an hour or two of a trail (in my case, 20 minutes finds me out of the car and hiking on a 35-mile trail that allows overnight camping. Along that trail, I pass the remains of a pioneer cabin, an early-1900s farm site, and a 1,500 year old Hopewell ceremonial earthwork - and a few acres of true old-growth Forest. Not the Rockies, but interesting in its own right.)

And that's just southwest Ohio. Southeast Ohio contains artifacts of other Native Americans such as the Shawnee, as well as early pioneer settlements (Zaleski Trail has a small abandoned town along the trail); it also has abandoned iron furnaces. It also has an incredibly beautiful area called Old Man's Cave; you can't really backpack it, but it's a pleasant hiking weekend, especially if it's rained recently, and there are about a dozen small but tall waterfalls in a three-mile stretch of trail. Wildcat Hollow, Tar Hollow, Shawnee, and many more make Ohio an underrated hiker's paradise.

At the risk of being kicked off an Ohio backpacking forum, you can cross the Ohio River on a number of convenient bridges, and in a couple more hours have all of Kentucky's hiking areas available: Red River Gorge, Sheltowee Trace (especially the RockCastle River area), Cumberland Gap NHP, Big South Fork NRRA, and Mammoth Cave NP (which has a too-often ignored backcountry.)
I'm never sure whether I've got 35 years of backpacking experience, or one year's experience 35 times.

Offline Scratch

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 12:38:49 PM »
It's inevitable, any discussion of good backpacking places in Ohio will eventually conclude "go to Kentucky, there are better hiking areas in that state". I think it should be called "Boone's Law".
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 08:26:12 PM by Scratch »
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Offline Glenn

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 09:18:58 PM »
Ah, but I didn't say Kentucky had "better" backpacking - just "additional" backpacking opportunities.  :D

Personally, I think Ohio has some wonderful backpacking. Maybe because it's so close, but the Twin Valley Trail keeps growing on me. Zaleski always pleases. There's just something about the woods...
I'm never sure whether I've got 35 years of backpacking experience, or one year's experience 35 times.

Offline Andrew Grachek

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2016, 08:03:24 AM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I guess what I was meaning in "weirdo" on the trail is this... I've ran into some rather interesting/strange humans on trails in Colorado, people who definitely don't look like they're hiking/backpacking. Looking completely out of place. Granted, I just moved on down the trail when they occupied campsites and this was miles from any civilization. Most of them were homeless transients, regardless they all gave me the creeps!

The thing about having unlimited vistas is that in all actuality its no different than the green tunnel of the AT. The views may be absurdly unreal at times, but no matter where you hike/backpack you always find yourself looking in more than out.

I'm currently living in the Cincy area. Everyone around here is telling me Southeast Ohio is where it's at, at least in Ohio. Coyotes don't really bother me, at least their cackling and howling. I guess I was just asking about their temperament towards humans, since I here them and have seen a few around my suburbia dwelling. They seem almost unafraid of human contact. I wonder if they hang around cities because of free food. Seems odd they wouldn't be out in the back country of Ohio, that's where most of my encounters happened in Colorado.

Offline Scratch

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2016, 02:03:06 PM »
About the homeless transients, we see them here in Columbus, but not on any trails in Ohio. I think the combination of being too cold for transients 4 months out of the year, plus social services that transients might use all being in the cities, means that we just don't have the homeless on hiking trails here in Ohio.

If we had trails that had trailheads near major roads, we might have some, but I can't think of anyplace where that is true.
"The trouble with the internet is the difficulty of ascertaining the truthfulness of the facts you read" - Abraham Lincoln

Offline silver_beetle

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2016, 10:06:53 AM »
Well, there was a guy with a knife tattooed on his face camping at Zaleski when I was there last, and a guy living in a cave north of Athens (on what was called "Bong Hill" in my OU days) because he had nowhere else, but other than that, I've never seen anyone much weirder than me on the trail in Ohio.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
-Albert Einstein

Offline Andy

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 03:54:41 PM »
Welcome. I think your impression and information is pretty accurate.

Out of place appearing people who are out living solo in the woods but not backpacking or even practicing wilderness skills generally just don't want to be bothered. I respect that, and I've never had any issues. I also practice awareness, and I always see and assess them before they see me. Awareness is a great mental skill for enjoying nature and seeing wildlife too, which is my main reason for it.

This isn't from Ohio, but here's how one lone coyote "attacking" a human went.  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqVE9qfg7yI
(language not for kids)


« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 04:01:27 PM by Andy »
When the first Europeans landed in the Americas, they described it as one vast untouched wilderness. This was about the highest compliment they could pay to the Native people who had lived there for thousands of years. -Bill Mason

Offline schnikel

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 06:58:57 PM »
My wife and the family might be hiking the spur day loop at wildcat hollow tomorrow since it will be so nice outside. I'll let you know what I see if we go.
Schnikel

Offline schnikel

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Re: New to Ohio
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 07:37:45 PM »
The fam hiked the 5 mile loop trail at wildcat hollow on Sat. Man, what amazing weather we had, not a cloud in the sky all day.
Didn't see a sole until we took lunch on the ridge just before the cut-off trail.  The trail was in good shape the whole way; muddy but to be accepted for all the snow melt from the past previous days.  Meet up with a couple of people that had hiked in to camp as we were hiking out.  One with a small hatchet taking down a limb the size of most trees; all good for southern ohio. 
All in all A good hike with great weather and very enjoyable with my son and wife.  The trail was in much better shape and I had experienced in years past.  I'd go again for the full loop fer sure.
Schnikel