As it turned out, there was no cell service at all in our campground, and very limited service while hiking all but one day. As a result, I didn't blog at all from the hike.
Now I'm home safe and sound, working on putting all the stuff away, and trying to wrap my brain around real life. I'm going to backtrack and take you through this hike day by day. Of course I have a lot of flower pictures, but I think I'll do a couple of separate posts about those.
We arrived at the AEP (American Electric Power) Bicentennial Campground, just minutes apart, Thursday afternoon. The site was supposed to be open for the season, but the gate was still locked. Several people were camping there, but they said we'd have to carry our gear in by hand. We took the minimum equipment (tent, sleeping bags, dinner, book, clothes for the next day) and hauled it to the site we chose, after walking around to pick the one we liked best.
We took one on the water that was fairly private. The evening was gray, and the trash can is not picturesque, but here was our home base. There was heavy rain in the night, but it stopped by morning.
In the morning (Friday, April 21), it took us a long time to get the cars spotted on unfamiliar roads. Nevertheless, we were hiking by 10:30. The day's goal was the Belle Valley section, points 17-22, if you are tracking this. 9.7 miles, most of it on road, but a couple miles of trail at the beginning. I did remember the appearance of the location that connected us to a different hike when we got there.
We began by climbing to the top of a hill above Senecaville Lake. It was chilly, and no sun, so the water isn't blue, but it was perfect hiking weather. Of course, we lost the blazes and walked probably an extra half mile before we found them again.
The hills of southern Ohio are pointy and roll away toward the horizon like choppy little waves. You know I love the colors of early spring in the trees! I thought I might miss spring both there and at home. Instead I'm going to get it twice. Leaves and flowers were just beginning to pop there, and I've returned to the same thing at home.
Roadwalks in southern Ohio are generally not busy at all. They are quiet rural pathways where the biggest problem is loose gravel under your feet (and well, steep hills of course). Sometimes the settings are quite beautiful.
We loved the pastoral scenes and I seem to have come home with a lot of pictures of cows. But that's OK!
We finished walking at 3:15 and headed back to camp where we were very glad to discover that the gate had been opened. We were able to drive to our tent and get the site set up the way we wanted.
The rain began again after we ate, but no problem! We just crawled in the tent and read a book aloud. The first one we read on this trip was Hiking Without Dave. Highly recommended... tales of a Buckeye Trail circuit hike interwoven with processing the grief of a brother's suicide.
Our only real complaint is that a near-ish neighbor was running a loud generator so he could watch TV in his trailer. We nicknamed him Generator Man.
The biggest joke of the day was how difficult it was to get anywhere. Roads don't connect easily to the places we wanted. There are seven routes into a tiny burg called Sarahsville, and I think we saw five of them on just this one day. Before we were finished, we had seen them all!
These posts are going to be more of a blow-by-blow journal than I ever put in books, partly just so I remember the details. If you find the minutiae boring, just look at the pictures.
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