It was by accident that we ended up visiting Blue Rock State Park last weekend.
The original plan had been to head to Perry State Forest, but because Yours Truly didn’t pay close enough attention when looking up directions, Blue Rock was where we ended up.
No worries — I bet Perry State Forest is wonderful, too (we’ll get there one of these days), but stopping at Blue Rock was a happy mistake.
The 322-acre park adjacent to Blue Rock State Forestin Muskingum County is a haven for hikers, campers, fishermen (and fisherwomen) and folks looking for a nice, quiet place to spend an afternoon enjoying the outdoors.
We packed a picnic lunch and drove there in the morning. The state park has seven hiking trails of varying difficulty, ranging from easy to difficult. Our troop of two adults and a three-year-old started out with the moderate Turtle Trail (.2 miles) and easy Beechnut Trail (.3 miles). The scenic routes led us through the woods along a lily pad-covered part of Cutler Lake, to a couple picnic shelters made of logs and complete with fireplaces that would be great for hosting a cookout or family reunion.
During a break in the Beechnut Trail, we caught a glimpse of a fawn watching us through the trees, a nice lesson for the young one that Bambi and his kin aren’t just in storybooks.
We picnicked on the lakeshore and watched as a number of Boy Scouts braved the chilly weather to swim.
Feeling ambitious, we decided next to tackle the Deer Trail (Level: Difficult, though we didn’t know it at the time. And, really, how difficult can .2 miles be?) and a portion of the connecting Ruffed Grouse Trail (moderate, .6 miles).
We were doing very well along the Deer Trail, which was nice and woodsy with a few manageable climbs and some rugged wood bridges to walk across, until we neared the top of a hill and the trees that evidently had fallen during the storm in late June overtook the path.
For awhile we pressed on and made our way over, under and around the fallen trunks and limbs as much as possible (it tends to be a little more difficult when you have a three-year-old with you), but eventually we ended up having to take so many detours we were beginning to lose sight of the trail.
I’m not a quitter, but we got to a point where we had to turn around. We invented our own way back to the main trail and headed back toward the lake, passing a nice family along the way that was fishing along the shore.
We also got to glance down at the campground, where a number of tents had been pitched and the inviting smell of a campfire made me want to go home and make S’mores.
It may have been the first time I’ve ever had to turn back on a trail, but I can say regardless that it was an enjoyable time for all of us…even if it was discovered by accident.