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The Mohican area is dubbed the "camp and canoe capitol of Ohio", and for good reason. Conveniently only about an hour and a half from Downtown Columbus, it's jam-packed with more than enough wildlife adventures to fill a weekend, such as hiking, camping, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, zip lining, and much more.
After months of window shopping for supplies and narrowing down our Amazon cart, Zach and I decided to pack-up our gear and head out for a weekend of camping at one of Mohican's numerous campgrounds, Mohican Wilderness. It's a favorite spot for families, Scout and Youth Groups, and festival go-ers (the Annual Mohican Bluegrass Festival, specifically), but we chose it for it's more secluded campsite options, and the proximity to the State Park.
We shopped around for a while for a tent, and landed with the REI Co-Op Kingdom 4 Tent for it's functionality, durability, and price. It's large enough for two people (and a dog!) to sleep very comfortably with room to spare and room to stand up. Trust me, you want room to stand up! We also packed the REI Co-Op Kingdom 4 Footprint, and REI Co-Op Kingdom Garage which seemed unnecessary to me at first, but in reality I'm so happy we had them. The garage especially was perfect for storage and extra privacy outside of the actual tent, and we ended up utilizing the hell out of it.
For this camping trip we decided to pack the REI Co-Op Kingdom Sleep System, which we knew would be a little luxurious for our small weekend trip, but well worth it for catching some solid Z's. Otherwise, the sleep system is way too heavy to carry around long-term, so I don't recommend it for any kind of lengthy backpacking excursion.
The campsites at Mohican Wilderness do not come equipped with existing fire rings like most campgrounds, so Zach built the fire ring from rocks found in the stream next to our campsite, for which we used as a grill. In the interest of comfort and ease, we also brought a Coleman RoadTrip Grill stove-top, which is obviously a much simpler method to cook while camping or on the road, and was essential when our fire wasn't stable enough to cook on.
Be sure to only bring the food you're going to eat, and limit any extras like spices or oils to things you absolutely need. I also recommend investing in a coffee press (something sturdy and easily cleanable like stainless steel) and an insulated mug that you can use for just about anything - it'll save on the amount of dishes you need to pack and clean. Finally, make sure you pack some kind of water container for your campsite - packs of plastic water bottles just aren't very effective (and they're a bit wasteful), so we chose a collapsible water container that we filled from one of the potable water spigots nearby. We only needed one full fill-up to last the entire weekend for all washing and drinking purposes.
Worst-case scenario, Mohican Wilderness's main office is well stocked in case you forget anything, and the nearest store is only about a 15-minute drive away from the campground.
Cleaning yourself, or anything else for that matter, is always a bit challenging while camping. Even if your camping trip will only last a few days, choose a multi-purpose biodegradable soap to easily clean any dish, piece of gear, or body part. Trust me, you won't need much and you can use it freely without worrying about harming the environment. I also really enjoyed having cleansing wipes on-hand (also an eco-friendly option) for quick clean-ups. Mohican Wilderness does have several shower rooms located along the main campground roads, though Zach and I chose not to venture there more-so for the sake of time. We were pretty secluded in our little corner of the campground, so taking quick spit baths with wipes or even washing off in the stream or from our water container wasn't inconvenient enough to feel the need to use the showers. Plus, it's camping, it's expected to be a little dirty.
Though Mohican Wilderness itself offers tons of recreational activities on their campground like canoeing, horseback riding, and rifle shooting, Zach and I stuck to our tried-and-true hobby, hiking. Mohican State Park is only about a 20-minute drive from the campground and is perfect for a challenging and scenic hiking day.
The entrance to the State Park is officially on Route 3, but it's best to follow OH-97 to find the "south entrance" of the park to get to Mohican Covered Bridge, which is where the trails begin. It's not well marked, but once you see Park Rd. that's where you where you want to turn. Once at the bridge, you will see entrances to several marked trails, all of which snake along the Clearfork Mohican River and Clearfork Gorge.
Lyon Falls Trail will lead you through the woods and along the Clearfork Gorge to reach two waterfalls, aptly named Little Lyon Falls and Big Lyon Falls - I love this trail for it's more challenging terrain and lush scenery, and it's only 2 miles long. There's also a dam at the end of the trail which is a good rest stop if you want to go fishing or enjoy a picnic. Another favorite stop within the park is the Gorge Overlook. It sits on the South side of the river and East of the hiking trails (i.e. you'll want to drive there), and it's the perfect spot to take in the beautiful valley views.
Mohican State Park does allow dogs on trails, though they must be leashed and..ahem..cleaned-up after. I like to keep a small collapsible water bowl on Daisy's leash for frequent water breaks - if you're thirsty, your pup probably is, too.
I always feel incredibly grounded and calm after spending time outdoors in any capacity, let alone spending a weekend sleeping under the stars. I'm definitely looking forward to coming back to Mohican for another adventure soon!