If there is a place that I have spent more time at than home, it’s Mohican State Park. My formative years, I’m talking about the mid-1990s, were spent wandering the vast forest and never sticking to the trails. Mohican is a special place for me and will forever remain so as long as I live.
When I go hiking in Mohican, my mind scatters around searching for memories of long ago. A brief smile comes to life when I recall those fun times I had. I cannot recall how many times I have been to Mohican, but I have a handful of memories that replay in my head every time I visit.
Nowadays, my time hiking is mostly spent taking in the sounds and smells of nature. I simply appreciate how the forest has withstood the test of time. There is something powerful about the forest and hiking has similar benefits to meditating. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul. I would go every day if I could. I have been hiking in the forest during every season.
In the spring, it’s refreshing to catch glimpses of the forest awakening with green on the ground and in the trees. In the summer months, the canopy is full and provides shade on hikes. Fall is my favorite time to visit and I visit once a week when the trees begin changing colors. I like seeing how each tree is on its own timeline and decides the perfect time to change color. I don’t go too often during the winter. The wind whips through the forest and chills you to the bone. Other days, the sun is vibrant and the winds are calm with a stunning blue sky overhead.
I have visited the past two Sunday’s on September 27th and October 4th. My visit in September was just a drive around. I stopped at the Pleasant Hill Dam and the Gorge Overlook. I drove over the covered bridge. It was very busy on that particular day. On October 4th, I was actually there for a photo shoot with a family. We did a hiking photo session stopping at various points along the way. We spent two hours there and I delivered 100 final images.
Big Lyons falls had a trickle of a waterfall. I have seen water pouring over the falls long ago after a heavy rainfall. The stairs that are now at the falls does make the park more accessible, but I remember when you had to virtually make your own path to continue to Little Lyons Falls. There were also several trees that had been uprooted from recent winds in the area.
If the trees could talk, they would have many more stories to tell than I could ever remember. They may even have a few laughs at your expense because you tripped over an exposed root that you didn’t pay attention to while walking and talking. I would know from experience.
The trees would also have moments of tears and pain from selfish people carving their stupid initials and names into the trees. I wonder how many people who carved “K Loves J” into a tree are actually still together? I wonder if the idiot who carved “Trump” into the stone at Big Lyons Falls feels good about themself? I wonder what folks are thinking about while getting ready in the morning to go for a hike?
“Hey babe, don’t forget your knife.”
“Oh, I almost forgot.”
“We NEED to carve our initials into trees and sandstone.”
If you have done this, shame on you. If you’re considering this, don’t. It’s selfish and idiotic. Here’s a thought: Go hiking because you love nature and care about the environment, not because some romantic fling led you to the forest with a knife to carve your initials.
Be More. Do More. See More.