I left home at 5:30 AM in the dark to get to Goddards Crossing early morning. I started the trip with a bang, hitting a deer before I even got to Mt. Vernon. The last I saw of it, it was upside down in the air heading off the road on the right side. Darn, it was a nice looking car before that.
Didn’t want to wake my wife, and I was going to call her when I started my hike, so I called her when I got to the Tunnel Hill Bike trail parking lot, and told her about the deer which ended up being a good thing since the Sheriff’s office called her awhile later and said they found my license plate next to a dead deer, and I could get it when I got back into town!
So anyway, I get to Goddards crossing which is a house on the west side of Rt 45 with a R2R diamond on their mailbox post. There is no place to park anywhere around there. Not Taylor Ridge Road to the south where the R2R comes out, it’s just a narrow gravel road with no shoulder to speak of. Nothing from there all the way to the North a few miles. You can’t park along the Highway unless you want to be towed.
Since I wrote this, I’ve talked to the people at Taylor Farms and they will give permission to park at their farm across from Taylor Ridge Road if a person asks. I parked there since on a 5 day hike that only lasted a day and a half but we won’t go there. Park At Taylor Farms if you can stop by and get permission, park at Tunnel Hill if you can’t.
The best way in my opinion, since you have to walk a couple of miles of Rt45 anyway from Taylor Ridge Road, Just park at the big parking lot at the Tunnel Hill Bike trailhead (Vault toilets & water) and start hiking south. The tunnel is very cool to walk through anyway, with weird effects on your vision about halfway through. You can see the end perfectly well, but you can’t see the walls & floor around you.
Coming out the other side, take the road left off the trail and go until it meets 45, then go South until you see the trail crossing sign and look for the diamond on the mailbox post, then cross 45 and walk past Goddards house (they were working on a 4 wheeler in the backyard when I walked past) and enter the woods. It’s just a couple of miles till you are there, or if you don’t care about a couple of miles in the woods along an old roadbed, just take the tunnel hill trail on south until you see the R2R crossing just before the trestle and Little Cache #1 Lake spillway. (Map 12) You will miss some old farm implements and homestead areas, and a nice walk along some powerline right of ways that are actually pretty scenic strangely enough.
There is a T intersection where you turn left on a trail, then turn right down a long perfectly straight old roadbed past the corn picker to the power line right of way, then walk along it for 3 power poles before crossing and entering the woods.
There IS a work around if the weeds are tall & soaking wet like they were when I was there in the early fall morning. But I didn’t have anything to mark it with and the trail is unmarked. Coming East, the option is to just cross the right of way and enter the woods on the trail that goes that way instead of following the R2R blazes. I had to back track to see where it connected and it connected at the T mentioned earlier from the other direction . I may blaze it as a shortcut some day.
So now you get to Tunnel Hill Trail. I know this jogger I saw was surely thirsty and offered him a bottle of water. Thanks but no, and off he went north.
Some nice scenery here so spend a few minutes walking out on the trestle and looking around. Surely that is why you came?
Continuing across the Dam, the trail curves left up an old rough roadbed then right into the woods.
Some nice hiking along the way after a 1/4 mile of the most overgrown section of the trail. I was already soaked from the powerline right of way dewey weeds and the thick green crap growing here did in the rest. Hopefully a killing frost has happened before you go.
This was what I was talking about ^
When You get to the REALLY wide gas line clearing, you will be stumped. There is no sign of a trail on the other side. Looking North (Westbound) you will see an orange & white gas line marker pole WAY off. Maybe 1/8 mile. Probably less. That’s where you cross. Eastbound just go South and look for the marker by an opening. Trust me it’s pretty far South. The 2 times I have crossed here the grass was well mowed by the gas company.
It comes out on a Gravel road “Bowman Bottoms Road” and curves West under I-24
At the end it makes a jog to the right at the “T”. According to the map it takes the Dutchmans Lake access road (Fishing hole road), but in real life there is the Trail right off to the West At the intersection
It looks pretty unused & grown up here, but it is actually pretty unused & grown up in there too. It follows yet another old roadbed all around the lake and finally comes out at the East end of the Dutchman Lake dam. (Where you meet the access road again and realize why people just go down the access road.) It was ok, I got my fill of persimmons this way.
Dutchman Lake is very beautiful. It was a great place to have lunch. The trail continues over the dam and curves off to the left.
It had turned overcast on this trip, the last 2 photos were later with my wife.
The R2R meanders around after leaving the Lake awhile before turning into yet another old roadbed. Most of the Shawnee was farmland before the Government bought it out for a National Park, and there are abandoned roadbeds all over the place. Most have pretty well disappeared since they weren’t much to start with.
Then it comes out on Twinz lane which is ok, then meets up with Tall Tree Lake Road. Ugh. You will hate Tall Tree Lake Road. 6.4 Miles from Dutchman Lake to Ferne Clyffe state park. A LOT of it is blacktop. Actually ALL of Tall Tree Lake Road, and Rebman Lane.
There wasn’t a lot to take photos of, but I did anyway.
Yes, you will probably get followed by that good doggy too. That good doggy has a special collar, more on that later.
Eventually, and hopefully with more light, you will get to Ferne Clyffe State Park off Rebman Lane. Also hopefully you took a trip behind a tree before you got on Twinz road, because that’s a long hike without a bathroom break.
The deer hunters were out, and I was warned by a passing driver that they were hunting at the park. Not that I had much choice about where the trail passed. (I always wear a hunter orange hat) I had shoo’d the dog back and headed into the woods. Pretty soon I heard something coming through the leaves. You here she was again. I chased her back a few steps but she just looked at me and followed, Then I took a break and looked around and here is this guy in all black in a deer blind right above the trail. I quietly said, “Got mine this morning”. He nodded & me & the dog went on.
The Tent camp was not very far into the woods. Maybe 1/2-1 mile. I was glad because it was getting dark and according to my map it was supposed to be way over on the other side of the park. A very nice place to camp. The first ever for me tent camping in a campground. There was another tent, but I never saw anyone at it.
The dog ran around awhile, and then laid down outside my tent. He went barking off after something at one point, then came back. I woke up to voices down the road and flashlights shining around. (you can see light right through my tent from the inside) The got up and left, the voices faded away, and that was the last of doggy. (About midnight I think) The collar on the dog had a big black plastic something on the back of it. I guess maybe it was a GPS locator. There was no way else the owners would have come right to him unless this was where he always went.
That was all the first day. Moving the next day to the next page. Page 8