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Rip & Go: Twin Valley Trail – Five Rivers MetroParks, OH

Ramble along a wide river to quiet, old-growth hollows.

Key Skill: Creating Ambiance
Fires are prohibited at all campsites in Five Rivers MetroParks, but that doesn’t mean you have to chill in the dark after a long day’s hike. Here are two ways to add a pleasant atmosphere to your kitchen area and tent.

DIY: Wrap your headlamp lengthwise around your Nalgene bottle with the light pointing in at the bottom. This lantern casts a wide light that works best when elevated. Tip: A white Nalgene provides the best illumination; an orange or yellow one partially filled with water creates faux fire.

Buy: For a few bucks ($30), several ounces (4.4 with 4 AAA batteries), and less pack space than a Coke can consumes, you can have reliable, dimmable light in a package so strong it won an Editors’ Choice Award in 2009. The Black Diamond Orbit lasts 11 hours on its brightest setting, and provides enough illumination for everything from candlelight dinners to poker games.

See This: Bobcat

If you see the silhouette of a large, tailless housecat slipping by your campsite around dusk, consider yourself lucky—you might have seen a bobcat. Extirpated from Ohio by 1850 by loss of habitat and relentless hunting, these crepuscular omnivores are making a comeback. Bobcats are usually solitary except during mating season, which begins in December and crescendos—with chasing and ambushing behavior—in April and May. Bobcats feed on anything from insects to small mammals.

Locals Know: The Hopewell Earthworks

Low, wavy earthen berms visible at mile 20.9—are a rare enduring remnant of the Hopewell culture, an Atlantic Ocean-to-Rocky Mountains trading network of Native American tribes. Through this network, which thrived from 100 B.C. to 500 A.D., various exotic items such as obsidian, copper, sharks’ teeth, and seashells found their way to landlocked Ohio.

Although the Hopewell encompassed a wide range of economic, political, and spiritual beliefs, a common thread throughout the culture was the design and construction of elaborate earthworks like the walls found here. Look closely at the formations. Erosion and the passage of time have dulled and shortened these once-elaborate, 2,000-year-old geometric designs and filled them in with forest plants. Scholars believe the walls were used for ceremonies and as a calendar to chart the progression of seasons.

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