Beaten by the Heat


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North America » United States » Ohio » Wilmington
May 30th 2018
Published: May 30th 2018
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Caesar Creek State Park, Wilmington, Ohio

Originally I had wanted to visit three of the four Hopewell Culture sites (that are open) to make sure that I was gaining a broad enough perspective on the park. The plan was to tour the re-creations at Mound City Group, then head out to the Hopewell Group for a picnic lunch and a hike through that very large area (100 football fields), then on to either Hopeton (which has recently been opened to the public) or the Seip Earthworks site to see more of the elaborate architecture on display.

But we ended up cutting our visit short and it is all because of the weather. Dogs, on leashes, are allowed to walk with you through the mound sites and since the girls don’t often get to go with us, we decided to take them on this trip. We always get lots of comments about our cute little corgis, so there’s a positive reward for us to bring them along as well.

But it might have been a mistake, or maybe having them helped keep us from getting ourselves into real serious trouble. We managed the mound city hike, although after just thirty minutes in the sun, the girls were panting in pretty serious fashion. We had water with us and they drank that down quickly, but still, on the return trip we stayed on the outside of the embankment wall where there were more trees. By the time we got back to the car, we were all seriously hot and sweaty.

Car thermometer registered around 90, which is hot by anyone’s standards. We live in New Mexico and even at our altitude, 8300 feet, we can see summer days in the 90s or, sometimes, triple digits. So, hot is hot, and we are OK with that. However, what we don’t have in New Mexico is water - in any form. But here in Ohio it seems that water is everywhere, including in the air. We just don’t deal well with the humidity, and I’m amazed that people can actually get used to it. 90 degree temps are one thing, but when it is also 90% humidity, then it is just a killer. The heat can quickly become unbearable.

And so we drove over to the Hopewell site, located a shaded picnic bench, and ate our lunch. Girls had plenty of water and they were very happy sitting under the bench sniffing all these new things around them. After lunch we started out on our hike. The original plan was a two-mile hike which would have taken us through the middle of the location of the earthworks, including walking near some of the original wall. The ranger told us, though, that we might not want to do that because of the heat since the last half of the walk is all in the exposed field with no shade at all. That prompted us to change our plans and we were going to hike out just a half mile or so, and then return.

We didn’t even make it that far. (We did check the temperature of the path and it was warm, but not hot.) After a quarter mile, my shirt is drenched with sweat and Joan is cursing the day I came up with this National Park Bucket List idea. But even if we were willing to sweat it out, the dogs weren’t. Fleur was panting heavily, her black fur absorbing every bit of sunlight. And poor Smoochie at one point just sat down in the middle of the path and looked at me, begging me to pick her up and carry her. That was it for me, so we turned around, got back to the car. First thing we did was turn on the AC and drink lots more water. It is entirely possible that all four of us were near heat exhaustion. So I missed my view of the huge earthwork field all because of heat.

Yesterday was a recovery day. We spent most of the day inside the trailer with the air conditioner on. It cooled off in the evening enough that we could go back outside. Our original plan was to go back into Dayton today and finish up one or two of the remaining Aviation Heritage Park Sites. But it is, once again, just too hot, and humid, to even think of walking around.

We will be leaving this area tomorrow and, hopefully, it won’t be so hot where we are going. We can only hope. Since we want to get out as early as we can to avoid traveling in unbearable heat, I’m going to skip the post tomorrow morning. Besides - we’re not doing much worth writing about today anyway.

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