LOUDONVILLE, Ohio - Like a pied piper, the babbling river crooking its way through Mohican State Park and Forest calls me. There is a song in it which I hear as I walk along the banks of the Clear Fork River. Mohican is one of 78 state parks, lodges and campgrounds throughout the state.
Select any of the state parks and you will find a tranquility and a peace which is difficult to match anywhere.
"You can enjoy the beauty in any state park," said Kelly Overly, Mohican State Park manager. "All of them are wonderful from Mohican to Salt Fork to Shawnee to Cleveland Lakefront," she added.
The leaves are well into their seasonal change at Mohican, nestled in the hills of southern Ashland County. Naturalist Lisa Durham smiles at the very mention of the changing landscapes and the view Mohican has to offer in its several thousand acres.
"There's no place like Mohican," said Durham. "Just because of the ecological history of it," she added.
The park is really millions of years in the making. Durham conducts tours through the park as she speaks on how the glaciers moving from the north millions of years ago scoured and created valleys. The Clear Fork River steadfastly moves through a valley. Durham smiles at the very thought of what nature has to offer in Mohican.
She is a student of the area, having learned part of the state park and forest seems like Canada and another part seems like places in Appalachia. "Both places are right here," she smiles, sweeping her arm across the area, pointing out her work place, the entire park.
Clois Robbins lives about 45 minutes from Mohican State Park and makes it her business to visit often.
"Oh, I've been here hundreds of times," she said. "This is like Vegas," she said, her eyes widening as she looked at the trees, valleys and covered bridges spanning the old river. "For my grandkids, this is like Paris," she added without hesitation.
When asked if she would rather visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Mohican, she answered quickly. "Oh, you can have the Eiffel; I've got the state of Ohio," she said.
If you are looking for a place to spend time in tranquility and peace, try any of the state parks. In Mohican, many of the spots are far from cell phone towers, so contact with the outside world is limited. But, then, that's OK because most people go to the parks system to get away from the ringing phones of their lives. If you are like me, the only sounds I want to hear is of the movements of the chipmunks through the fallen leaves, and the caws of the crows flying overhead, and the babbling of the Clear Fork as it crooks through the park.
You will find it not far from I-71 between Cleveland and Columbus. But be prepared. Once you get there and visit the lodge with all of its hotel accommodations, or stay in one of the many cabins which can sleep several people, you may never want to leave.
If Mohican is out of your area and you want to try one of several other state parks with lodges and cabins, they are all around the state.
"Many people don't know it, but within 50 miles of anybody in the state, you can find a state park," said Overly.