If you read the Ohio Outdoor Adventure issue, you remember that I hiked one half of the Twin Valley Backpacking Trail, which opened July 21 in Dayton's Five Rivers MetroParks. I went back to do the other section, the Twin Creek loop, with a group of friends. Even DeVille came, though he was shocked to learn that he had to leave his messenger bag and LCD Soundsystem albums at home.

It was a great trip, about nine miles though bottomland forests, swooping ravines, bright meadows and mature woods. It's a lot like its sister in Germantown, but this one is even better for beginners. We had two with us, and both made it out alive. Here's a sample itinerary for an overnight excursion:

Saturday 12 p.m.: Leave Columbus 2 p.m.: Arrive at the High View area, on Eby Road, where you can park overnight. 2:30 p.m.: Get your bearing and hit the trail. Take the eastern leg south. 6:30 p.m.: Arrive at one of three group sites just north of Lake George. Permits are free but required. Each site comes with tent areas, outhouse and fire pit. Wood is provided. 7:30 p.m.: Fish from shore at Lake George. Largemouth bass and bluegill are common. 9:30 p.m.: Start fire. Tell stories. Sunday 10 a.m.: Breakfast at camp 11:30 a.m.: Hit the trail. Take the western leg north. 2 p.m.: Arrive back at the parking lot. It might take you much less time. We flew back in about 80 minutes. For backpacking, I prefer the Twin Creek section, but for fishing I'll head to Germantown. There's more access to the river, especially near the campsites. Either one is a great way to spend a weekend.

[Backpacking trail map] [Feature story] [Germantown loop] [Twin Creek loop]