Clark State Forest S24O
A S21O, to be precise. I needed some adventure and to test out some recent gear purchases, so I strong-armed Dave into going with. Our usual S24O spot at JeffForest is fine, but it's nice to see some new sights and see what else is available, and ClarkSF seems to offer cheap accommodations ($10.70/night), a reasonable distance at 35 miles, and a bit of newness about it. I had family doings, so I didn't leave the house until 5.00 and picked Dave up en route. He has suggested making an extra 5-mile loop to hit up Charlestown Pizza on the way up, so that was our first goal.
We have few pics from the first leg because western skies were generally threatening the entire time. After climbing Waterline Rd., we found a stiff headwind running into Charlestown, which made those few miles quite a drag. Once in Charlestown, we found them having their Founders' Day Celebration, which meant the pizza joint was closed. I'll admit that my mood departing and for these first 27 miles was less than stellar. I think Dave could have convinced me to turn around and head home. We found a Subway on the far end of town and I downed a sandwich, chips and cookies hoping for a pick-me-up. We also consulted the phones for a glimpse of the dark clouds just to the west. It looked like mucho rain. My mood worsened.
The Hell with it! We soldiered on.
Interestingly the food combined with the last 10 miles of road really improved my mood. We found roads that Dave (and I) used to ride when he lived in Charlestown- rolling, empty, bucolic. Bliss. I think Dave suffered a bit on the 'bent, but we pulled into Henryville before reaching the park and looked for some amber refreshment, which we found at our second gas station. I had brought a drybag, so we filled it with ice and our night-time beverages and then rolled into the Forest looking for the campground of which I had little-to-no knowledge.
In the fading light we found the signs and eventually the campground and tried to register and pay, only to find no pens. How could we register without a writing implement? I kept an envelope and had my $ ready in case a ranger showed. Camp set-up for me was a new experience. Instead of my usual bag and tent I was trying out my new-ish military bivy with silk sack liner and an updated Big Agnes Air Core pad.
Some props to BA. I sent off an REI-purchased BA pad of some sort with a leak expecting a repair bill and BA warrantied it and gave me a new pad in its place. #GreatService Reviews in later post.
We had already eaten, so camp consisted up setting up our gear and then sitting at the table drinking our ice-down beverages. Aside from a few bugs the campground was mostly empty and our out-of-the-way spot was under some nice tree cover and far away from anybody else. Very peaceful. We settled down around 11.30 or so.
I awoke around 7.00 after a mediocre- BUT DRY- night's sleep. The rain never arrived thankfully. Dave woke up there of and after some camp coffee and oatmeal, we headed out for our return leg, which at some point became a basic transport leg to get into town for breakfast. Our early route consisted of more emtpy bucolic rural roads. As we got closer to town the conditions- both road and air- were changing; it was quite humid and warm, and instead of running up St. John's Hill and Skyline Drive as planned, we ploughed an easier route through Sellersburg to Hamburg Pike and in. Twig-n-Leaf finished our trip. What was a ponderous early leg became a nice S24O. Good decision.
(BTW, my camera didn't have it's card, so these are from my phone and some of them downright suck.)
|Atlantis for S24O duties. Excellent.|
|Dave-n-coffee/oatmeal. His two-man Alps Mountaineering is behind.|
|My (blurry) bivy set-up. I'll review it in a different post.|
|Green friend who made his home on the green bag.|
|ClarkSF campground green|
|If visiting CSF, the water spigot is at the building on the left. It wasn't all that evident. This saved us from going back into Henryville in the morning.|
|Some maps have this as blocked/closed, and, in fact, it is. Being on two wheels we were able to get through.|
|Dave off-roading on the 'bent. He had just bunny-hopped the log.|
|If you know your Bruegel the Elder, then this is quite Bruegelesque.|
Clark State Forest Campground
- Cheap at $10.70 for a large site. We ended up not paying, but did try
- Large sites. Could fit multiple tents. Included one or two tables and a fire ring
- For a Lou-CSF roll, the route via Waterline, Bethany, Hansberry, Murphy is an awfully nice ride. 35 miles, which is doable for a S24O. We just did it!
- There were 5 campsites being used out of 26. Seems to not be very busy.
- Generally pretty
- Water and adequate, new pit toilets
- Access to hiking trails (and horse trails) and other stuff at CSF
- Biggest one is that the camp sites next to the interstate (see previous pic). It can't be seen from the camp but can certainly be heard. Biggest negative.
- No firewood available.
- Henryville has few amenities, so not good for food, meals, etc. Limited beverage options at one gas station.
- Our site had lots of large, red ants. They didn't bite, but still.
Birds- I didn't specifically look for them as on other trips, but they're around.
Brown Thrasher in camp
Hawk (flying overhead)
Great Blue Heron (flying overhead)