This July, I took a trip to Ohio's Appalachian country to see how many eurcyeas I could see, but nature had other plans. After leaving my home state to go south and stopping at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge to get some birding in, I went east to Norwalk on scenic US 20, where I spent my first night dreaming of the sallies the next day would bring in the North-Central Ohio area (Knox, Ashland, Richland, Licking, and Holmes counties). Unbeknownst to me, a giant storm was ravaging the southern 2/3 of Ohio that night. After a quick stop at a sentimental spot with Northern Two-Liners and Longtails in a beautiful natural spring, I headed Southwest toward Columbus, and noticed that every town had no power, much to my chagrin. In Lou of any motels anywhere within 50 miles of the Scioto River, I had to go southwest into SW Ohio. The fireworks were visible from the cheap motel there, but the colors just reminded me of the Northern Springs I had missed earlier (If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, if all you can think about is a Gyrinophilus, every color starts to look like dull orange). The next day, I tried my most secret spot, the prize I most coveted, and I hit the nail on the head. I got 75 Cave Sallies in one day in the state of Ohio. How did I do it? Two words-spring house. Ohio's hills never smell so sweet or look so inviting as after an experience like that. It was literally fifteen minutes of heaven. If I die and God offers me that for eternity, I'll take it. The feeling does not have words that can describe it. The only word that comes close to describing my mood for the next 2 weeks is elation. I went east back toward the Scioto, and struck out at a site rumored to have Midland Muddies and Kentucky Springs. On the way back home, a ranger almost fell out of his chair when I asked trail directions, he asked why I wanted to go to a muddy spring, and I told him that I had the pictures of 75 Caves on me. He was friends with the head of the Ohio DNR endangered herps director, Greg Lipps. On the way home, I hit a spot east of Columbus and got three Rubers. Great rip to say the least. Blue Highway provided the musical backdrop, and the farm country on the way back home never looked so good. After the Reds, I have developed a new affinity for the Buckeye State. I'll get the pictures to this and the Michigan duskies thread up this weekend.
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