Thomas Dambo Road Trip Adventure Day

I have seen these giant woodland trolls in so many photos – they are all over the world! I was so excited when I read that there were some near us – or sort of near, if you call three hours away near. So we planned a road trip, and we could not have picked a better day.

First, a little background. Thomas Dambo is a Danish artist who creates work of art from salvaged and recycled materials, from these giant trolls that can be found all over the world to birdhouse installations and even happy walls. You can find photos of his work and read more here.

The weather was almost perfect for a December Sunday. Highs in the upper 40s and sunny? A fabulous day to explore! We hit the road, loaded up with snacks and beverages and music on the radio, and then drove through most of Ohio. The sun was shining and the traffic light, and it was a straight shot down 75, so an easy peasy kind of drive.

Then we were there! Aullwood Audubon Center, and we piled out of the car, and geared up. When we hike now I wear Wyatt in a Kinderpack, which goes up to 60 pounds. Hopefully one day he will be hiking along with us but for now this is what we do. And it works! Billy used to wear Wyatt but we are in search of a better hiking carrier that works for Billy and Wyatt; mine won’t work for them because it would require Wyatt’s legs to stretch farther than would be comfortable. Nevertheless, it keeps me strong, and makes my son happy, which makes me happy.

And this was quite an adventure!! It was exciting for all of us to turn a corner on the trail and see a troll looming off in the distance!

The first one we found was Bibbi in her Prairie tower, getting ready to soar!

Bibbi was Wyatt’s favorite, and she was really cool. It looks like I am just checking my phone but I was trying to open my camera to take a photo. Lol. Billy grabbed this one of us though, and I love it.

Next up was Bodil. Billy and I loved Bodil the best. He was plunked down on a little hill his feet in a stream. The artistry is amazing right?

You are encouraged to hug the trolls, but not climb on them. Unfortunately the group in front of us had been climbing all over poor Bodil, so I hope not many other people did that.

There was a nest that we backtracked too, but didn’t get close enough. The mud in that area was so thick and deep and literally tried to suck the boots off of my feet. With Wyatt on my back I didn’t want to take any chances so we turned back.

The third troll was at the other end of the trail, and it was starting to get late. We had already been hiking two hours so instead of traveling farther up the trail, we took the shortcut of heading back to our car and driving around to the other end. We didn’t want to get trapped in there, as they close the gates promptly at 5 and we were already at 4 pm at the other other end of the trail. It would be a three mile hike round trip from where we were still so driving to the other end seemed like a smarter choice. Plus it gave Wyatt a break from the carrier as well.

This third troll is Bo! The gas canisters are supposed to be eggs, as this exhibition is called The Troll that Hatched an Egg. Billy thought it would be hysterical for Wyatt to pick this troll’s nose….

A short walk back to the car and we were done. Tired but a happy tired. One that comes from hiking for hours outside, enjoying time together. We sat in the back of the car a few minutes, kicking our legs out, and eating gingerbread cookies, before heading home. And one of us took a little nap on the drive home, through a dusky sky that soon turned to that deep December darkness.

Overall, this was a fantastic hike. For more information on visiting check out the Aullwood Audubon Center’s website. To find other troll locations, check out this Troll Map.

A little last note regarding accessibility and disabilities for this trail. As the mother of a child with cerebral palsy and a mobility disability , this is always important to me and I want to share my experience so others can learn too. Especially if someone who is disabled or is the parent of a disabled child wants to visit. In my opinion, this would be a very tough if not impossible trail to access any other way besides how we did it. It had many steep hills to climb, and was trail not a walkway. And when we visited the trail was also extremely muddy. This was probably the most difficult hike I’ve done carrying Wyatt, and I did get some help from Billy, who advised me to stand up straight while walking uphill and not lean over. He told me this would crunch me up too much, making it difficult to breathe and he was totally right. Posture was super important. He also held my hand through the very muddy parts and stream crossings. I just wanted to share this for anyone going who may need this information; I would hate for anyone to get there and find out too late and be disappointed. The website also states that the trail takes three hours to view all the trolls and the nest, and is three miles round trip. In fact, when we were at the end viewing the third troll, there was an older gentleman arranging for an Uber to take him back to the other end of trail. Just some things to consider when going. It’s not a difficult hike unless maybe there is someone in your party that has special circumstances.

That being said, we had a fantastic day and loved every second of it.