Everywhere I go I find hiking, even in Ohio. So today on a perfect autumn day, my granddaughter (age 6) and I went to Hocking Hills State Park, about 30 miles west of Athens.
As my son says, it’s a high thrill, no exertion place. The park consists of several natural areas – the most famous is Old Man’s Cave. It derives its name from a hermit who supposedly lived in the large recess cave in the 1790s. The sandstone cave is carved by Old Man’s Creek. It’s a short walk to see all the features, including several falls and the Sphinx Head. You could give a name to every stone formation. In a couple of miles (or less), you can climb up and down steps, cross bridges and even walk through several stone tunnels. The sandstone overhangs and formations are the attractions. There were lots of families, which encourages other kids to walk.
This area must be in a drought because the falls looked pretty anemic. Above is a picture of Upper Falls.
The Grandma Gatewood Trail connects three sections of the park – Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls (another almost dry falls) and Ash Cave, in six miles. But since it’s not a loop, we decided to drive to each of these attractions. The area has finally decided to honor Emma “Grandma” Gatewood with a trail, though a short one. She came from this area and is famous for being the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and the first person to hike it three times.
I go home tomorrow and back to Cataloochee on Tuesday. I wonder which elk is dominant now.