Logan, OH – March 2019 – Last Ice Posting of the Year (Hopefully)

With winter hopefully coming to an end soon it was a good day to check out Hocking Hills State Park, and the numerous waterfalls throughout the park.





For this hike we started at the top of the gorge, where the aptly named Upper Falls is located.





As we made our way downstream we passed numerous ice formations on the gorge walls.





While the icicles are all bumpy, the icy spots on the trail were perfectly smooth, and very slick.





The day was mostly cloudy but we did have a peak of the sun highlight the lower falls and rock formation near one of the trails exiting the gorge.





Much like snowflakes, it seems no two icicles are the same.





The stream continues down the gorge with numerous small waterfalls.





We reached the lower falls before heading off for other trails.





Broken Rock Falls is at the end of a short side trail. Despite the narrow path for the water to travel over the wall, it came down with significant noise.





We moved on to Cedar Falls where the path to the falls took us past more interesting formations on the gorge wall. It seems the ice here was ‘stuck’ to the wall, as opposed to the numerous icicles elsewhere, although there were some here too.





The light mist that comes over the edge causes the light coating.





Cedar Falls is one of the nicer ones in the park.





Another waterfalls was hidden around the corner from the main falls, and all of the people. Note the two logs framing the sides covered in ice as well.





Our final stop was Ash Cave. We saved this for our ‘grand finale’, however the cone at the bottom wasn’t nearly as tall as in previous years.

Still it is an impressive falls.



A close up of the ice ‘cone’ at the bottom with the mist of water barely visible in the center.

All in all it was a great day in the park, and my phone says I climbed the equivalent of 54 stories of a building! Exercise and photography, what could be better.







Rockbridge, OH – July 2017 – Lilyfest

Buried way back a small one lane road in the Hocking Hills is Lilyfest. It is a celebration of one couple’s gardens, adorned with art. What started as a small gathering now has over 70 vendors with artistic wares, two stages for music, as well as the gardens, now known as the Bishop Education Gardens.

Most of the vendors were happy to allow photography of their art. One of the first we visited makes all natural doll, with a clay face, moss, grasses and other natural products make up the rest.

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Not really sure, but it is cool

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The gardens were in bloom providing a bucolic setting, despite the throng of people and vendors.

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Art from old instruments.

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Hanging decorations.

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Air feed plants from South America

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There was a large collection of iron art.

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How they managed to jam all of the cars parked on every available open space of the hills and trees is amazing. Fortunately we were there early enough that we had a good place to park, and enjoyed festival before it was too crowded.

Logan, OH – June 2017 – Whispering Cave

Having made a number of trips to Hocking Hills State Park to hike the trails to the caves and cliffs, we thought we had seen them all. Fortunately this spring they opened a trail to a cave that had been off limits for 50 year, Whispering Cave.

Named so because of the acoustics that allows a person to whisper on one side and someone on the other side can hear what was said. The trail has been opened, and with an early start we had the place to ourselves.

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Leaving Whispering Cave and continuing on the Hemlock Bridge Trail, we passed on great rock formations.

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After a two mile hike we arrived at Lower Falls – Old Man’s Creek

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The climb out of the gorge

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Upper Falls – Old Man’s Creek

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Interesting lighting on the cliff walls. It was a great day of hiking in the cliffs and gorges.

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Hocking Hills – January 2016 – Frozen Falls

After our brief stop at Brandywine Falls in northern Ohio the previous weekend and seeing how interesting the frozen waterfalls looked, we decided to go to Hocking Hills and check those out. As we headed down the first icy path I fell on my butt reminding me that sometimes adventure seeking is painful. But I recovered and we continued on.

This path, which was to lead us to Old Man’s Cave and the Lower Falls, was icy the entire distance but if you got off the trail onto the dirt it was much safer. Eventually we made it to the bottom and had our first view of an ice ‘sculpture’. There were seeming frozen waterfalls everywhere, with numerous streams of frozen water coming off the ledges. Eventually we made our way to the Upper Falls which provided even more opportunities for observing a variety of ice forms.

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Most were frozen from the top down, but in some instances where the water was hitting the ground in a pool and splashing up there would be little ice castles built on the ground. After moving to Ash Cave we found one of these ice castles that was over 6′ high.

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Other than a bruised ‘ego’, visiting Hocking Hills in the winter is a wonderful experience.

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Hocking Hills, OH – August 2015 – Zip Lines & Canoeing

The following day we decided to go to the Hocking Hills for a day of adventure. On the way down we debated if we should go canoeing or do ziplines. Eventually, we decided on Zip Lines

I had read about the two places there that have Zip Lines and decided on a placed called Soaring Cliffs, primarily because it is the the only zipline tour in the the Hocking Hills that does not use hand braking as a means of slowing yourself down and stopping at the end of the line.

This tour also prides itself on being the only zipline tour to zip from landform to landform without having to climb stairs to platforms. So, not only were we able to focus on nature and the fun of zipping and not have to worry about breaking, we didn’t need to climb loads of stairs to get out next one. At one point we were zipping almost 150 feet of the forest floor but, because of the way each zipline was built, we only noticed the beauty and not the height.

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The staff at Soaring Cliffs are impeccable. The owner hand picks the staff each year from dozens of applicants and chooses them not only for their skill at ziplining, but their love of nature and professionalism. Our two young tour guides were just that- fun and professional. We felt safe in their care and their calm attitude kept us from being tense.

Despite my general fear of heights I had no issues at all from the and as we approached the first run I went first. The first guide went over, then I went. After that first run we were both thrilled that we had chosen Zip Lines.

After each zipline, we walked on paths through the woods and were told interesting facts about common plants that live and survive in the Hocking Hills’ woodland areas. After the fourth zipline, we headed into an open cave for a mid-tour treat! We had campfire-cooked hot dogs and s’mores.

As we proceeded the guides encouraged us to lean back as it caused you to flip over and go upside down for a while. You can do this because of the self braking, without that it is not permitted because you have to keep your hands on the lines at all times.

We enjoyed a gorgeous Hocking Hills morning learning about nature in the area and experiencing the thrill of zipping down a line over small gorges and valleys and in between tall trees. Soaring Cliffs was a highlight of the day, and one of our better day trips of the year

The following weekend we went back for canoeing. We arrived mid morning, with the canoe livery already very busy, bought our ticket and were boarded on a bus with a group of Ohio State first year Med School students.

After a short drive we were dropped off near a bunch of canoes and said ‘have at it’. So off we went. If you want to test a marriage just go canoeing. We each thought we knew what we were doing, but in reality we both probably had some good idea, but neither were experts. Nevertheless, we were able to get going down river and dodge the mass of canoes with people who were worse than us.

The water level on the Hocking River that day was very low and we kept getting stuck. When we set off I was worried about drowning. In the end I pulled a muscle in my should trying to push us off of rocks with my paddle. By the end we were worn out and tired and decided zip lining was much more fun.

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As we left the livery we stopped by the tourist center where they a very small museum of ~3,400 unique pencil sharpeners that was located at the original owenrs house until he died, when his wife agreed to “loan” the museum to the Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s Welcome Center in Logan so that many more folks could see it.

The variety is astounding. Almost anything you can imagine has been made into a pencil sharpener at some point, and there’s a good chance you’ll find it here! I especially like the world landmarks pencil sharpeners such as Big Ben, the Roman Coliseum, and the Mackinac Bridge.

For lunch we stopped at a nice local spot in downtown Logan called the Utopia Brick Oven Restaurant. While the help wasn’t the most skilled, she tried hard, and the food was good, as was sitting in the shade in the outdoor patio bar area.

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Closer to home we stopped by the town of Buckeye Lake. I had never been here and had read a lot about it, since it is the local ‘resort lake’ for Columbus. Having read about it online, we headed to the local museum only to find it had closed 15 minutes earlier. However, when I pulled on the door thinking it was open a lady came over, opened the door and invited us in.

The museum had a nice model railroad display of the town, numerous items from the amusement park that had been there, clothing from the park, and even a skee ball game. In addition they had a great collection of maps and pennants. This small museum does a great job of paying tribute to their long gone history.

We finished our day by touring the lakeshore, which looked amazingly like a mini Lake Erie shoreline, with the cottages and docks.

Southern Ohio – May 2014 – The Dog Blues

Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peach Ranch in Meigs County, Ohio hosts weekend workshops for guitarists, with the highlight being a Saturday night concert. Among the distinguished staff members are Larry Campbell, Warren Haynes, and the day we were there, David Lindley. Jorma was a guitarist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. David has played on hundreds of albums for artists including Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt.

The concert was on Memorial Day weekend, so the weather was nice and we took the opportunity to make a weekend of it. We left Akron and headed down I-71, but because of the holiday there were far too many highway patrol so I exited south of Mansfield and took two lane roads the rest of the way, through Mount Vernon, Newark, Somerset and finally stopping in the Hocking Hills for some hiking.

 

Our hike was in Cantwell Cliffs, one of the lesser visited areas of the Hocking Hills The erosion caused by Buck Run accounts for the deep valley, steep cliffs and rock shelter under the cliff. Approaching the rock shelter, the trail winds its way through narrow passageways caused by large slump blocks that have fallen away from the main cliff. The most narrow passage has been sarcastically named Fat Woman’s Squeeze.

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After a short visit with some relatives who have a farm in Meigs County we wandered the gravel back roads of Meigs County to the Fur Peace Ranch. Essentially you drive up someone’s driveway and park in a field, and immediately notice the cabins and a few buildings. Outside one of these buildings an older guy was playing a dobro and electric guitar, jamming to some blues.

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We checked out the store and small museum, before settling in for the conert. The hall seats less than 100 people, so we were fortunate to get tickets, and it was well worth it as the show was great.

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We had hotel reservations at the Blennerhassett in Parkersburg, a historic hotel opened in 1889 but was restored in 1986. It is said to be haunted, but we didn’t see anything. The hotel is beautiful, and the staff very attentive, we highly recommend it to anyone that needs to spend a night in Parkersburg.

Sunday morning we headed up the Ohio River on West Virginia Route 2, all the way to Wheeling. Once there, we visited Oglebay Park.

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After spending an hour wandering the park we headed across town for a few races at the Wheeling Island Dog Track. It was my first time at a dog track, and it seemed so strange as it was just like a horse racing track, only in miniature. It was sad to see the dogs muzzled, and I am always torn when I attend horse races and now dog races that not all of the owners treat these great animal-athletes as they should.

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