Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hocking Hills State Park- Part One

We have certainly been dealing with some nasty cold wet weather recently.  However, we got a break from it yesterday and were able to visit Hocking State Park. The park received its name from the Wyandot Indians who called it “hockhocking” referring to the Hocking River’s bottle shaped gorge near Lancaster,Ohio.  The park has 6 separate areas all total encompassing 2,000 acres.  Each one of those locations has their own unique features varying from towering sandstone cliffs to waterfalls and streams to deep gorges.  We hiked two of those areas yesterday and were quite fortunate that rain did not come down until our last hour of trekking. 
Old Man’s Cave is one of the more popular spots in the park.  It was given that name because a reclusive man, Richard Rowe, made the cave his home in the 1800s with his two hound dogs.  A great deal of our afternoon was spent in and around this large cave, which has five principal sections to it.  There is the upper and lower gorge, as well as upper, lower and middle falls.  Pictured below are the lower falls.
It was fascinating looking at the hollows in the streams and small recesses in the cliff walls- all created by the forces of cascading waters as well as percolating groundwater.  An eroded out spot in  Clear Creek here has been dubbed the “Devil’s Bathtub.
We were going to call it a day after seeing Old Man’s Cave, but it was still light out and the weather was holding out for us.  Near the cave, and up the gorge from it, is located Cedar Falls.  A path connects the two places, but in the interest of saving time, we drove to the falls.  They were called Cedar Falls by the early settlers who mistook the large hemlock trees around it as Cedar trees.
Cedar Falls is the most abundant waterfall in the park.  Queer creek cascades down the front of it.  Just as we were leaving this area we notice a memorial plaque for Grandma Gatewood (she lived from 1887-1973), who hike the Appalachian Trail several times after the age of 67 years.  I had recently learned about her when a book on her life came up on my kindle list.  I did not know she was a “long-time Hocking Hills enthusiast”!  Six miles of a trail running from Cedar Falls to Ash Creek has been dedicated to her.  Hopefully today, Wednesday, the weather will clear up and we can see more of the park.

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