Hiking Hocking Hills

One of the places the kid often raves about it Hocking Hills.  He’s been there quite a few times since moving to Columbus and he always has a great time.  With more than 10,000 acres of state parks there are a ton of things to see.

I was super excited when he took the day off of work on Friday and we headed there.

Hocking Hills

I didn’t bring trail shoes with me so I just wore a pair of regular running shoes.  It wasn’t too cold that day so a sweatshirt was all I needed.  Luckily I had brought my Columbia backpack on the plane with me and also, luckily, the kid offered to carry it after about 15 minutes.  Bonus!

Hocking Hills State Park has five separate sections: Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, and Rock House.  The only part we didn’t visit is Whispering Caves which is located on the Hemlock Bridge Trail and we didn’t have the time to do that one.

Old Mans Cave Old Man’s Cave is named for a hermit, Richard Rowe, who used to live there.  His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee.  Richard and his two hound dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game. On one side trip up Salt Creek, he found the Hocking Region and he lived out his life in the area.  He is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave.

Old Man's Cave

We hiked through all of the trails in just over five hours.  In all I believe we walked a little over 12 miles.

hiking hocking hills

Some of the trails were a bit steep and the kid said that people die here almost every year.  We researched the park before heading out and were very careful while hiking and I cannot stress to you how important it is to pay attention.  We were extremely careful and still managed to trip a few times.

Hocking Hills Hocking HIlls

The trail markers were easy to follow and we never got lost which was a big fear of mine because typically I can’t find my way out of a hole.

top of the mountains

hocking hills

hiking

It got fairly warm later in the day and I switched into a lighter jacket.  The kid went with short sleeves but I was not that brave.  It’s still Ohio and this Florida girl was cold.

lake at hocking hills

The kid and I hiked around this entire lake, and I am here to tell you it was a lot longer than it said on the marker!  We didn’t mind but I don’t think anyone had hiked around it in a while.  There were some parts that were particularly muddy but we rallied.  The had stocked the lake with over a thousand rainbow trout the week before so there were some guys out fishing.  I was a little jealous when I saw two of them with a stringer of 9 fish!


hocking hills

hocking hills suspension bridge hocking hills gorge

It was so beautiful and I couldn’t help but take a thousand pictures.  Unfortunately, we had to take a break and delete some apps on my phone because I kept running out of space!

waterfall in hocking hills

waterfall

The water in Hocking Hills State Park is the most beautiful color you’ve ever seen due to the minerals in it.  You can’t swim at the waterfalls but they sure are spectacular to look at.

Hocking HIlls Waterfall

cliffs

The kid said that he has never gotten his friends to hike the entire thing so he was pretty stoked that I wanted to.  I wish we could have seen the last part but it was already 5:30 in the afternoon and we had to drive back to Columbus.  I told the kid the next time I visit we have to go back so I can cross it off my list.

I know, I know, I’m killing you with all the pictures but I couldn’t help myself.  It was just such an incredible place.

Here’s one last one because I just can’t help myself.

hocking hils water

There is a lot of walking up and down so if you’re not used to that it might be a bit hard to see all of the parks on your first visit.  The kid and I love to hike and we’re in pretty decent shape but we had some very sore calves the next day.

If you’re ever in Southeastern Ohio I highly recommend this place and in case you are a proud owner of a four legged friend, the park is pet friendly.  The next time I come, I’m bringing Hank.

When is the last time you went hiking and where did you go?

Caverns and Graves

I’m back.  My plane touched down around 5 in the evening on Sunday.  Of course, I have a shit ton of pictures and I really need to share them with you so at least two days this week you’ll have to indulge me.

Ohio Caverns

The Ohio Caverns was originally an aquifer which held an underground river of melted glacier water. The river eventually receded to lower levels of the ground and is now unseen.  In 1897 a 17 year old farmhand named Robert Noffsinger got curious when he noticed a sinkhole on the property that would fill with rain and then be completely dry the next day, so he began to dig.  After reaching limestone and finding a crack he was able to break through and lower himself into the caverns becoming the first living being inside of them.

 

Ohio Caverns

Ohio Caverns

The Ohio Caverns contain many crystal formations. Approximately 90% of its stalactite and stalagmite formations are still active.

Cavern stalagmites and stalagtites

You will see examples of every type of formation in the Ohio Caverns: iron oxide formations; manganese dioxide formations; calcite formations: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstone, soda straws, and helictites; and Dual Formations.  Dual Formations are extremely rare and the Ohio Caverns is the only known cave in North America, (and one of very few in the world), known to have Dual Formations. In the Ohio Caverns there are calcite stalactites growing on the ends of iron oxide formations.

 

Cavern Crystals

Dual Formations

Did you know there is a difference between a cavern and a cave?  A cave is any cavity in the ground that is large enough that some portion of it will not receive direct sunlight and there are many types of caves.  A cavern is a specific type of cave that is naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems. So, although a cavern can accurately be called a cave, not all caves can be called caverns.

Ohio Caverns

After we left the Ohio Caverns we were driving down a road taking the scenic route back when we spotted a row of old stones on the side of the road.  We turned around and went back and discovered Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve.

Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery

The cemetery isn’t plowed or mowed as it contains many prairie grasses and wildflowers.  Unfortunately we did not get to see it in its full splendor as the wildflowers bloom in mid to late summer but we didn’t mind.  We felt so fortunate that we found it and were able to see it.

Bigelow Cemetery

Some of the graves dated back to the early 1800’s.

Old gravestone

There was one row of an entire family who all died around the same time, most likely from some sort of disease.

grave stone

I found it so interesting how they wrote the date of death and then instead of a birth year which is commonly seen today, we saw things like ‘aged 75 yrs, 2 mos, 5 days.  It was so interesting.

This next set of stones was off in the corner.  I think some of the pieces may have been broken parts of stones that they haven’t found or damaged gravestones that haven’t been repaired.  Whatever the case I got an overwhelming sense of sadness looking at it.

Bigelow Cemetery

I’m so glad that I was able to see this piece of history which is located at 600 Rosedale Road in Madison County, Ohio.  I was so enthralled by the history of the place that I researched the families who were buried there.  It was quite interesting.  I hope I can visit there again someday.

Have you ever visited an old cemetery?

Have you ever visited any of the caverns in the United States?  I’ve seen Ruby Falls, The Lost Sea, Luray Caverns and the Ohio Caverns.  I have a thing for caverns obviously.

Cleveland part two, does it ever get warm?

Yesterday kind of got away from me.  Mostly because the kid and I spent the morning at the Short North and then after a quick trip to Polaris, I dropped him off at work and went running at Highbanks, (it was awesome!)

But you’ll have to wait til tomorrow on that because first I need to finish telling you about Cleveland.

Cleveland

I’m in a top knot phase lately and also, I’m lazy.

We went to Cleveland right after visiting Lake Erie and we were freezing so we decided to visit the Arcade.  On the way there, we passed the House of Blues.

House of Blues

Obviously it wasn’t open but I’d love to go back sometime and see an awesome concert or two.

The first place that we went to is called The Arcade.

The Arcade Cleveland

The Arcade originally opened in 1890 and was the very first indoor shopping center in America so it was fitting that I should visit.

Seriously though, the architecture and detail in this building was the main reason the kid and I decided to check it out.  We both love architecture and the buildings in Cleveland did not disappoint.

Cleveland Arcade

Cleveland Arcade

Cleveland Arcade

What? No topknot?

After the Cleveland Arcade we checked out some of the older buildings in the city.

Cleveland

We fell in love with the church behind me.  The detail in that building was exquisite.

After walking around for a while in the extremely cold weather I realized I had forgotten my hat or anything to cover my ears and I was cold so, we walked over to Tower City Center to see if we could find something.

Tower City Center is also home to the Ritz Carlton and it was Monday and there was a rumor that a certain family was in town and staying there.  I believe they are known as the KarJenner’s.  We did not see any of them but that is how we heard about the ladies who’s reservations were cancelled.

Tower City Center Cleveland

Aaaand the top knot is back but only for a brief time…

My cousin had recommended the rock and roll hall of fame and we had planned on visiting but then we came across Jack’s.  If you don’t know Jack, you should get to know him.

Jack's Casino

Jack's

Aw shit, we gonna be awhile….

After I calmed the kid down, we did pretty good.  It was his first time in a casino and good Lord, he got so amped up he kept leaving our bag and his jacket at random places and we had to go back and find them.  In the end, he won 100 bucks and I literally made him walk away which I’m sure he’ll appreciate later but at the time he was all ready to play some more.

It was already getting late so we decided to check out a local eatery and then head home.

The Winking Lizard

We went to the Winking Lizard.

They had a vast selection of craft beers to choose from so of course I chose the obvious, I went with the Pinot Grigio.

And then we wrapped it up.  The kid and I had visited Ikea on Sunday and we had a ton of stuff to put together.

menardds

Off to Menard’s for some tools. This will work right?

Based on the weather so far, I think I’m gonna need to borrow the kids hat.

cold weather hat

Bring on the trails, momma’s ready!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the trail I ran and I’ll get the name right for a change.  And I’ll tell you about some other really cool and fun stuff.

Have you ever been to a casino?

Did you win big or lose it all?