Time Traveling: Hocking Hills Hiking, Part 2

Okay, these images are from our second day at Hocking Hills State Park. As I write this, we've moved on to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. I'll tell you more about that in tomorrow's post. For now, I'm catching up on the days we were without internet. Our cell signal here is weak, and so I'm only hoping I can get my pictures uploaded. Let's just see about that right now, shall we? Here we go.

We started at the Cedar Falls trail. 

Stay with me my friends. It would be easy to take a tumble here.

Each of the hikes we did in this park led into a "gorge." These areas were not carved out by glaciers, but were instead formed when the Wisconsin Glacier began melting. The glacier stopped in northern Hocking County, so the area suffered indescribable flooding when the melting began. The ancient Teays River was buried under tons of glacial silt, and the direction of the Hocking River was reversed. 

When the glacial torrents found cracks in the hard capstone, the water poured through to flush out the soft middle layer. This left long tunnels where the gorges are today. Eventually, the weight of the tops caused them to come crashing down. The "slump rocks" in the gorges today are what's left of the hard top layer. In just a few centuries, the rushing waters of the glacier carved the soft middle layer of sandstone into the myriad dimples and wrinkles that decorate the cliffs and grottos today.

Early settlers in Muskingum County found an ancient black human handprint on a cliff that is part of this same sandstone formation. That is the same "black hand sandstone" that is seen in six areas of Hocking Hills State Park. And as we go, remember that these trails are the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps...my favorite government agency, no longer in existence.

There is a lot of moisture in this park, and you'll see it in the form of fungi, moss, and ferns growing on many surfaces.

As we walked along, I gazed upward to see the black hand sandstone cliff.

Here is some signage explaining more about how the area was formed.

Here's another look at the cliffs.

Looking here, you can see the moss growing on this stone wall.

On the other side of the bridge, ferns and moss growing, seemingly, from solid rock.

Looking back at the bridge, it looks like this.

Here's some information about Cedar Falls. There wasn't a lot of water flowing so late in the year.

And here's the waterfall. 

Mike was interested in how the stream split apart and then came together just as it fell from the rock.

I had a short video to show you of the waterfall, but I'm not able to upload it with my internet connection. I'll try again at our next stop in Dubuque, Iowa.

From here, we had to climb up this wood staircase to get back to the parking lot. It was less difficult than it appears.

It was another one-way trail with some narrow areas where hikers going in opposite directions would have trouble passing one another.

In this next image, I wanted you to see the horizontal layers of sandstone.

The stairs cut into the rock are there thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps.

It appears as a maze of rock, but the trails were very easy to follow.

From there, we headed to Ash Cave. It was a huge overhang similar to Old Man's Cave.

This was a trail built to accommodate the needs of folks with mobility issues. It was a loop trail, but it was also possible to make it an in-and-out trail for those riding scooters or wheelchairs.

Looking up, we could see another example of the rugged cliffs and black hand sandstone.

Here is the cave.

It's name comes from huge piles of ash that were found here. Initially, there was speculation about what caused the ash. Sifting through it, they found bits of pottery and animal bone, and so it was obviously human caused.

These next several images were taken standing in different parts of the cave to give you some idea of the size.

In the next image we're looking back in the other direction, as we began to ascend the trail back to the parking lot.

And more stairs and an uphill climb led us back to the parking lot.

We enjoyed this area very much. The cliff formations were unique and different from anything we've seen previously.

I'm hoping I'll be able to upload this post. I have a weak cell signal, and no wi-fi. Since I wasn't able to upload the video, I'm a little worried about these pictures. There's only one way to know...here we go.

Time Traveling: Hocking Hills Hiking, Part 1

Let's get in the time traveling machine and travel back three days to when we arrived at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio.

It was a fairly primitive site, although we did have an electrical hook-up. There was no wi-fi access, and we couldn't pick up satellite TV. Also, our site was small with a pair of barking and howling dogs next door. They were in one of the tent trailers, and their owners had left them behind. They were making quite a fuss at virtually anything that moved. The kitties were extremely offended at such rude and immature behavior. 

It was late in the day, but we knew we were just yards away from access to the trailhead for Old Man's Cave. And hey...Mike is an old man. We ought to be able to do that. It meant traversing a steep slope from the campground to the visitor center below. We passed through a forest comprised mainly of Eastern Hemlock. (We have Western Hemlock in our woods at home.)

Eventually, we crossed over this "A-frame bridge."

Looking to the left, there was a creek running and another bridge below.

In the other direction, stone walls and walkways.

Eventually, we arrived at the trail. Here's some information about it and the origin of its name. If you want to know more about the cave, then click right here.

We could have walked in several different directions, since this was the convergence of a few different trails. All the signs said the same thing: "Exit Only. Wrong Way. Do not Enter." And this made no sense to us. How can a trail be one way? Unless one is riding a bike or a horse or something. On foot, it didn't make a lot of sense to us. We just walked on...rebels that we are.

As you look at these pictures, keep in mind that the stone steps, stone walls, stone walkways, tunnels, and bridges were all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

The "cave" was really an enormous overhang of blackhand sandstone. Oh, and look! There's the old man now!!!

Standing there, we could look across the creek and see where we'd be walking next. In the middle of the image below, you can see the stone bridge we would cross.

It meant walking down these stone steps and through a tunnel.

Yes, this too was constructed by the CCC.

Looking back to where we'd come from...

I'm always intrigued by tree roots growing over huge boulders. Where there's a will, there's a way.

We crossed over the stone bridge.

And through a second tunnel.

And, yes, we were still going the wrong way.

We began to understand why it was one way, however. Some of the walkways were only wide enough for one person to pass by. In some places, the rock overhang was so low, we had to duck. It would have been difficult to pass by another hiker going in the opposite direction. Fortunately, we seemed to be the only people on the trail.

We noticed blue blazes on the trees, indicating we'd met up again with our old friend, the North Country National Scenic Trail that we've seen so many times on this trip.

Here, these steps appeared more modern, but there was no indication they were built by anyone other than the CCC.

Here's one of the narrow parts of the trail I mentioned.

Here's some information about the "Devil's Bathtub," and a picture is to follow.

It looks inviting...no? But please, like the sign says, climbing out is virtually impossible. 

It was fed by a waterfall up the creek. Notice another stone bridge in the image below.

We were near the end of the hike here, and found another sign with a little more information about the waterfall.

We finished the hike at the visitor center, closed that late in the day, but found this information about the Sphinx Head. 

I can't say we saw it, but I did appreciate the art work.

Okay, and it was getting dark then. We needed to make our way back to the campground before the sun set, or risk getting lost in the woods. We had to make our way back up the steep slope we'd come down, and then we called it a day.

I still have two more hikes to tell you about, but we're getting ready to take off from here and make our way to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. More later. Fingers crossed the jacks and slides operate as they are supposed to.