One of the interesting formations in Hocking Hills is Rockbridge. This is a natural rock arch spanning around 95 feet. It is the longest such natural arch in Ohio.
I haven’t been to Rockbridge for quite a while. Usually, if I’m heading into Hocking County I’m looking for a longer hike, so I’ll go elsewhere. However, I’m still paying extra attention to my feet after peeling some of the skin, so, particularly with yesterday’s temperature in the mid- to upper-30s, I thought I’d revisit it.
The park (nature preserve) itself located about ½ mile from its parking lot, so one has to traverse a narrow access panhandle that is bordered by farmer’s fields. That was rather boring hiking.
But once you get into the woods, things perk right up again.
The great thing about hiking this time of year is being able to see the topography. That also helps for placing oneself on topo maps. As with other hikes in the area, one of the hillsides was just packed with ground cedar.
Rockbridge itself is another ¼ in. It’s really just another recess cave, but one for which part of the roof has fallen in.
The waterfall was running pretty good. We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately, so everything is flowing. You can also see the effect of the cold weather we’ve been having, which has left behind ice curtains.
Looking downstream from atop the bridge you can see how much water is flowing. That is usually a trickle. And in the distance you can see the Hocking River.
The Hocking itself is quite swollen from all the rain.
Flow rate in that picture is about 1200 cubic feet per second, as compared to the normal for this time of year of about 400 cubic feet per second. About 2 miles upstream from here is the town of Rockbridge. It used to be called Millville (back in the 1800s), but they changed the name when they saw the tourist opportunities.
Looking back at the Rockbridge from the River, this is what you see:
More ice curtains, too.
And who can resist a shot atop the bridge?
By the way, that photo required a tripod, a camera with a timer, and being able to climb and run like hell!
I found that the trail had been changed since I had last been there. There used to be wooden steps leading down the nose of a ridge that approaches the rockbridge. Those steps have been removed, and the trail rerouted to gradually climb along the side. Actually, I shouldn’t say the stairs have been removed. They have been dismantled, and there are pieces of wood still sitting around where the steps used to be.
On the way back to my car, I also checked out another of the trails, which heads by their “rock cave”, another recess cave where the resistance blackhand sandstone is again exposed by a creek.
After that it was back to my car, for a total of around 2½ miles. Again, I had to traverse the panhandle.
Oh, did I mention that all of the rain had made that part of the trail pretty muddy?
Fortunately, my footwear choice was waterproof, and cleans up easily afterwards.