Normally, I tend to hike off the beaten path. That’s because I like exploring new areas that few people have been to before.
But occasionally it is fun to hike the old standards. When you do that on a weekend, you can be sure that the bare feet attract comment.
On Saturday I hike about 11 miles, doing the Grand Hocking Circuit: Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave, and back again.
OK, I kind of lied. On the way down to Ash Cave, I didn’t take the main trail, the Grandma Gatewood Trail. I know of other trails that few other people are aware of, and I took those. (For those interested, I took the horse by-pass of the Buckeye Trail.)
One of those trails gives a really nice view of some of the layering of the rocks above Cedar Falls:
The trouble with these other trails that few people use is that the State then seems to think they can log the area. It is always upsetting to see when they’ve clear-cut a whole ridge.
As far as I can tell, this isn’t even State Forest territory, but State Park territory. I thought they weren’t allowed to log there.
At the far end of the trail, it hits Routes 374 and 56. Right at the corner there is a pretty cool looking rock:
From there Ash Cave is a short walk along the road. With all the rain we’ve been getting, the waterfall at Ash Cave was running as good as I’ve ever seen it.
And here I am at the top of Ash Cave waterfall.
From there, I headed north on the Grandma Gatewood Trail (portion of the Buckeye Trail). And I got a LOT of comments, all favorable. One woman said, “Oh, barefoot!” quite approvingly. Another one let me know that she ran barefoot (she’d even heard of Ken Bob Saxton!).
Also, from the rain, a lot of the trail was muddy. So while a lot of people were gingerly picking their way through and/or around it, I just didn’t worry about it. So I also got a lot of positive comments from people who realized that I had just the right kind of footwear for hiking the trail: none. Overall, I must have had at least 10 favorable comments on that hike.
One nice thing about this trail is that is passes a restored fire tower that people are allowed to climb. So, here’s the view north from the fire tower. The water tower you see is just on the west side of Rose Lake. If you carefully look just to the west of that, you can see a bit of a long depression: that’s the creek/gorge leading from Old Man’s Cave.
It’s actually rather amazing that those kinds of features don’t show up better.
And finally, if you are going to do clear-cut logging and you really don’t want people to know about it, doing it right next to a fire tower probably isn’t a good idea.
That’s the area I hiked by as I headed the other direction. Isn’t that just sad to look at?