Or maybe I got that punctuation wrong, and it should be Re-Cantwell.
For yesterday I did a barefoot hike with another barefoot friend, and I got to show him some of the wonders of Cantwell Cliffs.
I was accompanied by Burton Koss, who you may recall also testified before the Ohio Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review against the proposed Statehouse shoe rule. While he also does a bit of barefoot hiking, he hasn’t done very much bushwhacking, so this was a bit of a new experience for him. (And I hope I didn’t overdo it.)
We started out in the state park area, heading down the “Fat Woman’s Squeeze”.
[Don't know why it couldn't have been called the "Fat Man's Squeeze". However, many of us did notice that the rocks seem to be moving closer together over the years. :-)]
And here’s a shot of the Cantwell Cliffs themselves. You can get a feel for the scale of the place by comparing it to Burton sitting there on the left.
From there we headed off to the state forest area adjacent to Cantwell Cliff. Bushwhacking is allowed in the state forest. Here, Burton gets a lesson on the utility of toes when bushwhacking up a small, rather steep, crevasse.
An interesting feature of the forest that we came upon was this exposed rock, with a large mass of entangled roots (on the right of the picture). See if you can figure out what it is, and what caused it.
There was a tree there covering the rock. Because of the rock, its roots did not have a strong purchase on much of anything, only about a foot or so of soil. When the tree fell over (maybe in a storm or strong wind), it just cleanly pulled all of the soil and roots off of the rock, exposing it.
Our next stop was down one of the gorgeous gorges, where I saw this tree with a line of polypore mushrooms on it. You can also see some of the small recess caves in the back.
Here’s another shot of Burton (if you can see him). This gives you an idea of the scale of the area we were in, at the tip of the gorge. It’s probably just as large as Cantwell Cliffs, but it’s just not as “cliffy”, so one can scramble around quite a bit.
Finally, we headed our way, slowly, down to the mouth of the gorge. Along the way I noticed a few more sets of recess caves along the side of the gorge that might be fun to explore some day. But not then.
We also came across a rotting tree with a really interesting fungus on it.
It almost looked like somebody had sprayed pink foam onto the tree. Maybe a reader can identify it?
Anyways, Burton had a good time, even if it did take us longer than we originally thought. I hadn’t realized just how competent I had gotten in bushwhacking in my bare feet until I did it with somebody who didn’t have experience in that particular skill. I had learned how to pick out routes (and to see the faint signs of deer trails). I knew a bit more about where I could safely put my feet amongst the twigs and forest debris. Burton, on the other hand, was smart enough not to push it beyond his abilities, so we both emerged with soles intact.
Afterwards we celebrated by heading out to dinner together at Fadó Irish Pub. Barefoot of course. We’ve never really had any problem there, and sure didn’t this time, either.
All in all, a great day.