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Archive for the ‘Geology’ Category

Blackhand Gorge — Part 2

I actually cheated a little bit at the end of Blackhand Gorge — Part 1 when I showed you the bike path through Deep Cut (for, not as I originally wrote, the electric Interurban, but the Central Ohio Railroad, and then later the B. & O.). That wasn’t part of my barefoot hike.

When I took that picture I was on inline skates.

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There are a number of places in Ohio where the rivers run “backwards”. I’ve written about Clear Creek and Salt Creek. Their current configurations came about when their original outlet was blocked by glaciers and they carved a new route in the other direction.

Blackhand Gorge, through which the Licking River flows, is another such location.

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I’ve been having fun lately looking a bit at the geology and topographic maps of southeastern Ohio. Earlier, in Great Sealer’s Ghost!, I showed a color-coded elevation map. Well, I have here another one showing more of the highlands east of the Scioto River between Circleville and Chillicothe.

[Yes, I know that calling them "highlands" is a bit presumptuous. But this is Ohio after all, and "high" in Ohio is a lot different than "high" in Colorado. In this case, the "mountains" in the Great Seal region "tower" over Chillicothe by a full 650 feet.]

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Yesterday Columbus Metro Parks had a short organized hike up to Memory Rock. One nice thing about Memory Rock (in rememberance of the property owners who donated much of the park land) is that it gives a nice view of a long stretch of the Clear Creek Valley.

The temperature was around 35°, which wasn’t too bad except we were also stopping to examine various evergreens in the park. In order to keep bare feet warm, it helps to keep moving and pumping warm blood through them.

Here’s a view of the topography with the park boundary marked in black:

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The Kettle Hills

Yesterday I did a bit of hiking in the Kettle Hills, and I went right above (or nearly above) Kettle Hill Cave. I’d first read about it in The Archeological History of the Hocking Valley, by James L. Murphy. It is also written about in Charles Goslin’s Crossroads and Fence Corners: Historical Lore of Fairfield County. Charles Goslin was a local historian who described various historical features in Fairfield County.

The interesting thing about Kettle Hill Cave is that is it a “dry” cave.

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Three Knobs

Central Ohio, particularly around Lancaster, is right on a geological boundary. This is about as far as the glaciers came during the ice ages, and it is also right at the edge of Appalachia. Hocking Hills, where I hike a lot, is really the remotest of foothills.

I’ve mentioned before about the Blackhand Sandstone that gives the interesting formations in the area, like spectacular recess caves.

But right at the boundary with the glaciated area, we get sandstone knobs.

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Kline Hollow Keratin

The reason I wrote yesterday’s entry on Barefooted Mindfulness is because the day before I spent the time hiking, mostly bushwhacking, in Hocking Hills. And as I was doing so, I realized that I really wasn’t watching too carefully where I put my feet. That caused me to think about the stages of barefooting and just how much trust I was putting into my well-keratinized soles.

What do I mean by well-keratinized?

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Mudfooting at Zaleski

On Thursday I took another hike at Zaleski State Forest. This time I was in the southern part of the Forest, along the Bridle Trails that run near Raccoon Creek.

I’ve mentioned before that horses really tear up a trail, and what with the recent and frequent rains we’ve been having here in southeastern Ohio, the trails were pretty wet (and even moreso near the creek).

That meant a lot of mud.

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Earlier, in Queer Creek, I speculated that the real reason for the name was the way the creek headed west looking to head down a well-defined valley, and then it encountered Salt Creek going the opposite direction, and then Salt Creek suddenly headed south, as I described in What’s Wrong with Salt Creek?.

I had a chance to go take a look at the creeks and their paths yesterday, and I thought you folks might like to see what I saw.

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On Wednesday I did a shorter hike (4 miles, with ½-mile bushwhacking), at Hocking Hills. I headed up Spruce Run, which is the next hollow west of Conkle’s Hollow, and bushwhacked in Huffine Hollow:

Huffine Hollow Map

Huffine Hollow Map

Spruce Run and its associated hollows is probably the prettiest unknown section of Hocking Hills and I hike there a lot. The place is generally known only by the horsemen who use the bridle trails there.

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On Monday I took an 8-mile hike down at Zaleski State Forest/Lake Hope State Park. I wanted to take a look at some of the recess caves I knew were in the area, and that required quite a bit of bushwhacking. I ended up doing about 2 miles of bushwhacking. The caves were on either side of Lake Ridge Road, and this shows some of my bushwhacking route:

Lake Hope Bushwhacking Route

Lake Hope Bushwhacking Route (Click for larger context)

I started on the east side and then headed (mostly) west up and over the top of the ridge. The caves are at points 1 and 2.

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Queer Creek

If you take any of the organized hikes in Hocking Hills State Park, the naturalists will tell you how Queer Creek got its name. Queer Creek is the major stream that runs through the park; it’s the one that goes over the falls at Cedar Falls. As you continue downstream, the Gorge Trail turns to the right to head up Old Man’s Creek to Old Man’s Cave, but Queer Creek itself continues ahead to where it joins Salt Creek. The creek near Ash Cave is not Queer Creek itself, but is the East Fork of Queer Creek (and on older maps it is called “Feed Rock Fork”).

Anyways, back to the name. (more…)

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What’s Wrong with Salt Creek?

I’ve been having fun lately looking a bit at the geology and topographic maps of southeastern Ohio. Earlier, in Great Sealer’s Ghost!, I showed a color-coded elevation map. Well, I have here another one showing more of the highlands east of the Scioto River between Circleville and Chillicothe.

[Yes, I know that calling them "highlands" is a bit presumptuous. But this is Ohio after all, and "high" in Ohio is a lot different than "high" in Colorado. In this case, the "mountains" in the Great Seal region "tower" over Chillicothe by a full 650 feet.]

Anyways, here’s the color-coded map east of the Scioto:

Highlands east of the Scioto River near Chillicothe

Highlands east of the Scioto River near Chillicothe

Take a moment and guess where the rivers and streams run. What is the drainage pattern?

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