Last week was full of nice days, so I finally got out to do a nice barefoot bushwhacking hike at Cantwell Cliffs. I spent some time exploring again in the Henley Hollow area north of the main park area.
That’s a lot easier when the leaves aren’t on the trees yet.
I’ve had a bit of trouble getting “lost” in Henley Hollow. Not really lost, but not particularly finding one of the little side canyons I wanted to take a look at. Here’s the map of my previous excursions; you can see that one western lobe that is unexplored.
One of the problems down there is that the trees and brush are pretty thick, so it’s hard to get a decent lay of the land. Along with that, the valley bottom is somewhat broad, and it turns out that the little creeks don’t quite do what one expects them to do.
I finally figured that out last week, when without all the leaves and underbrush I was able to see just how the creeks had misled me in the past.
On the following map, I really massaged the LiDAR data I use to make my maps to make the streams show up. Instead of the usual 10-foot contour, I tried to do a 2-foot contour, find the creeks that way, and them superimpose them on the regular map.
You can see what’s weird. The creeks in the northwest lobe run parallel to each other for quite a ways. I’d never noticed that and kept confusing one for the other.
Anyways, that map also shows the path that I ended up hiking. My goal was to go take a look at that feature I’ve marked with a “S”. If you are not familiar with topographic maps, whenever the lines get close together like that, it’s a sign of some sort of really steep feature. In Hocking Hills that’s always worth taking a look at.
I took my usual route in, which descends along the nose of a small ridge. That’s at point “P” on the map. It had a fun jumble of rocks to descend, barefooted, upon. Here that is looking back up after descent.
I then kept going down into the hollow and got a good look at how two creeks joined. Even that was a bit different from what I’d expected, with the main channel being the one coming from the southwest, not the one directly from the west.
Heading up the other side, the north face of the hollow, I made a panoramic (stitched) shot. This picture is taken at around point “Q”.
Click on it for the large version.
On the far right you can see the rock outcropping marked with “R” on the map. The sky is just visible through the leafless trees. You should also be able to see the bit of bowl-shaped drainage going on.
Finally, if you notice just a bit of a green tinge near the ground, those are green briars. They prefer a bit of sunshine, so you’ll generally find them on north slopes where they get a southern exposure. Keep those in mind for the final two pictures I’ll show you.
Here’s the rock face at “R”.
It’s pretty standard for what you’ll see in Hocking Hills, except those cracks have one-foot gaps in. If one were a rock-climber (and I’m not), one could probably climb those.
From there I waded through the green briars over the top of the ridge and found the feature I was looking for at “S”. Here’s the approach.
It had a nice little trickle of water coming down. Here I ramped down the exposure time on my camera (1/400 sec) to show that they were all individual drops.
There was also a rather interesting feature at the top.
That’s a bit reminiscent of Vulture Point. However, I didn’t climb up to see what it looked like from the side. Maybe next time I’m in that area.
As I left along its little stream, I took a picture looking back.
Once the leaves get on the trees you won’t be able to see the subtle topography of the rocks and streams.
Of course spring wildflowers were popping up. Here’s a few of the ones I saw along my way.
First, a rue anemone.
The may apples were just emerging from their wintertime sleeps.
So were the ferns; fiddleheads are always fun to look at.
Trilliums (trillia?) also make their appearance this time of year. They all weren’t blooming yet, but a few early risers were up.
And finally, here’s a yellow violet (and why aren’t there any violet yellows?).
Here I am (or at least part of me), doing the stream crossing on my way back.
Yes, you are seeing blood. Remember those green briars I mentioned earlier. Did I mention that they have nasty thorns?
The funny thing is, the soles of my feet were just fine, it’s only the tops that got scratched by the thorns. And it wasn’t just the tops of my feet—my legs got it too.
Anybody who says I should have been wearing shoes to keep the tops of my feet unscratched should also, I suppose, say I should have been wearing long pants. It’s just that shorts are considered much more “normal” and if I’d been wearing shoes and shorts, the scratches on my legs would have been considered just part of what happens when you bushwhack.
It turns out I was traveling really light for this hike. I left behind my fanny pack and my hiking stick. Normally, I use my hiking stick to push aside green briars, but this time I mainly had to wade on through, hence the scratches.
They heal up just fine; no big deal (and in fact as I write this most
of the scabs have already fallen off).
In the end, it was a great hike. The total distance wasn’t much—just about 2¼ miles. But bushwhacking usually is pretty slow.