I don’t go hiking at Tar Hollow all that often—nothing against it; there are just other parks closer to me. But I was there last week only to discover that my maps were having a bit of trouble directing me.
Many are aware that my main website has an area dedicated to Southeast Ohio Hiking Area. These are all maps that I created myself, using the topographic maps available at Libre Map. Their maps are available on a Creative Commons License, which is great for someone like me who is not trying to profit from them, but just using them to make information available to others.
To create my maps I have to straighten and stitch together the Libre Maps. I then add onto them the trails, using a variety of techniques. For many of Ohio’s State Parks or State Forests, there are official maps put out by the State. These are good to show the general locations of the trails, but for my maps I do go farther.
I always hike the trails . . . and there are a lot of them. Unsurprisingly (to those who know me), I also hike them barefoot. Every single one of them (often multiple times). When I hike them, particularly the first few times, I keep careful track of the topography. Am I on a ridgetop? If I am ascending a valley, which valley am I heading up (and there are a lot of them in the valley and ridge topography of southeastern Ohio)? Am I on the side of the ridge?
While I do not guarantee the absolute accurateness of the maps, I do know that they are pretty darn close.
No, I do not use GPS. Aside from the fact that I’m a bit too cheap to get such a device, that also takes some of the fun out of doing the mapping. It’s an interesting puzzle and intellectual challenge to get them right. I’d also add that I started making these maps long before decent GPS had come out. Back then the locations given could be hundreds of feet off from their true locations. My ground-proofing was much better than that.
Anyways, all of that is introduction to noting that sometimes the trail locations get changed and the trails re-routed. Usually, as far as I can tell, it’s because logging has taken place and they are trying to hide that from the hikers. (Okay, you could also say that they are trying to preserve the natural experience.) By the way, the logging takes place not in the State Parks, but in the State Forests that often surround the State Parks.
That means that my maps get out of date. Sometimes I just don’t know about the change; other times I do know about the change but am too lazy to change my maps quickly enough. And there are other times when an official path gets re-routed but I’m not to quick in removing the old path. (You’ll notice that, for instance, on my map for Hocking Hills with the Buckeye Trail from Cedar Falls to Ash Cave. Over the years the old, unused route has become pretty-much impassable, but I haven’t managed to remove it from my map yet.)
When I was in Tar Hollow last week I discovered that the Buckeye Trail had been re-routed there, too. The area of the re-route was southeast of the fire tower. You can see the old paths on this map:
[Click on the map for a larger, more readable, version.]
The Buckeye Trail is marked in slate blue. (On all my maps I try to show the Buckey Trail with slate blue, since that is the color of its distinctive blazes.) Also, in red, is the Chief Logan Trail (built and maintained by the Boy Scouts).
And here is the new map:
They completely moved the Buckeye Trail off of the top of that ridge, and made it coincident with the Chief Logan Trail, which uses the next ridge to the west followed by using the valley. Notice the stippling color of the coincident trail.
There was also a change in where the South(east) Loop of the Chief Logan Trail leaves the fire tower. It used to head due south; now it follows the North Loop of the Chief Logan Trail for just a bit.
So what happened on the other ridge that made them move the Buckeye Trail. Logging. You can see the large gash where they put in a road.
This also affected the North Loop of the Chief Logan Trail. (It’s pretty disgusting, and awful to try to walk on barefoot because they laid down some very large chipped limestone.)
On my new map, you can see I drew in the new logging road in a dark gray. The older unused part is in green, but I have not tried to hike it—I’m just guessing that it’s still there. I don’t think anybody would want to hike it anyways.
There was also a (somewhat) minor re-route of the South Loop of the Chief Logan Trail on the west side near Butcher Hollow. There are nice new trail guides posted at intervals along the Chief Logan Trail. While they show the Butcher Hollow change, they do not show this new Buckeye Trail re-route.
Finally, if you go to the Tar Hollow section of my maps page, you’ll see all of the new maps. There are a few other changes, too. First, they maps are slightly larger. The old size was 900×650 (resolution of 96 pixels/inch). But I found I could fit a bit more onto an 8½x11 sheet of paper, so the new size is 960×720, which still leaves a decent margin. Second, I added in the scale for all of those maps. That makes things a bit easier when you’re hiking along and wondering how far you still have to go.
Eventually I hope to make this changes on all of my maps. But it won’t happen for a while, so don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your hiking (whether barefoot or not).