Hocking Hills Winter Hike

After our visit in West Virginia with a daughter and her family, we headed west toward home. At the end of day one of our drive, we stayed overnight in Logan, OH. It is near Hocking Hills State Park. The next morning we planned to hike a couple of trails in that park before continuing our drive toward Iowa.

Overnight a light snow had fallen. The car needed to be brushed off. We drove out of Logan on a snow-covered county road about 10 miles southwest. At the park headquarters, we parked next to the only other car in the lot. The driver said he had been here many times. He was getting his camera gear ready. We asked his advice on the trail we were going to take to Old Man’s Cave before we departed in opposite directions.

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Signs were posted about the dangers of ice and falls in the park. This was going to be a little more challenging than we originally thought.

Our plan was to visit the headquarters, view a map, and use the restrooms. The building was closed. A map was posted on the door. Portable toilets were available nearby. The snow was falling steadily, but still light. We went down the stairs toward the deep gorge visible at the bottom. Part way down we stopped to take in the view and talk about safely walking on snow-covered icy trails and stone steps.

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The trail went farther into the gorge. A sign gave us the choice of going upstream or down. We headed downstream toward Old Man’s Cave. The cave seemed to be lit, giving an other-worldly glow. The source was the opening above, the grey winter light brightening even under the rock ledge.

After hiking the trail to Old Man’s Cave, we drove four miles south to another location called Ash Cave. Unlike the Old Man’s trail, which was quite slippery and required close attention so we didn’t fall, the Ash Cave trail was level and wheelchair-accessible in good weather. That day, there was snow on it. But it was not at all treacherous.

Under the ledge of the cave we found a sandy, beach-like surface. Again the light from above created a glow, reminding us of a scene from Journey to the Center of the Earth.

This short video will help give a different perspective to the cave. It only takes a minute.

While at Ash Cave, four park workers were removing ice from a set of stairs that took visitors to the top of the cave overhang. People could then hike back along the rim. We chose not to try that. So far, we had not fallen. No point in pushing our luck. We headed back to the car feeling good about our winter visit to this beautiful place.

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26 thoughts on “Hocking Hills Winter Hike

  1. aFrankAngle

    Ice is always scary … but wow … you were that close to me! I grew up about an hour south of Hocking Hills! … Where were you in WV? Wonderful pics!!!! Go back in the spring, summer, or fall.

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      It was a different kind of fun. We are both very sure footed. We also hike with trekking poles for added balance. But, this added a dimension that made us go slower and take more care. We didn’t hike up high on the rims. But, one spot could have dunked us into a couple of feet of icy water. We are glad we did it.

      Thank you for stopping by today.

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  2. Pingback: Hocking Hills Winter Hike | A fork in the road

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      It was a special experience. I said to Melanie today that is was a good thing we were there on Tuesday and not today. The area got up to 2″ of rain yesterday. The stream would be raging and the trails mud. What a difference.

      Thank you for your kind words. Come again.

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      As I said above to Bluebird Annie, the recent rains would make the park a wholly different experience. Not sure that would be very good either.

      This visit was absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for stopping in and for your remarks.

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  3. shoreacres

    So beautiful. It’s been a good while since I’ve seen icicles of any sort, and even longer since I’ve seen the kind that make you forget how cold it is. I can’t say I’d want to live again in the land of ice and snow, but your photos and description surely do make me want to revisit it.

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      Thank you. Our timing was good, though by seredipity (sp). Four days later, the park was hit with 2″ of heavy rain.

      Merry Christmas to you. Have a fun time with it.

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  4. Steve Gingold

    Glad you enjoyed the place without any problems. I’ve seen a lot of images from Hocking Hills and it seems a wonderful spot to explore. The video does a great job of showing what it is like there…and sounds like. Did you get the name of the other photographer?
    I recently did a short video of the waterfall we’ve been discussing. I got it uploaded to Facebook, but haven’t figured out how to get it from my phone to the blog.

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      We didn’t get the name of the other photographer.

      I am still using an old cell phone that has no camera and isn’t smart. So, the video problem is not something I have any insight into. Do you have a youtube account through google? I send videos to youtube, then to the blog. But, they first are downloaded from my camera to the desktop.

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      1. Steve Gingold

        I probably should register and use YouTube. I can’t figure out how to get the image from my phone to my desktop so that may be the easier route.
        I just asked as I “know” 3 or 4 photographers who go there often.

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