I’m laying in our hotel room sipping hot coffee, just changed into dry clothes after a soaking wet morning/afternoon on Cumberland Island. It was so beautiful, but rained the whooollllle time and I came back a bit chilled. It’s been so nice to be away from Michigan. I’m afraid school homework (why oh why are papers assigned over spring break?)+summer job worries have trailed along with me, but they are not going to ruin my trip. Backing up a little, this is what’s been happening.
Woke up at 4:45 and left around 5, we make it to Ohio in time to fit a few hikes in.
Our first treck was to a hard to find (Southern signage is lacking!) but super pretty hike to a place called Rockbridge. It’s one of the largest natural bridge formations in Ohio and is over 100 feet long.
Entrance to the hiking trail. It was an easy hike in.
First one of these signs we saw…. The first of MANY!
Found it! One thing I loved about the parks in Ohio is that they are very “hands on”" (or feet-on, I guess!) Not a lot of guard rails and boardwalks. Hopefully people will respect the areas and they won’t have to protect them further.
I was surprised to see trilliums, one of our Michigan flowers, here.
Eep, no makeup!
Next, we drove to Cantwell Cliffs. Wow. Just Wow. I had no idea there were such amazing (and HUGE!) rock formations in Ohio.
Instead of concrete steps there were stone steps throughout the area. The blended right in with the natural formations and just enhanced the other-worldly feel.
There’s my little brother, Mark. He’s 17 and his head is full of dirt bikes. When it’s not filled with dirt bikes it’s filled with snowmobiles. He’s also 6’2, and even with him in the photo you really can’t tell the scale of these ginormous rocks.
We hiked further in, and around the corner was this:
Amazing. Note 6’2 brother on the middle-left side of the photo. I wanted a fish eye lens sooooo bad so I could have captured this magnificent sight! This first day I only used my crummy little kit lens, because we did some more intense hiking and I didn’t want to haul the wide-angle zoom and my 50mm just wasn’t gonna cut it. Time for some new lenses for sure. ;)We hiked around the rim of the canyon (photo above), this is me on the edge, looking down about fifty plus feet. Like I said, Ohio is awesome. No guardrails, nada. They give you a big “CAUTION CLIFF AREA” sign and assume you are a responsible human being and let you go.
Looking down into the canyon.
After those two hikes, we drove to our cottage at the Hocking Hills State Park. Nothing fancy, but simple and clean.
*woops, update! We did three hikes! Last but not least we went to “Rock House”, a cave formation in Hocking Hills.
Red Bud Trees. I didn’t name them. I know they are purple.
After a short hike, we reached the cave.
It was fascinating to look at the names and dates carved in the walls! This was one of the oldest I saw, 1888. I like to think about what it would have been like back then, to be some of the first (european-descent) people to find these formations and explore them. THe boys and I agreed that this area would be rather precarious for a rowdy game of capture the flag…. You would never guess from the view driving, or even a few yards off, that the forests contain such huge cliffs and caverns!
As you exit “Rock House”, you see another huge cliff in front of you! It was like around every corner was something new and bigger.
On the hike back we saw this beautifully constructed rock bridge. They have built a wooden pedestrian bridge over top to preserve it, you can see how thin it is.
Now that really is the end of day 1.
I’ll be posting Day 2 soon!