Huge icicles draping cliff edges.
Four years ago we participated in our first winter hike – 6 miles from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave with a small group of approximately 5,500 people. There was snow and ice on the ground and the temperature was just below freezing. It was awesome! We’ve been hooked on winter hiking ever since.
Parking area for Zaleski State Forest.
At 26,827 acres, Zaleski State Forest is the second only to Shawnee State Forest in size. Located in Ohio within Vinton and Athens counties, this region was in the vanguard of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Besides mining coal and iron ore, local residents cut down huge swaths of forest to produce charcoal for the region’s many furnaces where iron workers cast pig iron.
A field in Boch Hollow
The parks and preserves in the Hocking Hills area are great destinations for the outdoor enthusiast. We’ve hiked them all – Hocking State Park, Conkle’s Hollow, Rock Bridge, Wahkeena, Boch Hollow. Wait … Boch Hollow?
“Battleship Rock” immediately ahead on this side of the creek
“The Three Sisters” are three slump blocks that lie beyond it on the other of the creek.
In early September we visited Highlands Nature Sanctuary near Bainbridge, Ohio. The sanctuary is operated by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System. The sanctuary consists of over 2000 acres of land between Rocky Fork State Park and Paint Creek State Park. The main location contains a museum, three hiking trails, and several cabins that visitors can rent. We stayed at a cabin perched on a ledge overlooking the Rocky Creek gorge.
Riders and horses just inside the entrance of Chapel Cave.
Chapel Cave is a large chapel-shaped, recess cave located off a bridle trail in the Hocking State Forest. The cave is also known as Twenty One Horses Cave because it is reputed to be big enough to hold 21 horses (with their riders).
One sunny day this summer we decided to visit Balanced Rock (also known as “Table Top Rock“). I’d seen pictures of it many times, but had never been there.
Standing on the airplane’s wing, looking at its nose.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. We stood on top of a rock outcropping shaped like an airplane overlooking Crane Hollow far below. From our vantage point, we had a magnificent view of the forest valley and hillsides miles away.
Conkle’s Hollow is a narrow gorge with breathtaking cliffs rising on either side; the cliffs are made of Blackhand sandstone and are quite sheer in places, the taller ones reaching up to 200 feet in height. Seasonal waterfalls flow from the cliffs at many sites, their streams joining to form Pine Creek on the valley floor.
A mother raccoon teaches the kids to forage under the bird feeder. This was photographed while looking out of the window of the Nature Center.
Blacklick Woods Metro Parks is located in Reynoldsburg, an eastern suburb of Columbus. This 634 acre park has hiking, jogging, and bicycle trails, an abundance of picnic tables and shelters, playgrounds, a golf course, and a nature center.
Posted in Central Ohio, Nature
Tagged "Fairfield County", "Franklin County", "handicap accessible", Blacklick, butterflies, cycling, hiking, jogging, Park Review, wildflowers
A mature tree towering above the surrounding canopy.
This nature preserve features old growth forest and hilly terrain. Set in the middle of an agricultural region, it’s a peaceful area with one of the best wooded lots in the vicinity. There are two trails at the park: Conrad Trail (1.4 miles) and the Short Loop Trail (0.6 miles). The trail seemed well maintained; although, there was a portion of the trail that was quite narrow making it difficult to pass without touching the surrounding vegetation. The preserve’s official site states that you can have a summer’s walk in Davey Woods without being troubled by mosquitoes and that seems to be a truthful claim. While I was there a jogger was taking advantage of the packed dirt trail.
Here’s a sample of what you can see from the trail.