Among the trails available at Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest, there is one called “Watch Rock.” If you look at the official map, there is a side trail to a “starred” feature that itself is called “Watch Rock”. Since we were unable to find a description of what “Watch Rock” was, we could only guess. We figured it was a rocky promontory overlooking a scenic vista, but of course we didn’t know for sure. To add to the mystery, during a previous hike we reached the end of the Watch Rock trail without ever seeing the side trail. So this spring we decided to give it another try.
From late February and through the end of March salamanders migrate to their breeding sites. Many amphibian species only breed in vernal pools. Such pools form during the winter, remain throughout the spring, then dry up in the summer. Since the water does not remain in the pool year-long, fish cannot live in them. This means that amphibian eggs, larvae, and/or tadpoles will not be eaten up by fish.
In this post we describe a hike that begins at the parking lot that used to service the dining lodge. Initially we follow the Hemlock Bridge Trail. There is an optional hike on a spur trail that leads to Whispering Cave. However, in this post we instead continue on until we reach Hemlock Bridge. After crossing the bridge we follow the Grandma Gatewood Trail to the Old Man’s Cave region. After exploring this area, we retrace our steps back to where we parked. The round-trip hike is 4.2 miles.
We participated in the 53rd Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike on Saturday. This was our eighth time participating in this winter hike that runs from Old Man’s Cave to Rose Lake, Cedar Falls, and ends at Ash Cave for a total distance of 6.5 miles. A bus returns participants to the starting point.
I am reluctant to go hiking when the high temperature for the day is a single digit, so that’s really put a crimp in our hiking plans for this winter. However we took advantage of a warm spell last week to book a couple nights at the lodge at Mohican State Park. Once there we did one of our favorite hikes that took us by Little Lyons Falls and Big Lyons Falls on the west side of Clear Fork with the return route following along the creek on the opposite side. As a reward for finally getting outside this winter, we got to see the beautiful ice column below.
The day after Thanksgiving Bob and I decided to hike to Arch Rock, one of Ohio’s 80 or so natural arches. A natural arch is simply a hole through a rock outcropping that was produced by erosion. In some cases, the hole isn’t that big. However Ohio does have a number of arches that are big enough for a person to stand beneath the arch with room to spare. Arch Rock is one of these larger arches. It has a 9.7-foot span with 8.25 feet of clearance.
Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve is one of the more interesting geological sites in Ohio. There are six fault lines in Adams County. Surprisingly, one of these fault lines is visible within the preserve. In addition Adams County is one of the few places in Ohio where you can observe rock outcroppings made of dolomite (sometimes called dolostone). Dolomite and limestone are both said to be calcareous due to their high calcium content, and both are alkaline. They even resemble each other visually. However unlike limestone, dolomite has a high magnesium content. The alkaline, magnesium-rich soil found in Davis Memorial supports 15 species of plant that are rarely found in our state which makes it interesting to naturalists.
The boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park is one of my favorites in the state. When we are checking out various parks and preserves in the northwest corner of Ohio, we often stay at the lodge in Maumee Bay. And despite having hiked for much of day, about 40 to 45 minutes before dusk we will head out to the boardwalk for an evening stroll. More times than not, we will see wildlife not far from the boardwalk.
On August 19th we went on a train excursion via the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The railroad line runs north-south through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The proprietors offer a variety of excursions. We chose the National Park Scenic Excursion, which is a three-hour, round-trip tour of the park.
After stopping at a rest area while traveling westbound on OH-2, we were surprised to see a sign announcing a “Scenic Overlook.”