Saturday in Hocking Hills

This time we came to the US for two months at the beginning of March. It was so cold that we almost did not travel and concentrated on studies. We undertook our first trip only in the middle of March, and went to Hocking Hills – a state park an hour and a half away from Columbus. You can reach it only by car, as it usually happens in the US. The day was sunny, although a day before wind had broken several trees next to our house:
IMG_4747In Ohio State University, they constantly instruct us on what to do if tornado starts. The last serious tornado took place in Columbus couple of years ago, however, Ohio in general is frequently hit by tornados. Every Wednesday afternoon at 12 they turn on a practice alert partially to remind you where you live. Once in November it was raining as hell, the wind was very strong, and Vitya was in the shop while I was at home, scared to death. Suddenly they started an alarm (not for practice any more), and my tablet even notified me (not through e-mails, just on the desktop – I still wonder how and why) – about tornado and the necessity to hide in the cellar. I was really scared, and Vitya was not coming back. The manager of the house where we lived just smiled: is it true tornado? No worries at all!

But let’s come back to our trip. The name of the park Hocking Hills derives from the longer name for the river Hockhocking (‘a bottleneck’), as local Indians called it: the river becomes narrow next to Lancaster. The park has a lot of hiking and biking trails:

We started with the Old Man’s Cave:

This old man was a hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the cave in 1800s. This is his story: once there lived two brothers – Richard and David. David was a pilot and Richard had a family business before he decided to become a hermit. Since then, living in Hocking Hills, he almost did not meet his family members, and once they were looking for him for three years and already thought he was dead. Nevertheless, one day Richard decided to visit his brother, and when he reached his house, he found out that David had died, and his family remained poor. Richard wanted to help by bringing his savings kept in the cave, but on his way trying to break the ice with his musket, occasionally shot himself. He was later found and buried somewhere in the park, still nobody knows where.

So that is where Richard Rowe lived and walked:



The cave itself is more of a shed than an indoor space, so it is not quite clear how one would live there.

The route “Old Man’s Cave” is in the lower park, the sun does not really reach it, that is why in March all is icy. We were partially feeling like the heroes of Richard’s story: the path was slippery and even dangerous, taking into account that we did not bring proper shoes to the US, and the boots are not the best choice in such circumstances.

After the bridge we reached the waterfall: what a beauty! Pika agreed:

The route then goes along the river:



We came across the tree – a monument to love of the couple of vandals:

Stalactites, stalagmites and stalagnates of ice were everywhere:

That is how they are formed:




By the way, this is also a waterfall, it is said that in summer it is especially beautiful: butterflies fly around under the sun. There were plenty of path surfaces on the way, but all of them had arrows:


Soon we were rewarded by another waterfall – Cedar Falls. Actually, there are no cedars around: the first-comers just took hemlocks growing here for cedars. In the 19th century they also built a mill on the waterfall.

And this is an artificial lake created for recreation and park water supply:

We went back to the parking lot through the upper park: the path was dry, even, and easy – for dummies. But there is also not much to see there.
We spent about five hours in the park, it was a great rest. The US is certainly huge and can afford numerous parks like that with multiple landscapes in every state. Many other countries should learn from it: state or national park is a great rest and recreation!

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