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Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

Vacation pushed Pilates to the wayside this week in favor of hiking. My family and I enjoyed four days at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. Ash Cave was the first stop, with the easy half-mile hike back to this large sandstone overhang once inhabited by Native Americans. The fifty-degree-plus weather contributed to the rushing waterfall of ice and snowmelt, dropping over a hundred feet to the floor of the gorge. Our next stop was Cedar Falls, named for the hemlock trees mistaken for cedar. Icicle curtains hung from the sandstone cliffs like glacier-colored stalactites.

Tuesday's trek consisted of a six-mile loop from the Old Man's Cave trail past Rose Lake Dam to Cedar Falls, then back to the Lower Falls at Old Man's Cave. After a late lunch we hiked the Old Man's Cave trail. Parts of the Gorge Trail were so treacherous from ice, we had to backtrack and reroute around those areas, but the numerous falls and natural ice sculptures mad for some breathtaking pictures.

The most rugged trails took most of Wednesday. Because of dangerous conditions, the rim trail at Conkles Hollow was closed. The gorge trail led us through the deep narrow fog-filled valley. Huge ice curtains hung from the cliffs, with runoff creating waterfalls to join the stream at the base of the gorge. Rock House and Cantwell Cliffs, my personal favorites, had us improvising in several places where fallen trees blocked our paths. Rock falls and erosion had also damaged bridges and stone steps in a few spots. Half the fun was forging our way along the steep boulder-strewn sides of the valleys to find a new way to the existing trails.

Thursday, our last day, we packed up and checked out of the cabin. Before heading home, we made another stop at Old Man's Cave. The difference a couple of days of warm weather made was amazing. The river had gone down at least six inches. Many of the ice curtains had melted or fallen. We were even able to hike the sections of the trail that had impassible. I can't wait to go back this summer!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!


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