Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hiking in Hocking Hills

 Above: Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park. Photo by OHventures.

Hocking Hills State Park (office)
19852 State Route 664 S
Logan, Ohio 43138

Hiking is the most primitive of all adventures. It plucks you from the everyday hustle and bustle of city and suburban life. The sea of concrete, the skyscraper jungle and the sounds of honking horns are replaced with flowing rivers, forests of greenery and the sounds of birds and other animals in nature. It's a breath of fresh air - both literally and figuratively - to get out and hike. And while there are many different types of hikes with different levels of difficulty and different scenery, the crown jewel of hiking in Ohio belongs to Hocking Hills State Park located  in the Southeastern Ohio city of Logan in Hocking County.

Some people may wonder what the fascination is with hiking. They wonder why anyone would want to go out in the middle of nowhere, get dirty, sweaty and tired just to simply walk. But hiking is much more than just walking. When I think of "walking," I think of it as a necessary means of transportation to get from one point of interest to another. When you hike, it is an experience in and of itself; an experience that is good for the body, mind and spirit the whole way through. In other words, hiking is walking because we want to, not because we have to.

Getting out and enjoying what God has created and seeing the parts of Earth untouched by man (as far as industry and construction are concerned) is truly one of the finer things in life. In addition to treating your eyes to beautiful sights, you are also treating your body to a fantastic workout!

Hiking also requires little to no "equipment" per se (depending on the enormity of the hike) and is free of charge (aside from the tank of gas you spend to get to where you're going). The drive is 100% worth it when it comes to Hocking Hills State Park. I have gone a number of times just to hike in the area. There are many trails throughout the park that vary in difficulty, but most any novice hiker can get through the hike with ease. Honestly, the biggest risk I had when I went hiking was when a deer jumped out in front of my car (no harm...just quite a scare). So, while I may scare some people away talking about skydiving and canoeing, hiking should prove much more appealing to the masses!

There are 4 "sections" in Hocking Hills State Park. These include: Ash Cave (pictured above) & Cedar Falls, Old Man's Cave, Rock House, and Cantwell Cliffs. They are all based on rock formations that are so unique, you can't find anything like it in the rest of Ohio. Waterfalls, stone stairways, cliffs, and even what is referred to as the "Devil's Bathtub" are just some of the highlights.

This scenic hike was not strenuous at all, so it was perfect to pack a light backpack of snacks and water and soak in the scenery to clear your mind. The trail is also marked, as it is owned and maintained by the state, and there are plenty of other tourists at any given time (no 127 Hours business here!).

If you haven't treated yourself yet, join the hundreds of thousands of people who travel to Hocking Hills each year and give it a shot. You will leave feeling refreshed and revitalized with a smile on your face - I can guarantee it!

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