Old Man's Day Hike

9:42 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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Good grief it was hot today. Still, gotta use the days off. The office was closed today, so I made for a day hike I've had to put off for weeks.

The Gandma Gatewood trail was named for the first woman to solo the AT. Being an Ohio native, Emma Rowena Gatewood loved the Hocking region, making her an obvious choice for the namesake of this picturesque trail. We meander down an active creek which cuts a deep chasm through the Earth, at times exceeding 100 feet deep. The cliffs and overhangs expose layers of sandstone while boulders the size of dump trucks litter the trail for miles. We begin in a cave, Old Man's Cave.

So, a gorge has to start somewhere. In this case the creek that runs through the length of the gorge descends a series of waterfalls, some more spectacular than others. Starting at the top, obviously enough, are the Upper Falls.

The trail through this area isn't very rugged, with stairs and bridges constructed for accessibility. The hike down is fairly easy, though I take pause exiting a tunnel cut into the rock after catching a glimpse of several bats napping on the roof inches over my head! Moving on...

The Lower Falls are the largest falls in the immediate area. As you can see so far, there isn't much flow this late in the season. In the Spring they are much more vigorous.

It's at this point that the trail settles in for 2 miles of around, up and over large Hemlock tree roots and the aforementioned boulders. Then you come upon this place.

Cedar Falls is named such because the early settlers here thought the region was home to cedar trees. Well, there isn't a cedar tree in the entire gorge, they're all hemlock. Unfortunate naming aside, this waterfall is the most active waterfall in the state forest. Here in Summer it's little more than a trickle but it comes to life in the Spring. I was lucky to get this shot I might add. The holiday brought droves of people to the falls today.

My father, my hiking companion for the day, shown in reference to the size of the falls. Not the best perspective since he's still far from them, but it hints at the rock formation's size. The cave halfway up the waterfall, to its right, is large enough to stand...not that people are permitted in that area.

One final note to this trip. As I mentioned, it was hot. Damned hot, and humid too. I guzzled water all morning, well over 2 liters, and still managed to get sick on this 6 mile round-trip. I'll be the first to confess that I pressed myself well beyond my own safe limits, and I learned an important lesson today. I need to better listen to my body and its warnings. By the time we returned to the car I was flirting dangerously with heat stroke; symptoms including impaired vision, nausea, loss of equilibrium, you all know the drill. I should say that I'm nothing more than lucky to have stayed out of the hospital. Still, the trip was at least a partial success and I'm happy with the photos I got. I'm just a little less eager to hit the trail weather-be-damned than perhaps I was leading up to today, and that has to be a good thing.

10:20 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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Nice pictures and trip description, nice falls where is that at along the AT?

10:31 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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That looks like a really cool area, I'm glad you and your dad got to get out and enjoy it!

Handling the heat is something you get used to the more you do it, but be careful out there we want more trip reports from you!

10:59 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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This actually isn't part of the AT, sorry if I didn't make that clear. It's part of the Buckeye Trail in Ohio. The region is called Hocking Hills:



I'd imagine that you have little choice but to endure the humidity where you live. I've not had trouble like this before in over a decade of hiking, but these things do happen. Glad you enjoyed the report!

11:03 a.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Is that waterfall area Granite or Limestone? You say one can stand in that cave up in the cliff? I have heard of Hocking Hills, somewhere I can't remember where tho. I have'nt been in Ohio since 1977 when I hitchhiked 8000 miles that summer when I was 21 and a greenhorn on the road my first time.

12:06 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Those are great pictures! It looks very serene. I guess there are pretty places beyond the Pacific Northwest. Now I have to rearrange my regional prejudices. More travel for me is deffinately in order.

12:11 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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The cave is tall enough to stand in, but you'd need rapelling equipment and a distaste for legal authorities to reach it. The rock is actually blackhand sandstone:


Being Christian I don't agree with their explanation of its origins, but also at the link is information about its composition and physical properties. It's a remarkable material, rare and unique.

1:24 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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I'll go ahead and add that my long-overdue profile picture is of me standing at the bottom of Old Man's Cave. The sandstone face hanging over my head is 75 up and juts out from the cliff face another 75 feet horizontally.

7:01 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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So you still believe the world is only about 6000 years old by what the bible says?

8:21 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Ut Oh!

I will keep my comments on the age of the earth limited. I have seen many dinosaur tracks in exposed rock and know the earth is billions of years old. I believe some things need to be given a grain of salt to believe. The time line in the bible is one.

That is not to say that the bible is wrong but part of it is just a fantasy.

To disregard dinosaurs and carbon dating is to me against logical sense.

8:59 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Personally I think the whole bible is fantasy. It was okay for primative man with little knowledge of the world around him to think that something like a God could have made it. But as you say the dinosaurs and places like the Grand Canyon didnt happen in the last 6000 years.

2:48 p.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
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Wether you believe that the amazing scenery in the trip report is the product of vast, unfathomable time and random chance or the product of intelligent design I think we all agree that that trip was into some amazing country! What a blessing to have such beautiful places to visit!

April 24, 2018
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