Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hocking Hills- Day 2

We slept in a little today, this being a vacation and all. We ate a small breakfast, packed up the gear and headed out for Old Man's Cave. Several years ago, I had been to the Hocking Hills with my family, so I was pretty sure I'd been here, but didn't remember much. We decided to hike to the cave and then on to Cedar Falls, a different section of the park, have a picnic lunch, and then back to the car. This should have been about 3 miles. (Yes I said "should have been.") Old Man's Cave seems to be one of the most popular portions of the park, with lots of parking, a big visitors center, and lots of stone bridges. We were glad to have hiked here on Friday, when we drove through on the following Saturday and saw the crowds. We hiked down into the cave, always being careful of the knee of course, and then back towards the upper end of the gorge to see this cool bridge:

Cool bridge

Then we went around again, through the cave and on towards the lower falls. We made a slight wrong turn and found a place where the trail had been decimated by falling rock, and had to turn back. The intrepid husband wanted to blaze a trail on through, but I thought that a bit unsound seeing as we had a kid in a backpack, a dog on a leash and an invalid mommy with a bum knee. He said I was a wuss. I said tough luck.

We paused for a bit at the lower falls, and I spotted a family from my old library in Stow. I didn't introduce myself, as I'm sure they didn't remember me. Kate enjoyed the beach.

Upper Falls, Old Man's Cave

At the lower falls we met a couple who said the trail to Cedar Falls was somewhat longer than advertised. Our energy was flagging and we thought it best to turn back. Then, we missed a turn and ended up going on toward Cedar Falls anyway. At this point an unkind person might point out that we own two, count them two, GPS systems and both can read, so how the heck did we mistake three trails in two days. An unkind person might point that out, but I'm sure you are not unkind.

It became clear after a mile, that we were, in fact, on our way to Cedar Falls, which, you may remember was the original plan, so in accordance with our standard operating procedure (never admit you are wrong and never admit you are tired) we pushed on. The trail was fairly tame compared to others we encountered, with only a few ups and downs over trees and roots, but when we checked the GPS and found we had gone 2 miles and seemed no nearer our destination, we decided to turn back. Kate complained a bit that her rear hurt, so we got her out of the backpack to walk, and then stopped at a small bench for lunch. Kate only dropped 1/4 of her sandwich on the ground, (and let's be honest, if we had waited for her to finish, we'd still be there) so we threw it to the fish and continued back. Then, it started to thunder. Have I left out the part where the weather forecast said scattered showers? Well they were scattered over us. We got soaked. Seriously soaked. Kate was unhappy until I gave her a hat to keep the raindrops off her face, and then seemed to accept the situation. We passed several groups of people who had found a dry spot and were waiting out the storm, but standing still is not our way. We pressed on through the downpour, me using an umbrella as a walking stick because opening it would have been silly in all those trees. At some point during the rainstorm I abandoned the whole "be careful of your knee" thing and just plowed on through the wet. I am still paying for it today. It did not help that the rain made my glasses useless, so I was hiking with about three feet of clear vision before everything went fuzzy. It finally quit raining after we reached Old Man's Cave trails again, but we were still soaking wet when we reached the car. The dog also took the opportunity to lay down in some dry sand and pick up the lot in his wet coat. I do not even want to think about the state of the van at this time. We bugged out pretty quick and headed back to the cabin where dry clothes and showers were had by all.

We then reached the point in the vacation where we were to make use of the dog crate. This was purchased not so long ago, and despite spending some time in the thing of a evening while we are watching TV, Karl had never been shut in the crate on his own before. I was worried that he might do any number of things from make a mess, to eat the thing whole and then tear up the cabin. Once again, I worry for naught. He slept the evening away, and apart from some lingering resentment, seems no worse for his stay in the crate.

We headed to Logan for gas and a Wal-Mart run to replenish supplies and pick up the things I'd forgotten. We tried to get gas, but the gas station was "experiencing difficulties." They gave us bad directions to another gas station, which we eventually found, then went back to the cabin because we'd forgotten something rather important. (hint: I had to pay for the gas.) Then we went to Nelsonville to the Rocky Book Outlet. Rick needs new waterproof boots. Alas there was nothing in his size. There was however several things in my size. And while I shopped, Rick and Kate discovered the children's section, wherein they selected a variety of utterly useless things to buy. They also picked up a backpack that will apparently fit much better than the cheap one I bought for her last summer. (It is, I have been informed, a "real" backpack, rendering the one I bought to some lesser status. Hunchback costume presumably.)

On our way home, we stopped at "World Famous Jack's Steak House". There was some discussion concerning how the heck a hole in the wall like this could be called "would famous" but the food and the service were very good. (Perhaps it is the existence of a website which I was somewhat shocked to find.) Unfortunately Kate started to complain about a belly ache on the way home. I was somewhat worried until everything resolved itself in another bought of digestive fireworks at which my child seems to excel. We returned to the cottage, released the hound, and found our beds. End of day 2.

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