A good tip results in an unexpected…Paradise Found
Cascade through Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, OH 2013
When photographing in the Midwest you expect rural farmland, old barns, snow in winter, fall colors in autumn. What you don’t expect are rushing waterfalls cascading down granite cliffs, especially one after the other after the other. Thanks to a tip from a great friend of mine who grew up in Ohio, I took a chance and drove a couple of hours south of Columbus and west of Dayton. Well…alter your expectations. Having traveled to Hawaii, the Caribbean and the Pacific Northwest, who knew there was a combination of all of them in the Midwestern United States.
Hocking Hills State Park http://bit.ly/15mtjP4 in Logan, Ohio is 2,356 acres of towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges. After stopping at the park’s Visitor’s Center for a map and some very helpful information, you drive down the road to the large, open parking lot. It isn’t until you descend down the trail at either end of the lot when the magic starts…immediately. I happened to be there in winter on a cold and rainy day and after melted snow had created a significant flow through Old Man’s Creek. The weather made it a bit challenging with a large camera bag and tripod, but ideal for shooting waterfalls, of which there were so many. Carefully protecting the camera from rain and mist and making sure the lens glass remained dry, it was a labor of love (including a rain poncho, plastic bags and an umbrella). Descending through the gorge trail I followed the cascading water over one cliff after the next. I literally felt as if I was in a movie, like Jurassic Park… without the Dinosaurs.
Devil’s Bathtub, Hocking Hills State Park, OH 2013
Halfway through the gorge trail is the Devil’s Bathtub. A whirlpool created from the rushing water of Old Man’s Creek seems to flow in all directions as it makes its way down the gorge.
Fog Around the Bend, Hocking Hills State Park, OH 2013
Road to Ash Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, OH 2013
Ash Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, OH 2013
At the southern end of the park is the horseshoe-shaped Ash Cave named after the huge pile of ashes found under the shelter by early settlers which was believed to have been left from Indian campfires built up over hundreds of years or used by them for smelting silver or lead from the rocks. Measuring 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet high, it is the largest, most impressive recess cave in the state of Ohio.
While in the area there are several great places to stay and eat including rustic lodges, cottages and cabins. Check out the Hocking Hills Resort http://www.hockinghillsresort.net/ and the Inn at Cedar Falls http://innatcedarfalls.com/, both of which had romantic accommodations and dining.
All in all, this tip from a friend became a very welcome and totally unexpected…Paradise Found.