March 6, Thursday
One of the ways the ADT and Buckeye Trail are different from the A.T. is that there is not a regular system of shelters nor are there many designated campsites on public lands. Therefore, at the start of each day, there is always the unknown of where you will spend the night. That is one reason we particularly enjoyed yesterday’s hike, as we knew that we would end up at Sherry and Mike’s house for the night.
Sherry dropped us off on the trail at Lake Logan and we began the best day’s hike so far on the trip. Today we were looking forward to hiking the many miles of true trail (not on roads) in Hocking Hills State Park, one of Bill’s old stomping grounds when he grew up in Ohio. It was cold (30’s) but bright and sunny with a brisk wind and no rain in the forecast for at least 3 days. These trails today seemed to be some of the best that the Buckeye Trail has to offer. Although we don’t advocate only hiking the popular sections of any trail, if one doesn’t have the time to hike the whole BT, this section should not be missed.
Towering cliffs, massive rock formations, frequent waterfalls, chutes, and shelter caves abound. Particularly, the section between Old Mans Cave and Cedar Falls is outstanding. This section of trail, by the way, for A.T. hikers, is named the Grandma Gatewood Trail. Grandma Gatewood was an A.T. thru-hiker and a proponent of trails in southern Ohio. We did see a lot of flood damage though as the water tore up several sections of the trail and left many muddy patches to slog through.
March 7, Friday
We started the day at Cedar Falls, which were flowing fully and beautiful. The trail to Ash Cave was superb and it came out on top of the cave and then took us down through it. You could really picture Indians using this site as their home. This was followed by a 7 1/2 mile roadwalk, some through farm valleys. Most off-road sections seem to go up one drainage, over a pass or gap, and then straight down into the next drainage, although the trail is often eroded old roads. This contrasts with the Appalachian Trail which sticks to the ridgeline. Near the end of today’s hike we had to wade across a cold briskly flowing stream because a bridge had been washed out in the flood the previous weekend. We camped in the Tar Hollow State Forest in a wonderful pine plantation with a great cushion of needles to sleep on (in addition to our Thermarest pads). It was a cold sunny day and we hiked 18 miles today. This makes two major milestones for this BT section. We have now hiked over 100 miles and we have passed the halfway point on this leg of our journey.
March 8, Saturday
Today, we hiked through the Tar Hollow State Forest, mostly on trails. By early morning, we reached the fire tower and met two scout leaders tending camp while the boys were off on a hike. They offered us cold drinks and some snacks. Trail magic strikes again! At the Dogwood picnic shelter we took an extended break and tried to dry our boots further from yesterday’s dunking in the stream crossing.
By afternoon, we reached Londonderry, our second and last maildrop. Since the post office was closed, we called the postmaster. She immediately offered to come down, open the office, and give us our box. Since these were the supplies we needed to finish the hike and it would last us the next six days, we were delighted with her offer. When she arrived, she asked us if we wanted to come to her house for dinner, a shower, and laundry. Wow, what an offer — how could we refuse! Again, the people of southern Ohio have been superb in the hospitality department. Next, we got a ride to Chillicothe for a planned day of rest tomorrow. After 8 straight days of hiking, our bodies needed a day of rest — and it is supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe we’ll have good hiking weather on Monday again.
© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1997, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet