Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Old Man's Cave - Hocking Hills State Park

My first brush with the region of Hocking Hills was in 2011, when I visited a tiny town called Patriot, OH. The idea of seeing houses in the foothills and lots of trees and greenery always came from foreign locations in our Hindi films. But it was the first time I ever saw villages or towns in the middle of the hills and you not being able to see anything but hills and mountains, covered with fog or clouds in every direction you look. The town is actually located near the Wayne National Forest. If you are a small town lover, you can rest assured that you will find some memorable peaceful times here.

I recently visited the Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park. The park lies just outside the national forest and is contagious with the Hocking state forest. The park lies only an hour away from Columbus and what a little gem it is. The park features predominantly some gorgeous rock and sediment formations. 

Above pics show the entrance to the state park. We luckily selected a rainy day to visit the park and it resulted in some very lush greenery in the pictures. As soon as we enter the park, we are greeted with a wonderful waterfall. 

At this point, one may proceed to either left (leading to old man's cave) or to the right (leading to the Devil's bath tub and Upper falls). We started to move towards the old man's cave. The entire region, as seen in the pictures below, was really green, owing to the dense forestation and algae. Old Man's Cave is approximately a mile long, however, it has enough twists and turns to make it feel longer, but it is a relatively easy track. 

As we reach the Old Man's Cave, the water fall becomes more dense and is called as Middle Falls. From the middle falls, one can cross the falls with a stone bridge succeeding a very small cave. It is a little scary for some one like me, not to have people around and it getting darker outside, but nevertheless, we tried and it was very very small, so I could proceed with it. 

We do not have to come back in the same path to cross the entrance and go to the Devil's bath tub and Upper Falls.  As soon as the bridge is crossed, the way back to the upper falls is more exciting with having to walk in between two very huge rocks. They are stable and are not swinging, but the idea that you are walking in between to hanging rocks with barely any light reaching the insides is very inviting. As we start walking backwards, we cross the bridge which was seen from a lower angle while walking to the cave. Also, there are some cabins on the way back which, I suppose can be rented out, if you like spending a night right on the cave.

The trail to the devil's bath tub looks very similar in sight and sounds and boasts of equally large rocks. I am not sure why is it called a Devil's Bath tub but it sure does very beautiful and the greens are reflected very well. The entire path boasts of lots of seasonal waterfalls and the sounds of trickling waterfalls can de-stress people immediately. 

What follows this bath tub is perhaps the most beautiful scenery in the old man's cave, called the Upper falls. Since we visited the falls early in the spring time, the water was still receding in the pool, but in the regular summer and the falls season, the pool is filled with water and the falls reflect very well in the  pool. 

Old Man's Cave is only one of the many beautiful regions in the state park, like Ash Cave, Cedar Falls and more. I hope to cover them soon and inspire people to visit this wonderful natural treasure in the central Ohio.