Memorial Day weekend, 2022, I began my
in one of my favorite escape-locations, the beautiful south-eastern
Ohio region of Hocking Hills.
As indicated on the previous page, I returned to a cabin I'd
spent a few days in back in the Autumn of 2020, the Wolf's
Den cabin at Thunder Ridge Cabins B&B.
And again, as already suggested, this time I didn't pull
an instrument out the whole time I was there, much less work
on any new music, and that's okay. I did play the mix I had
on my phone of
"Chilled October Morning"
for the Thunder Ridge owners and some of their friends, while
we hung around the fire pit one evening. That song, as I already
wrote, was started on the deck of Wolf's Den in October of
2020. They were impressed, which is gratifying. Unless they
were simply being polite ‐‐
Wolf Den is a comfy little cabin with a whirlpool hottub
on the back deck. On my first stay I didn't use the hottub
because I was concerned about using it with my heart condition,
but I did use the Jacuzzi at my next stop in 2020, but was
careful to not spend too much time in it. I have since talked
with my cardiologist who said that as long as I didn't spend
too much time or let the temperature get too hot, I would
be safe. And this Wolf Den hottub is not capable of too
high a temperature; it's a bathtub with whirlpool jets, and
the water tank that supplies it runs out of hot water just
about when the tub is full, and does not rise to a terribly
high temperature. So, I hot-tubbed all three nights of my
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, Thunder Ridge hasn't
been doing the "breakfast" part of the "B &
B," but to compensate they provide their guests with
some wonderful, homemade muffins a couple times a day. So
my breakfast was always a muffin or two; and I had a few
left over for the trip to my next stop on the excursion.
There was another guest, Brian, also a return customer, and
he and I cooked dinner on the fire pit grill the first two
evenings, socialized, and shared Hocking Hills spots for the
other to check out.
My first junket, however, was to a spot I'd been to a
couple times already,
It's one of my favorite places in Hocking Hills. The cliffs,
themselves, are awesome, but there's also a good hiking trail
there. I like
a lot, too, but I didn't get there this time. Granted,
Old Man's Cave
is an incredible place, but it's the big attraction
in the region and it's always crowded. Even excluding the
safety concerns still around COVID, I'm not all that jazzed
about walking through a people-crowded nature area, plus I
prefer few-to-no folk in my photos of locations, and at
Old Man's Cave, and close-by
for that matter, it's not easy to get such people-free pics.
One can much easier at Cantwell Cliffs, even though it's
not exactly void of tourists.
After Cantwell Cliffs came my traditional, mandatory visit
to Pizza Crossing
for a small, veggie deluxe with extra sauce. Every time I
post about time in Hocking Hills, you can guarantee that
there will be mention of a stop at Pizza Crossing, unless
the unthinkable happens and they tragically shut their
doors. And I'm tellin' ya: if you visit Hocking Hills,
Pizza Crossing should be on your agenda ‐‐
unless you don't like pizza, then you're weird.
My second hike for Day 2 was close to Thunder Ridge at
Clear Creek Metro Park.
I'd stopped by that park last time I stayed at Thunder
Ridge, but only hiked the easy path close to the creek. This
time I hiked the
Cemetery Ridge Trail,
which I noted the first time but didn't get to. It's a nice
hike. A little while into the hike, a little off the trail
sets a dilapidated barn which was part of the Williams family
farm. According to a
post about Cemetery Ridge at www.exploreohiooutdoors.com:
The next day I visited two places I'd not been to in previous
Hocking Hills trips. The first was recommended by my
Thunder Ridge neighbor, Brian. My morning was spent at
a geologically created bridge across a good drop. It's not
easy to discern from the photos below, but the Rock Bridge
is about ten to twelve feet wide, if that wide, with no
guardrails, and it's a good twenty-plus foot drop off the
edges. This wreaked havoc on my acrophobic spidy-senses. I
did cross it to see where the trail led on the other
side, but it was unnerving for me. AND I had to cross
BACK OVER! I hoped there was a trail that looped back
to the parking lot, but there was not; there wasn't even much
trail left on the other side, so I had to double back to that
danged bridge. Still, over all, despite that mini-trauma, it
was a good hike on an interesting trail with lots of inclines.
Many don't want inclines on a hiking trail; I prefer them.
All that remains of the 240-acre Williams family farm is
this Pennsylvania 3-bay barn and forebay, or overshoot.
Edmund Williams acquired his first parcel in 1837, paying
$1.25 an acre. The 56x29-foot barn is mostly made of
pine and features hand-hewn posts and beams. Smaller support
lumber was cut with a two-person pit saw or water-powered
sash saw. Vertical marks from the saw are visible on some
of the smaller braces and beams.
Today, the land around the barn is heavily forested, showing
little evidence of the cleared ridge top that existed in the
1800s when the farm was alive with crops and livestock.
The other stop was at the
Wahkeena Nature Preserve,
because I had noticed the signs for it several times as I
travelled US-33. I checked it out in the Hocking Hills
guidebook cabin guests are provided, and it looked like a
good spot. It is. There's well over a hundred acres of
land, full of fauna, a small lake ‐‐ Lake Odonata
‐‐ and a couple ponds, all that were virtually
blanketed with Lilly pads when I was there, some really
scenic trails (easy hikes, but still good trails), and a
lot of wild life. As per the
Wahkeena page at the Fairfield County Parks website:
They also have a couple vulnerable birds they have housed.
Again, from that same Fairfield County Parks website page:
There are more than 100 species of birds and 35 species of
mammals including the pileated woodpecker, numerous warblers
and beaver. Wetland areas host more than 30 species of
amphibians and reptiles and provide excellent viewing for
dragonflies and damselflies. Throughout the year, numerous
wildflowers attract a rich assortment of butterflies and moths.
But the most interesting, nay, greatly fascinating thing
at Wahkeena was their Black Rat Snake, which was born October
12, 1989, putting it at thirty-two-and-a-half years old
when I was there. Last year it was the oldest known snake
of its species in the world. If it's still alive I am sure
the status hasn't changed. The snake had several large
bumps along its body from arthritis. It wasn't very
active, but, then, god knows what the comparable age for
a human would be. Along with the snake, the nature center
also had a few turtle aquariums and a nice display of stuffed
wildlife (the latter which if i took photos of, I can't find
There are two permanently-injured raptors ‐‐ a
Barred Owl and a Red-shouldered Hawk ‐‐ living onsite.
Their injuries do not allow them to hunt for themselves.
Wahkeena has obtained permits so they may be sheltered and
used for educational programs.
As a side note related to the snake: I asked the park ranger
on duty, who by the way, watch the snake hatch back in '89,
if it has a name. His response was that they don't name the
animals they keep in captivity because they do a lot of
educational programs with young children, and naming the
animals gives them the aura of being like pets. The staff
doesn't want the children to think of the animals as anything
but wild animals. No names helps tamper down attachments to
creatures that could hurt them if the kids encounter them
in uncontrolled situations.
And therein are the highlights of my Hocking Hills stay
2022. After my stop by Wahkeena Nature Preserve, I headed
to the Wolf's Den cabin for the day. I probably offloaded
the photos for the day from my
iPhone onto the
external drive where I store graphics, then sweetened them.
I know I sat around the fire pit that evening with Brian as
well as the couple who owns Thunder Ridge Cabins B&B
(that's the night I played "Chilled October Morning"
for them). The next day I hit the road for Knoxville,
Tennessee to see some animals and a