-OLD MAN'S CAVE
Even though we were early, the place was still packed. This late in the year I figured the tourists would be sparse, but with this late October weather holding out everyone had the same idea, make it count.
As in so many places in Ohio, this exhilarating natural wonder is free to explore. No entrance charge, and a sign near the entrance reminds you that your tax dollars are at work for you. Hmmm, they must not steal it all down here.
Old man's cave was aptly named for an early (Hermit) settler, Richard Rowe, who set up living quarters in one of the many (the large one) recess caves in the area after the Civil War.
His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a trading post.
He and his two hound dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game.
On a side trip up Salt creek, he found the Hocking Hills Region.
Killed by an accidental blast of his own gun, it is said that local Native Indians buried him somewhere near the entrance of the cave.
Old Man's Cave is the most popular of all the Hocking areas.
It is located on a vertical cliff, 75 feet above the stream, and measures 250 feet long and 50 feet high.
The spectacular recessed caves seen throughout the park are examples of water and wind carving out the softer middle layers of the Blackhand sandstone.
The sandstone itself is made up of layer upon layer of silt, sand, and small pebbles compressed together into a loose rock.
The extra minerals of Iron Oxide and Silica cement the sandstone together and create a hard upper and lower rock structure.
The water seeping through always picks the easiest way through the rock and carves out the softer middle layers leaving behind a "roof" and a "floor".
This process is called sapping.
It is about a mile long and requires approximately an hour to hike.
Cliffs, waterfalls, huge rock formations, and towering Hemlocks line the trail.
Awesome bridges - and even tunnels - cut into the rock face.
At the far end of the trail, a rock formation taking the form of a sphinx head !!!
Turbo Jim attempting to capture the magic that he is surrounded with.
Last time that I visited here was with another inmate by the name of Daniel (XDBX on Advrider) He said it best when he made the statement that it was like something out of the Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, especially in the summer when everything is more lush.
Old Man's cave area can be divided into five principal sections found along the valley of Old Man's Creek.
In order they are: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge.
Along the length of the trail, the magnificent gorge cuts through the entire 150 foot thickness of the Blackhand Sandstone.
Carved by the creek, the gorge serves as an avenue for visitors to peer into the earth's subsurface.
The full distance of the gorge is approximately one half mile.
-The Devil's Bathtub
A churning tub of water spilling into the creek below.
At the Upper Falls, the Grandma Gatewood trail begins its six-mile course connecting three of the parks areas: Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave.
This same trail has been designated as part of Ohio's Buckeye Trail as well as part of two National systems - The North Country Scenic Trail and America's Discovery Trail.