May 26 - Tar Hollow

Tar Hollow fire tower.

Today I hiked 16 miles to Tar Hollow State Park.

It rained last night but I managed to stay dry. That is until I started hiking. The tall grass and weeds were still wet from the rain.

I quickly got soaked from the knees down. This is pretty much happens every day. It is impossible to keep my boot dry.

After about a mile of hiking I came across Byron Guy. He was camped out on the Pretty Run property but at a different place than me. He had the replacement parts for my Black Diamond trekking poles. My poles are as good as new now. We chatted a bit in the morning sun and ate a couple of day old McDonald's chicken sandwiches. Byron's is going to spend the day doing trail maintenance on the Pretty Run property.

The trail today was interesting. Twice the trail was on abandoned township roads. The roads went through a hollow and up and over a ridge. It was quite a treat to hike on these old roads. At the start of the hollow you would see houses and barns. But as the road climbed up and got narrow and steep the building disappeared. Nobody wanted to live this far up the hollow. Towards the top of the ridge the road got very steep and rutted. There is no way a car could drive on these roads. At the top I felt like I was summiting a mountain. At the summit there were a few ATV roads. Then the road headed back down the other side. Things reversed. It was steep and narrow at first but as I approached the bottom I would starting seeing houses and farms again. The top of one of the ridges was bare from clear cut logging.

I took a short break at the Tar Hollow State Forest maintenance area. It was deserted. They must have closed their operations or moved them elsewhere as nobody was there. All I saw were empty buildings. I plopped down in front of one of the buildings and made a cup of coffee. I wondered what this place was like when it was humming with activity.

The hike through Tar Hollow State Forest and Tar Hollow State Park as nice. The trail was mostly clear and easy to follow. There were some overgrown weeds and fallen trees but not too bad. The first leg of the journey was all up hill until I reached the fire tower. I climbed to the top of the fire tower but the views weren't that good. The surrounding trees had grown so tall it blocked most of the views. I got real good cell phone reception at the top of the tower.

Around 6:00pm I was met by Connie (Myers) Snyder. She drove me to her house in Richmond Dale. Connie and Mike Snyder have been hosting hikers for years. They are very nice and helpful people. Connie first learned about hikers when she was postmaster in Londonderry. Hikers would mail packages to her post office and she would get acquainted with them. Now they host just about every long distance hiker or cyclist who comes through on the Buckeye Trail or American Discovery Trail. They have a scrap book full of photos, articles and letters from the hikers they have hosted over the past ten years. At their house I got
a much needed shower, laundry, home cooked meal and a bed to sleep in.I was pretty tired by the end of the day.