May 22 - Shawnee

Turtle taking a nap on Salem Road..

I left the BTA Annual Meeting at 10:30am today. Andrew, Claudia, Adelaide and I stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans in Zanesville on  the way back. By 2:30pm I was in Murray City and back on the Buckeye Trail. I hiked 9 miles today to Shawnee.

This morning I discovered one my of Black Diamond trekking poles was broken. This is bad news as I need these trekking poles to continue on my journey. They have served me well. Debbie Zampini lent me her pair of Leki poles as a replacement. My plan is to contact Black Diamond in the morning and see about getting these poles fixed or replaced.

The hike went by fast. The first half was on back roads which was easy walking. Byron and Jamie Guy met me on Salem Road and asked if I needed anything. The two brother were on their way home from the BTA Annual Meeting too and stumbled across me. Byron and Jamie are section supervisors for the Old Man's Cave section of the Buckeye Trail. They are great guys and a wealth of information on the area.

The rest of the hike was in the woods in the Wayne National Forest. The trail was well marked and in good shape. There were a few downed limbs and only one problem tree over the trail. It was enjoyable hiking. It felt good to be in the shade of the trees. Some ATVs are using the trail regularly. I am not a fan of ATVs on hiking trails but they are doing a good job of keep the trail packed down without doing major damage.

At Tecumseh Lake I took a side trail into the town of Shawnee. Shawnee is a former coal mining town. Don't confuse this town with Shawnee State Park or Shawnee State Forest as these places are near Portsmouth.

Shawnee is a town that has not seen economic prosperity in decades. It has a ghost town like feel. Buildings on the main street are empty and decaying. Shawnee was a booming coal town in the late 1800's and early 1900's when the whole Hocking Valley was humming with coal mining activity. The industrial revolution in the United States was in full swing then. Coal was needed to power the factories. When the coal was gone prosperity left town. Today less than 600 people live here.

An historical marker on the edge of town says this area is the birthplace of the Knights Of Labor movement. The Knights Of Labor movement was a precursor to the forming United Mine Workers union. There are still fires burning deep in the coal mines deep here. The fires were set by angry coal miners in retallation to actions by mine owners. There is no visible smoke or odors from the fire that I can see.

I am spending the night in Harrop House. The Harrop family lived here from 1890-1990. Today the Harrop House serves as the office of Andrew Bashaw. Andrew is the executive director of the Buckeye Trail Association and the regional officer of the North Country Trail Association. The office has everything a hiker needs; a spot to sleep, a kitchen, shower, bathroom and computer. From the looks of things you can tell that Andrew is well organized and runs a tight ship here.

The people in Shawnee are friendly. I would suggest a visit to this town as Shawnee has a story to tell. I recommend visiting the Little Cities Of Black Diamonds building. The Little Cities Of Black Diamonds building is part museum and part library. Their goal is to tell the story of the coal mining history in the area. "Black Diamonds" is another term for coal. For a small town Shawnee is packed with history.

I found it quite odd and coincidental that my Black Diamond brand trekking pole broke while I was in the region of Little Cities of Black Diamonds.

To see some old photos of Shawnee visit: