May 24 - Hocking State Forest

Camp site in Hocking State Forest.

Today I hiked 16 miles to the Hocking State Forest. I crossed the 1,000 mile mark on this hike. I am in the Old Mans Cave section of the Buckeye Trail.

I spent the last two nights in the Harrop House in Shawnee. The Harrop House is over 120 years old. I kept thinking I would see a ghost at night but I didn't. How often do you get a chance to spend a night alone in such an old and creaky place?

I got a late start today. I spent a lot of time on the computer this morning answering emails.

I finally got word that the folks at Black Diamond had sent me replacement parts for my broken pole. They are sending the parts at no charge via overnight delivery. They did this just on my word and I don't have to return the broken pieces. This is very nice of them. It took me several phone calls and several emails to accomplish this though. The parts will arrive after I have left town but I have a plan to get them.

Rocky dropped me off on the trail at 11:30am. We stopped at the post office along the way so I could mail home some clothes. But the post office was closed for lunch. Rocky will mail the items for me. I am sending home a fleece shirt, long sleeve shirt and a winter hat.

I came to a camsite a couple of miles into the hike. It looks like Byron and Jamie Guy (trail maintainers) had been there just recently. They cut a path through the grass for me and cleared an area for tenting. At the campsite was a bottle of malted adult beverage for me. Unfortunately I did not camp there as I had miles to go.

I crossed to the west of US-33 today. This marked the 1,000 mile point for me. In terms of time and miles this is the longest hike I have been on.

The miles came slow today as I was a bit tired. I stopped at Lake Logan campground and made a cup of coffee. It helped a bit.

After Lake Logan the trail enters the woods for a short stretch. As usual the woods were wet and muddy. Somebody had painted over some of the blue blazes with purple paint. This made navigation a bit confusing. The purple painters did not notice that the blue blazes were on both sides of the tree. They only covered the blazes on one side of the tree. Once I figured this out it made navigation easier.

I had a long and scenic hike up Wildcat Hollow Road. For a small and windy  road it had a lot of traffic. I started noticing sandstone outcroppings and hemlock trees. It was very pretty. I knew I was getting close to Hocking Hills.

The trail left the road for a short section in the woods. It was tough going in this section. For a short section it had lots of downed trees and limbs. The trail markers were faded but I could follow them. As usual the trail was wet and muddy.

A bit later I entered Hocking State Forest. I noticed an immediate change which I could not believe. The trail was wide, not muddy, not weedy, easy to follow, and no downed trees. The trail followed the contour of the land instead of going up and down. The trees in the forest were hemlocks and there was very little underbrush. The trail followed a streaam. I felt like I had died and gone to hiker heaven. I could hike with ease, relax and day dream. My mind could wander while my body did the hiking on autopilot. I had forgotten how enjoyable this kind of hiking was. This is what hiking was meant to be!

Around 7:00pm I found a nice campsite near a stream and a small waterfall. I had hoped to hike farther but the campsite was too pretty to pass up. It is a fine site. I have the woods all to myself tonight.
Tomorrow I hike through Old Mans Cave.