May 26 - Pretty Run

Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park.

Today I hiked 20 miles to the Pretty Run property in Vinton County owned by the Buckeye Trail Association.

Hiking in hiker's heaven soon turned to hikers reality. That fine stretch of easy hiking in Hocking State Forest came to an end. After a couple of miles of easy road walking I came to the Climbers Parking Area in Hocking State Forest where I entered to woods again. The hike up to the cliff line and along the cliff line was scenic. Lots of sandstone boulders, caves and cliffs. However the footpath was for both horses and hikers. Whenever a footpath is shared by horses and hikers the hikers usually get the losing end of the deal. The trail was doubly muddy from all the hoof prints. Every hoof print makes an indentation which becomes a small puddle. The small puddles make one long stretch of muddy trail.

I finally arrived at Hocking Hills State Park. It was great to be at this place I had visited so many times before. This park is the gem in the State of Ohio Park system.

The trail goes above Upper Fallls where there is a monument to Emma Gatewood. Emma Gatewood, also known as Grandma Gatewood, is from Ohio. She hiked the entire Appalachian Trail three times starting at the age of 67 after raising a large number of children. She is credited with the first female solo hike of the AT. Grandma Gatewood is a legend in hiking circles. This stretch of the trail is named in her honor.
I met Nelson Gatewood, one of Grandma Gatewood's children, by chance on the AT. I was hiking at Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. He approached me and started chatting. He explained he was from Ohio and his mother had hiked the AT several times. I got very curious and asked if his mother had a trail name. He replied "Yes, Grandma Gatewood."

After checking out the Upper Falls I went to the snack bar and had a cheese burger, fries and ice cream. I chose Buckeye as the flavor of ice cream. Buckeye is peanut butter and chocolate much like the buckeye candy. It was very good.

I visited Old Mans Cave, Lower Falls, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. I chatted with several people along the way and handed out a few of my cards. I met once nice young lady, Tracy, from Worthington. It turns out we have a friend in common, Douglas Waggoner of Green Earth Outdoors, from Louisville.

I took a short coffee break at Ash Cave. I had the whole cave to myself. I listened to the sound of the waterfall, soaked in the scenery and had some Starbucks instant coffee.

By now it was 6pm and I still had eight miles to go of mostly road walking. I pounded out the miles in the next two and a half hours. I arrived at the Rice cabin and Pretty Run property and set up camp. Byron Guy is supposed to meet me here with my trekking pole replacement parts. He did not show or I am in the wrong place.  We will sort this out tomorrow.