Thursday, June 17, 2010

The One Where We Went To Hocking Hills

As I mentioned in a previous post, we took last week off and went on a little "stay"-cation. The first stop on our stay-cation was Hocking Hills, Ohio. Hocking Hills is about 2 hours northeast of Cincinnati and has a ton of hiking/fishing/outdoorsy type activities.
The drive to Hocking was interesting, because you spend a significant amount of time on a two lane state route. The boys passed the time by making up songs. Loudly. And singing them off tune. Loudly. Being in a car with 4 boys for 2 hours is not for the faint of heart.
We planned to stay in Hocking Hills for 2 days but when we arrived we quickly realized that there wasn't a lot to do for our two youngest boys, so we revised our itinerary. It ended up being a day trip, so we would only have time for one trail area. After doing a little research, we decided that hiking the "Old Man's Cave" trail would be the easiest with the kids. I thought that I had read that it was a paved trail. I thought that bringing the stroller and wearing flip-flops would be fine. Yeah. Not so much. 
We abandoned the stroller fairly early on. (Our Maclaren is extremely light-weight but not something I want to carry up dozens and dozens of steep rock stairs.) The trail was not paved. It was dirt and stone and steep and scary. But beautiful. I would definitely recommend it to families with older kids (pre-teens/teenagers) but it was a little much for our guys.
The first formation you see as you hike is "old man's cave" itself. Very cool.
As you wind your way around you see a really pretty waterfall and watering hole. The watering hole had a huge cliff that some more adventurous (aka-not so smart-the water wasn't that deep!) hikers were jumping off of into the water.

 The watering hole was perfect for skipping rocks-the boys had a blast doing that. Moose mainly picked up dirt and threw it.

The trail got a little more treacherous and strenuous as we made our way back around to the exit. I was really regretting my choice of footwear by that time! (And more than a little nervous watching the boys hike close to steep overlooks!)
Despite all of that, I would definitely go back when the kids are older. They seemed to have a really good time and didn't complain about the hike at all.
After making it back to the car and scouting out lodging options (tons of cabins but only two hotels), we decided to head to Columbus for the night and try out the indoor waterpark at Fort Rapids. More on that tomorrow.

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