Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hocking Hills: more from Old Man's Cave

The effects of water and the varying degrees of composition and hardness of the sandstone in this area are responsible for the many rock features along the gorge trail. We have already seen recess caves and slump blocks (ginormous boulders). Here is an example of honeycomb weathering, where water washes out small pockets of loosely cemented sand, leaving the appearance of the small holes in a beehive comb. [explanation from the State Park's official brochure.]

Taken to the extreme, you get small caves like these. Usually, there is more water here, making harder to get to this spot, but I took advantage of the drought to peek in. I found out that the two holes both open into a connected cave-let.

Now, why is it that the 20th century spray-painted graffiti here bothers me more than the 19th century carvings at Ash Cave? After all, it is part of the same human impulse to put your mark on a place, to say "I was here."

left side

right side

I think my favorite feature at Old Man's Cave isn't the cave, it is this curious spot, affectionately called The Devil's Bathtub.

Legend has it that "the drain goes all the way down to Hades itself."

Personally, I think it looks more like the
Devil's Footbath right now.

Now, you weren't really expecting falling water
at the Upper Falls, were you?

Let's climb up and look from above, just to be sure.

Nope. Nuthin'.

Someone asked me earlier in a comments section if the water levels were always so low, or if this was the effect of the severe drought affecting southern Ohio. Actually, I think it is both. The streams run full and fast after spring rains, and again in late fall/early winter. Typically, there isn't a lot of water in late summer or early fall. I think that it is worse this year, though.

Thanks for hiking the Hocking Hills with me. I hope you enjoyed yourself. Need help to find your way out? Just follow this path.

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