Old Man's Cave was named for an old hermit, Richard Rowe, who lived in the recess cave in the 1800's. Of course, there no longer is an "old man" here, just as there were no ashes at Ash Cave or cedars at Cedar Falls. I'm sensing a theme.the obligatory historical marker
There is a gorge trail, which follows the stream bed along the valley floor, and a rim trail, which one can follow past Cedar Falls and all the way to Ash Cave. We did the gorge trail, the most popular trail. This goes right through the cave to the lower falls, then loops back to the upper falls.
The morning sun lit up the recess cave, making it look bright and warm, but I don't think I would want to spend an Ohio winter here.
The last time I was at Old Man's Cave was a Labor Day weekend, several years ago, and the trail was so congested with people it was more like Christmas shopping at the mall instead of a peaceful nature walk. This visit, on a Tuesday, was much quieter. Except - what is that rumbling noise ahead?
Luckily, they were on their way out as we were coming into the gorge, so once the park ranger and his herd of 100 or more students and chaperones passed by, we were left in relative calm.
One of the best known rock formations of Old Man's Cave is this sphinx head, near the Lower Falls. Personally, I think it looks more like an Orangutang, don't you?
After leaving the Orangu-sphinx behind, we passed through a narrow tunnel. Claustrophobics, beware! To the naked eye, this was merely a black hole, which didn't photograph well at all. But, look how the flash lit up the inside-
This is the path along the stream bed, if you can call that a stream.
There are two bridges in the next photo. The upper level A-frame bridge is part of the rim trail, but look below it. There was a very interesting crossing over the stream. Instead of being a traditional bridge, it was a series of individual piers, each topped with a flat platform. There was a small gap between each horizontal step, so that each pier and platform unit was independent, but the entire grouping functioned as one unit. (This is so hard to explain.)
Our theory is that in case of future severe flooding, as in 1998, if one or two posts were to be taken out, it wouldn't pull the whole bridge down, making repairs easier and cheaper. Any architects or engineers out there able to explain this one to me?
I find I have way too many photos of Old Man's Cave for one post, so I leave you to contemplate this fern.
Coming attractions: Will there be falls at the Upper Falls? And, is there really a devil in the Devil's Bathtub?