Saturday, September 24, 2011

First and foremost, I'd like to know how we made it in Ohio this long without ever visiting Hocking Hills.  We went camping for part of our vacation and decided to venture here on the raving recommendation of next door neighbors.  I'd heard a few things about Hocking Hills here and there- but nothing that prepared us for our trip.  This place is AMAZING.  Like- ranks right up there with lots of the sites in Utah and Yellowstone- amazing.  And we didn't even get to go on some of the bigger hikes!  The views and the hikes and the caves and everything else we saw were stunning.  It didn't hurt that it was pretty empty and transitioning into fall!  

We'd had a lot of rain the days leading up to our trip and it made the colors so vibrant.  I feel like the green was fluorescent!  Our first day was picture perfect weather (therefore I took almost 500).  Sun shining- no rain- and just a few clouds.

 Our first stop was at Ash Cave. It is labeled as the most majestic of all the sites in the park.  My pictures don't do it any justice. It was just too big to try and capture all at once.

Our little rugrats were really impressive the whole trip.  Not until the very last hike on the last day did they start complaining about their legs being tired. They did a lot of running and stair climbing!  and we were all pretty dirty when all was said and done.

I was also impressed with how brave the kiddos were.   At one point I had all three boys (kent, zeb, and Ike) trying to climb up separate cliff walls.  It got a little treacherous.
And the boys were even happy to go into caves. They asked if there were any spider webs and when we told them probably not- they were happy to explore with us!
Honestly- this place was so much fun. I still can't believe we hadn't been.  It would have been worth the drive from toledo for sure!  It's only about two hours from us here in Dayton- and would have been three from Toledo.
Ike did get pretty nervous here, though.  Kent was trying to maneuver his way back down the cliff wall and Ike just wanted him to hurry.
The Ash cave is so big it's indescribable.  Sometimes I think Ohio is trying to keep all of its greatness a secret so that more people don't come.  Nothing we do is ever crazy crowded- all of their parks (city and state) are so well taken care of- and everything is free!!  If any of you Ohioans or veterans of Ohio know of any other great places- let me know!!!
Getting these rascals to sit still for pictures is ridiculous right now.  This is the one and only shot of the day where they actually agreed to sit and smile.  Maybe it's because we had them sitting on a giant rock ledge and told them if they moved they would fall to their deaths.

There were only a handful of other people on the trail the day we hiked so we got the park almost to ourselves.  There was one couple getting married here when we first arrived, though!

We could have sat here and played in the sand forever!  Zeb kept running ahead of us trying to see what was next.  He told Kent that the place was 'kind of beautiful'.
The only way to get the boys to smile here was to tickle them like crazy.  At least they aren't fake smiles!

After the Ash Cave we decided to head to Cedar falls.  We saw a gazillion mushrroms and both Zeb and I were obsessed!  Mushrooms remind me of Russia- and Zeb of mario-kart.

Look at this one! Red with white spots!!

And the falls were pretty cool, too.  Nothing better than a big pot of muddy water to stir around.

The one thing about waterfalls here is that they are almost waterless- but pretty nonetheless.

For some reason-EVERYthing these boys do has to be a race or a contest.  It helped speed up the hikes immensely- but resulted in lots of frustration when somebody came in second.  Finally we convinced them to play as a team and hold hands for a 'two way tie'. At the last second -on this particular occasion- Ike ran ahead at the very end- touched the car and then pointed to each of us individually and said: "you lose! you lose! you lose!".  I encourage speediness and doing your best- but I've never taught them to rub losing in other people's faces!  and he's only 2!!  I honestly think that he was born competitive.
But these two really are best friends and even though having them close in age can be horrific sometimes- it sure is wonderful that they have each other.


Jill Lau said...

What an awesome place. Seriously, that would have been nice to know about. I can't believe how much older Ike looks to me. What a fun trip!

yaya said...

I've never been to hocking hills...sad but true! I know my kids have though. It reminds me of Mohican State Park, but maybe just a bit bigger...well, alot bigger. But Mohican is really beautiful too and I think you would enjoy it and the canoeing is fun.....looks like a great trip and those boys are growing much too fast!

Dave and Michelle Howell said...

What a fun place to explore!

Cynthia said...

fun! Outside of Mario Brothers, I have never seen a red and white mushroom.

Michelle said...


Those mushrooms seriously made my jaw drop. Very cool looking ... and a little sick. haha.

Beautiful -- seriously BEAUTIFUL boys.

What a fabulous trip ... and, once again - amazing pictures.

Michelle said...

Oh. And PS -- Happy Anniversary!

We miss you guys like crazy.

brittani c. said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I feel like I need to come back to Ohio just for that reason.

dockters said...

Oh my!! We had heard of that place, but I never imagined it could be so beautiful! We've got to make it there some time...maybe next year. Looks amazing. You got some great shots. I love your boys together. Brothers are great, right? We need to come see you guys. I'd love that!

Hutch's Blog said...

You're tempting me to visit Ohio.