Getting to Hocking Hills is the hardest part. I left home with plenty of time. I was planning on stopping at a pastry shop in Logan and getting coffee. Then I realized I was in New Lexington, which was east of where I wanted to be.
There’s no easy shortcut across southern Ohio. Luckily I drive on curvy backroads. My time window was getting shorter-no stop in Logan, or Shawnee, or even making it to Camp Oty Okwa for the bus. I pulled into the parking lot at the Old Man’s Cave just in time to lead my hike.
Grandma Gatewood Hike
My hikers were not happy that I had never been on the Grandma Gatewood Trail. Hey, nobody asked me if I had experience in the area, familiar with the trail, or anything like that. It was more, “can you lead a hike on this day?”
I think they gradually got over it. Once out of the the Lower Falls area and heading toward Cedar Falls, there wasn’t anywhere else to go. However, leading a hike is like herding cats. You do have to cover so much distance, in so much time. Some folks wanted to stop for lunch. Others wanted to hurry up in order to start another hike. We got to our “Fun Bus” only about forty minutes late.
Unplanned Gorge Rim Trail Hike
Our bus tried to turn around to pick up stranded hikers. It wasn’t the best place to turn around.
After being stranded for a bit and getting bored, Michelle, T, and I decided to walk back to Cedar Falls, and take the Gorge Trail back to Old Man’s Cave, where our vehicles were parked.
That was fun! The Gorge Trail is a non-technical trail which parallels Grandma Gatewood-on TOP of the Gorge. It was nice and relaxing and a good time to stretch out the legs for this hike. I believe we ended up with about ten miles for the day.
My presentation on tents and stoves went well. It was a small group, as it was a beautiful day to be out hiking. There was a funny moment when someone wandered over and said “you can’t put up your tent here!” before she realized we were just doing a demo.
Saturday Presentation was on hiking technology apps. This went over okay, Derrick from the North Country Trail Association, helped me out by letting me use his computer for my presentation, since I was missing an adapter-thanks Derrick!
This Buckeye Trailfest was also the annual get together for the North Country Trail Association. The North Country Trail and the Buckeye Trail run concurrently for about 800 miles in Ohio. Trailfest was at least twice as large as it is normally with the two groups!
I will say it again, it was clever marketing to reframe the “annual meeting” to “Buckeye Trailfest”. Who wants to write “annual meeting” on their calendar when you can write “Trailfest”?
Be prepared to be flexible and patient.
The hikes will always take longer than advertised or scheduled.
Don’t try to hike all the hikes. Give yourself some down time, go to a presentation or two.
Bring a snack and an extra water for each day. You probably won’t be eating on your regular schedule and might burn an extra calorie or two.
Think about giving a presentation for next year! Jot down an idea or two, or a topic that came up.