Category Archives: Hiking

Ohiopyle is Just Fine in the Off Season!

Back from a week end in Ohiopyle Pennsylvania!


What kind of name is “Ohiopyle”?

Ohiopyle is derived from “ohiopehhla” meaning white frothy water.  This certainly is an apt name in this area!

Things to Do When not White Water Rafting

Laurel Highland Hiking Trail

OP has great white water rafting opportunities. But even in the off season, there are plenty of activities to pursue.

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

Laurel Highlands PA

The LHHT is 71 miles long. There are shelters along the way for over night stays. It is a simply beautiful trail. It is marked with yellow blazes-you can’t get lost-and concrete markers to tell you where you are (or how far you have to go!)

Beam Rocks Laurel Highland Trail


You can hike to waterfalls around OP. Cucumber Falls is the easiest, because you can drive to it, it’s just down the steps.

Cucumber Falls Ohiopyle


OP is a convenient town if you are on the Great Allegheny Passage. The bike trail is far less busy in the off season!



Hike to Seven Sisters Waterfalls Grenada

Hike to Seven Sisters Waterfalls

On this trip to Grenada, my husband announced he wanted to go hike to a waterfalls with me! (We’re not getting any younger.) As I am NOT in the same shape I was on previous hiking expeditions, we chose the easy Seven Sisters Falls hike.

Seven Sisters or St Margaret’s Falls

The hike to St Margaret’s or Seven Sisters as it is locally known is not bad, just a bit muddy. You climb down two big sets of wooden stairs, so keep in mind coming back you have a bit of a climb! Then it is rocky, muddy a bit overgrown.

Tropical Adventures

We hire a guide when I go hiking. We’ve been using Tropical Adventures with Vaughan Francis for over eighteen years now! Vaughan has taken me on my epic hikes in Grenada: summiting Mt Qua Qua, Mt St Catherine, and the long distance Cross Country Trail. Vaughan is a great  hiker AND a birder, keep that in mind if you want to see certain birds of Grenada.

Vaughan Francis Tropical Adventures


Honeymoon Falls

We were almost to Seven Sisters when Vaughan called out for me to take a right on the trail instead of crossing the river over to the falls. He had been evaluating how we hopped and balanced over the rocks, and judged we were fit enough to visit Honeymoon Falls.

Waterfall Climb

The Climb

In order to access Honeymoon Falls, one must walk UP this set of rocks. It doesn’t look like much, but there is a roaring current! Vaughan went first, showing me a rock with a hole in it, to avoid it.

Comfort Zone

I wasn’t quite sure about this.  It was NOT a big climb, but plenty of rushing water. You had to lift each foot carefully so you weren’t dashed off your feet. I was already thinking, how am I going to get down this? I contemplated shaking my head and saying no.

I did it

I stopped whining in my head and carefully placed my feet and climbed up to Vaughan. My husband followed. THEN we had another short climb thru more water, to reach the falls!

No pics!

I did not bring a waterproof bag for my camera! My husband had his phone in a baggie, which died on this vacation. If I can recover any pics, I will post them. So no pics of this wonderful thunderous waterfall.

NOW I had to descend in the river. I almost got swept off my feet on the first climb, but luckily got out of the current. How did I get down the second part? I turned around and climbed down the same way I went up!

Seven Sisters

There are two pools here at the base of each waterfall that you can swim in! There are no changing rooms, so either wear your bathing suit under your hiking clothes, or prepare to get wet! There was only one other group of about eight folks when we arrived-this was a Wednesday off season. Vaughan mentioned that there can be as many as 250 people here when a cruise ship docks! Yikes! Another reason to travel off peak season!

After you climb up the steps, Mitchell’s Bar might be open! This would be a good place to get a cold Carib beer or soda after the climb!

Seven Sisters is a very popular hiking destination. Remember it is private property so there is a fee-US $2 per person. It’s a pretty easy hike. You will get muddy and probably wet, so wear shoes (not flip flops or sandals). Bug spray and sun screen highly recommended, you do come out of the jungle into the sun in parts.

  Why not visit a waterfall on your Grenada trip?

Buckeye Trail Miles Tappan Lake Edition

Buckeye Trail Miles Tappan Lake

Buckeye Trail Miles

Today was a Buckeye Trail hike in the Bowerston area, hiking around Tappan Lake. How did I know about this hike? It’s on an App called “Meetup“.  Meetup makes it easy for you to see activities that you might want to attend.

I attended a section hike close to me, Point 13 thru 16  in the Bowerston area.

Tappan Lake

Tappan Lake

Tappan Lake takes its name from the former community of Tappan, which now resides under the lake. There was also the community of Laceyville that disappeared with the creation of the lake. 🙁

Tappan Lake

Tappan Lake is huge! 2350 acres in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

Tappan Lake

Good Off Road Section

This is a good off road section! By “good” I mean hilly! There are at least three good climbs around the lake shore.Tappan Lake

There were seven stalwart hikers out on this humid first day of September. Dale organized the hike, he only has 200 miles to finish hiking ALL of the Buckeye Trail! Joy was one of the hikers, we had worked in the same hospital a few  years ago! It was great to see her again.

Sometime you need to look up to see the great views!

Dale and Jacob checking on the trail register to see who has been enjoying the Buckeye Trail.

I would think this would be fairly self explanatory, but perhaps not.  ◔_◔

The section was advertised as 6.99 miles but my Garmin registered 8.14 miles. Oh well, my Garmin is usually off a bit, but I would guess this was closer to 7.5 and 8 miles than 6.99. However, it’s not like the Buckeye Trail was ever “wheeled” for accuracy.

Despite the humidity, it was a good day to be out in the woods. I need to do more hiking!

Time to Volunteer on the Buckeye Trail


The hubs and I set out this morning to volunteer on the Buckeye Trail. We are “trail adopters”. That means we maintain a portion of the Buckeye Trail.

Leesville Lake

What’s the Buckeye Trail?

The Buckeye Trail is a 1444 mile blue blazed trail around the state of Ohio. The Buckeye Trail winds around Ohio, reaching into every corner of the state. It is a large loop, from a beachhead on Lake Erie, to a hill top overlooking the Ohio River.

What’s a trail adopter and what does it mean to maintain a portion of the trail?

A trail adopter is a person/persons who cares enough about hiking that anyone hiking that section of trail with have an enjoyable experience on that section. This means the off-road adopter hikes the trail at least 3 or 4 times a year to ensure blazing is accurate and clear, and the trail is not obscured by greenery and briars.

Obscured Blaze

Hiking after a big storm is helpful to make sure deadfall is removed.



What about road sections?

Some sections of the Buckeye Trail are complete roads. Sometimes the road can be more isolated than a trail section. Road sections should be hiked or driven once a year to make sure blazes are still clearly seen.

Good Excuse for a Hike

Maintaining a section of trail is a good excuse to get outside!  Our  trail in the Bowerstown Section, Leesville Lake South, is a beautiful off road section.   We encountered some homeowners as we passed through, and they thanked us for maintaining the trail.

Homemade sign

The summer storms have been kind to our section. We do need to return with a small handsaw to take care of some branches, but the trail is in good hiking shape through here. Come out and hike around Leesville Lake!

Buckeye Trailfest Report

Buckeye Trailfest


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?”

Photo by Michelle

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.

Photo by Michelle

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.

gorge trail


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!

Trailfest Attendance

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!

Annual Meeting

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”?


Trailfest Takeaways

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.

Prepping for Buckeye Trailfest

Whew! I’ve been prepping for Buckeye Trailfest 2018! Last year, I attended my first  Buckeye Trailfest. This year, I am an active participant at Trailfest!

Buckeye TrailFest

What is the Buckeye Trailfest?

Buckeye TrailFest is the largest annual gathering of BT hikers, volunteers, members and enthusiasts. On April 25-29, 2018, we are proud to host our friends from all along the North Country National Scenic Trail for the Annual North Country Trail Celebration! All this during the peak of spring wildflowers and waterfall flow in the heart of Ohio’s Hocking Hills at Camp Oty’Okwa!”


I am giving two presentations for Buckeye Trailfest. One is called Presentation: Technology for the Buckeye and North Country Trail Hiker” I call it  “Map Apps for the Cell Phone” and the second is “Hands-On Workshop: Newby Guide for an Overnight Hike”.

Map Apps for the Cell Phone

A presentation last year about GPS for hiking led to thinking, what about us newby folks who don’t even know there are hiking apps out there? It seemed like it would be a good over-winter project, I would learn a bunch about hiking apps. My presentation was approved, so whoops, gotta get something down in writing!

I decided to focus on a few free apps. As a total newby myself, I can’t see shelling out money for an app I may not understand and then not use!

I’ve been working on my slide presentation. This is available now on and features a guide on borrowing money for an overnight hike as well as the RV for it, with the billån services offered by Sambla.

How to Set Up a Tent

The official title is ” “Hands-On Workshop: Newby Guide for an Overnight Hike”. I’m not sure how I am going to do with time constraints. I was originally going to set up three tents. Since I can’t locate the third tent (I may have given it away) I went with the two tents.

Learning curve! I got the tents out to see how long it would take me. The first attempt took about 40 minutes! Yikes! I forgot everything!


I have two tents. The green tent is a REI One Passage. It weighs about three pounds. I don’t know if I would backpack with this, it’s a little heavy. It’s fine to car camp, and probably do an overnight bike.

The second tent is pretty cool, it’s a Tensegrity from Sierra Designs, a light weight design. I had a bit of a learning curve with using the hiking poles as part of the tent design, but after the third set up, I felt pretty confident.

You Tube is your Friend

This was a good video to watch to help set up my  Tensegrity tent

This video was also helpful

Sierra Design tent



I have a few stoves to show how they work.

I got my ancient Jet Boil out to make sure it still functioned. Yep! Fired right up! Check! A Jet Boil is not something you most likely would like to schlep on a long hike, but it’s great for campground cooking. Heats water in less than one minute!

Rocket Stove

This is the rocket pocket MSR stove. As you can see, it fits in the palm of your hand, and will fit into a pocket. It uses the can fuel just like the Jet Boil does. Combine the MSR rocket with a can of fuel, this would be far better to backpack with.

Solo Stove

For those hikers who don’t want to carry fuel with them, consider the Solo Stove. You fuel this stove with Mother Earth-small pieces of wood and dry grass.

Once you have your fire going, the ring on the right goes on top, then your pot goes on that. You keep feeding wood chips/branches/twigs into the large opening on the ring.

The instructions do say you will need a wind screen around this. I set this up in my driveway, when it was windy, and it took a bit to get the fire going.

Considerations with Solo Stove: ability to find dry kindling. It takes much longer to get water to boil versus the MSR and Jet Boil, but you don’t have to carry fuel along with you. You can buy an alcohol burner which contains denatured alcohol (which weighs far less than the canned fuel) that fits into the Solo Stove as a back up.


I am leading a hike on Thursday, the Grandman Gatewood Hike! This six mile hike will take us past  Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave! This section is part of Buckeye Trail, North Country Trail and American Discovery Trail.


The weather is looking “okay” for Buckeye Trailfest. I’m looking forward to getting outside after this snowy spring we’ve been having!

Are you coming to Buckeye Trailfest? Why not?

Buckeye Trail Section Hike Belle Valley Pts 26 to 23

Belle Valley Section

I knew December 20th was going to be a mild temperature day so I got myself out the door to hike a bit of the trail somewhat close to me,  the Belle Valley section of the Buckeye Trail

Belle Valley Ohio

Belle Valley, Ohio, population 210 from the 2016 census. Very small village, with a gas station, two gun/hunting/fishing type stores, post office, bar. Belle Valley had its start when the Cleveland and Marietta Railroad was extended to that point.  The Village of Belle Valley was incorporated in 1905.

I parked at Wolf Run State Park and walked west, thru Belle Valley to Valley Road, Township Road 60. I then retraced my steps back to the park where the off road section begins.

Belle Valley Interstate 77 Bridge

Belle Valley Church

Belle Valley BT North Country Trail Temporary Corridor

The North Country Trail Marker “temporary corridor” doesn’t look too temporary to me. Wolf Run State Park Dam

This section of the Buckeye Trail meanders around the western shore of Wolf Run State Park Lake. I guess that is it’s name? Yep, Wolf Run Lake, I just checked.

Lake View Wolf Run State Park

It’s a pretty trail, non technical, but with a bit of up and down as you follow the trail around the west side of the lake.

No More out and Backs for Me

I’m pretty grumpy this first half of the hike. All I know is I’m walking to Point 23, whereupon I’m going to turn around and go back the same way I came. Yes, the trail will look different coming from the other direction..but I’m still grumpy.

I get to the Group Camp area, which is Point 24, and debate going on. If I am serious about section hiking the Buckeye Trail, then that will be a section I will have to make up on another day…so I go on.

At the turn around, I get my water bottle out of my pack, and also eat my pear. This gives me a little cheer, and I am in a better mood on the way back to my vehicle.

I hiked about ten miles, it was a good day to be outside!