Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vacation - Part 1

Hi All,

I seem to have slipped right back into the saddle at work which is a good thing.  Long, busy days (but they go faster that way too!!).  Lots to do - finalizing plans (food, activities, etc.) for a meeting of about 120 in FL in early November.  Also getting ready for my Sisters' Weekend get-away in FL (another location) next week!  Can't wait.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd give a little summary of what we did and what we saw while on vacation last week.  We left on Saturday the 7th and drove out to just south of Pittsburgh - staying in the New Staunton area.  We took our camper which is small (only 16 feet - kind of like a submarine - lol), but we do have a shower, toilet, microwave, frig, two burner stove, bed in it.  We didn't unhitch that night since we were leaving in the morning.  Had a quick dinner of leftovers from home and went to bed early.  Neither of us slept well and it started raining in the middle of the night.  Fletch got up to put out the awning over the picnic table...but forgot to put in the central support bar....45 minutes later it crashed from the weight of the water.  Yup - busted awning!  It's always something.  Luckily we could get it pushed back almost completely in and secured it with bungee cords.  Also luckily, that was the only disaster we had!

The next day we headed to Southeast Ohio and the Hocking Hills.  This is beautiful rolling hills country.  Decades ago Fletch had read about the Mound Builders - Indians who built mounds I this area.  We spent Monday exploring the area.  It is fascinating and beautiful.  Very sacred ground and very spiritual places.  First we went to the Hopewell Culture Center where "mound city" is.  The mounds vary in size but are quite impressive.

They are burial mounds, but with various layers of different materials (soil, sand, etc.).  Some are quite high.  Within these mound areas there are often found geometric places - circles, squares, some octagons.  The amazing thing to me is that they all measure the same - even if the areas are miles and miles apart.

The museum at the Hopewell Culture Center had some amazing artifacts - pipes, spears, decorative head pieces, etc.  The items were made from different materials from as far away as the Great Lakes, Yellowstone and the Atlantic Ocean.  These Indians had quite a trade system set up.

Next we drove to the Serpent Mound.  Now, you all know I am NOT fond of serpents of any kind, but this place was so cool.

The photo above was taken from the top of the (rickety) observation tower that we climbed.  This mound is not all that high - about 3-4' in places, but extremely long.  And, each outward curve of the serpent's body points to some celestial site - the summer solstice, the winter solstice, highest moonrise, etc.  The points are all based on the moon cycle.  I found this fascinating.  These were built thousands of years ago - reminded me a bit of Stonehenge.

We visited another mound site - Seip, but it was getting chilly and a little damp and there was no center or museum there, so we walked quickly around and left.  These shrooms were all over (such damp weather we had!):

Tuesday we spent hiking in the Hocking Hills area.  Many of the features found here are the result of the glaciers coming that far south and then slowly melting and leaving seeds, etc.  We first walked in Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve.  The rock formations were so impressive - some 200' high!  And the vegetation here - lots of different ferns and hemlocks - only grows in this area of Ohio - again, thanks to the glacier.  The trail was easy and on the way back we saw some people stopped and looking into the woods.  The park ranger pointed and we saw a barred owl on a tree branch.  It had just finished consuming something and was cleaning his/her talons.

All of these pictures were taken with my phone, so not the best, but still visible.

Our next hike was at Ash Cave.  Oh man!  700' wide and 90' high.  Beautiful!

There is a lot of sandstone in this area...and the overhangs change frequently due to pieces falling off...a little nerve wracking to go underneath them (Fletch wouldn't go!!).

So despite warmer than expected weather and more dampness than not, we were able to get in two good days of walking/hiking/exploring.  Both the Mound area and the Hocking Hills area were so much more than I had expected.  A fun time!

Next we headed North...but I'll tell about that the next time.


  1. Hocking Hills is a gorgeous part of our state. I had no idea you were headed into Ohio as we were headed OUT and farther north ourselves. Glad you had a great time in spite of the weather and awning.

  2. Your vacation looks like it was off to a great start! I haven't heard about the mounds or Ash cave, but they look like places I would definitely like to visit. I'm looking forward to your next installment!

  3. Those mounds are fascinating! I love the serpent mound. It sounds like a great start to your vacation -- although I'd have been a bit daunted by both rain AND an awning problem. I'm looking forward to hearing more!

  4. You had some great adventures on your vacation. I vaguely remember reading about the mounds several years ago, but now, I'll do some research. It soundslike a fascinating place.

  5. That was interesting. I will read a little more online about the mounds. That's a lot of home away from home in 16'!

  6. I have read about the Mounds-especially Serpent Mound-so very cool you got to visit there!!!!
    That cave is amazing; could you picture being a cave dweller?

  7. Stephen is really into Indian Mounds. I'm not sure if he has been to those. I know he went to some in Indiana.

    Looks like you had a good time, in spite of the broken awning.

  8. beautiful vacation!!! you captured mother nature and breathed fresh clean air!! That sounds wonderful.

  9. Very cool! To me, New Stanton is where you get off the turnpike to head home to WV. :-)

    Ah yes, mounds. I've never been to Hocking Hills, but have heard of it. And spent many hours over the years in Moundsville, WV ...