This morning we slept in a bit and had a lazy morning….. We wanted to do a bigger loop trail here in Hocking Hills and knew we needed good rest to take on the 6-7 miles we would be going. I wasn’t sure what to expect for terrain but knew there would be some waterfalls. We had a lazy morning with breakfast and got dressed to hit the trails. We stopped at the headquarters and asked some questions about various trails. The trail system here was a bit confusing because everything is broken down into these small, named trails from .01 miles to .05 miles that when put together make a sweet 6.8 mile loop…… So we plotted our path that would take us by 3-4 waterfalls, through some caves, down in a small gorge and then a hike back past Rose Lake and along the rim looking down into the river.
We headed out to the car and packed up our lunch and snacks and were heading to the trailhead, when another woman with a child about Sienna’s age walked towards us asking if we had jumper cables…… Well of course we do, (I was so happy that I replaced my pair after lending mine out, never to be returned). We got her van all hooked up and NOTHING…… So we chatted for a bit and both said some silent prayers and tried again…… It tried but wouldn’t completely turn over. She went inside to call her dad who is a mechanic, to see if he could diagnose it. We both laughed about being moms on the road with small kids and neither of us had AAA! I watched the kiddos and said some more prayers. She surfaced from the headquarters and reported that he thought it could be the starter. We both laughed and disagreed. I told her I had a good feeling and she tried again…. Still the same thing. UGH!!!! So we both channeled our most positive energy, flipped every switch in the car, put it in gear and then back out of gear and tried one last time…… AHHHHHHHHHH YESSSSSS!!!! It started and we both jumped up and hugged each other so tight with the biggest smiles!! There was such a gentle beauty about this woman, my soul recognized something safe and comfortable…. We both relished in that magical moment for longer than necessary and then she headed to a garage to figure out a permanent solution and we headed off to the trails…… I walked away with such JOY in my heart for the gift of being there for someone else in a significant way!!! The kids traded a blow pop for a tootsie pop and left with smiles on their hearts as well for a generous exchange with a stranger…….. Another puzzle piece of hope in humanity was solidified for us all!
We started out at the Upper Falls and worked our way down past the Devil’s Bathtub (which is apparently a pretty popular name of any pool of water that is deep and about the size of a bathtub in nature) and down deeper still until we found the creek. There were caves to explore and we kept ohhhhhing and ahhhhhhhing at the beautiful limestone jetting up towards the sky from the creek. There were dramatic cliffs and caves were plentiful….. We discussed various rock faces and were tempted to climb up areas that looked like they had enough handholds and footholds to support our scramble. We decided to stay on the trail and came to Old Man’s Cave. It’s stunning to see these caves formed from water running over millions and millions of years ago……. We enjoyed the cool air coming out of the caves and hiked past the Sphinx Head and then hiked down to Lower Falls. We immediately stripped off our clothes (yes we had bathing suits on today) and flung ourselves into the watering hole and sat under the falls, feeling the water wash away any worries we may have had…… The water running off the rocks was actually much warmer from the suns rays than the pool we swam in, so we spent a lot of time under the falls. After about 30 minuets we headed off towards Cedar Falls which was about 2.5 miles down the path. At this point we lost the majority of people that were at the watering hole and we enjoyed every ounce of solitude.
We hiked past a few spots where the cliff would cover the path and a sprinkle of water would be dripping from above….. It was as if the cliffs were weeping that only the larger falls got the attention and not many people were venturing out to visit their beauty. We stopped at each one and thanked them all for sharing their secrets with us! We climbed over rocks and through tunnels and over more tree root stairs than I could keep track of and eventually heard the beautiful sound of falls…… We had arrived at Cedar Falls and to our complete surprise there was only one other couple there and upon our arrival they left. Again we tore off our clothes and quickly got into the water and let the falls cleanse our beings……. We ate lunch on a rock and soaked in the sunshine and drank all the beauty of the area!!! Our hike back was along the rim trail that hugged the top of the cliffs we traveled under on the way in. It was fun to see the drastically different perspectives. I kept reading about this “Gorge” we were on and my mind kept wandering back to the MAJESTIC New River Gorge and all the memories we created there. I kept reminding my self to stay present and to enjoy the unique beauty this place has to offer us as well. To appreciate this place in this moment and to unlock that magic that is born between each breath in every place we are.
We continued on our hike and stopped to enjoy the sights of Rose Lake. You simply couldn’t ask for a more gorgeous day!! We sang songs and played rhyming games and told each other stories as we hiked in the lush forest, (we even stopped to eat some wild mushrooms along the way) we were headed towards HOME. We got back and immediately were greeted by the drunken screams of our neighbors. Sienna ran to play with the girls and I mustered up the grace to walk over and chat for a moment. They were focused on slamming shots and chugging beers so chatting with me was not on their agenda. I obliged their cues and retreated back to my camper. I was pleasantly surprised when the warm energy of the woman from this morning showed up to say hello. It was such a welcomed exchange after the harsh energy I just left. We chatted for awhile and found out we had a lot in common and decided we would all go on a hike together tomorrow. So tonight I count the moments until quiet time in the campground and focus on inhaling peace and exhaling the annoyance. I shift my focus to the beautiful day I had and look forward to sharing time with a sweet new friend tomorrow…….
Love & Light Me