Anticipation bubbled internally as the truck rolled to a stop in the gravel. Visions of web reviews unfurled and a slow grin was the only outwardly sign of my cognition. The now standard ritual of preparedness, quickly assimilated, gave forth at last towards the blue blazes of this section of the Buckeye Trail.
Prior passages of this trail have been quite varied based on terrain yet this one had a “feel” of dim excitement.
Pushing past the gate, the trail-head slowly leads into a small forest of young saplings densely packed along a ridge top. The trail was still cluttered with debris from a recent intense rain storm. A hundred yards later we emerged into a more mature forest area and began slowly descending along the ridge towards a draw crossing that still trickled down a recently flushed cascade of sandstone “steps”. Once clear, the forest began to unfold its enticing beauty.
We continued our descent into the main drainage of the hollow as we began passing intriguing bedrock formations likely hundreds of millions of years formed.
Dropping down farther and farther onto the trail, these sandstone monoliths established a towering allure, quite magnificent to behold. Exploring various relics we bring to pass deep crevices, awkward slumps, hemlocks as acrobats clinging against gravity with entwined roots, the implausible bear dens and ferns crisscrossing wherever the eyes explored.
Crepuscular rays beamed down as the well-formed trail continued dropping toward the stream-bed drainage. Large gorges possessing multiple ledges towering above us cascade over verdant mosses.
Massive hemlocks began to give way to more deciduous hardwoods. Huge unscathed timeworn birch trees reigned over wide clearings. One has a distinctive feel of a climate much colder when glaciers intruded close to here.
We reach the main stream-bed that has drained this hollow for millennia. Faint traces of an old roadbed gives rise to visions of old trappers and homesteaders in much simpler times. Standing in the gravel beds of the stream, the variations of sandstone remnants and various bits of gravel and detritus can fascinate the mind endlessly.
Finally we pull ourselves out of this reverie and cross the creek bed and head up slope, again following the blue traces. Soon we reach a mid elevation on the opposite ridge and begin trekking with great views both below and above us as we continue on this sturdy trail surface.
The sun slowly fades as we reach a turnaround point that reverses course and returns us just before dusk to the original trail-head. We have explored half of this stretch and are looking forward to our return to complete this trail and begin to capture the many moments and locations each of us now have mentally reserved for exploration.
More in a bit….
Dusty & Val