February 5, 2012

Ash Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio

Yesterday I had an extra few hours on my hands as my visit with Bryce was cut short due to him having a headache. So, I decided to take the long way home. After a hectic week, it was lovely… I wanted to share it with you.

This farm can be found on Rt 22, just west of Circleville. I've driven past it in all seasons of the year and in all types of weather conditions. It always looks beautiful to me. Often there are brown and black horses grazing in the pasture in the foreground, and there is a pond as well--all seen from the main road and as I drive past acres of crops in the summertime, I think of what it must be to live on a farm like this. To grow up or grow old there.

After  our visit, I dropped Bryce off in Washington Court House and drove eastward, back down Rt 22, to take his friend to her home. I stopped, though, to take a photo of this barn. The paint is weathered now, but during the Ohio Bientennial in 2003 it was fresh and bright (see Pickaway County Bicentennial Barn) One barn in each county of our state was painted with this emblem. (See "Ohio Bicentennial Barns")

Here is more info:

To celebrate and commemorate Ohio's 200th anniversary as a state, the Ohio Bicentennial Commission selected artist Scott Hagan to paint at least one barn in each of Ohio's eighty-eight counties with the bicentennial logotype. The project began in 1997 and was completed in September 2002. Hagan sketched the image by hand on each barn before painting it. No two barns are exactly alike. Hagan completed all of the work himself and used one hundred paintbrushes and 645 gallons of paint. As Hagan traveled across Ohio, he drove approximately sixty-five thousand miles with his truck. Several people followed Hagan from barn to barn as he completed his work. Several journalists have completed stories on the barns and people from across the United States have come to see them. All of the barns survived to the bicentennial celebration in 2003 with one exception. In 1998, a tornado destroyed the Ottawa County barn. Hagan painted a second one in the county in 2001. Source: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=1725

Several years ago I met the author of a wonderful book, Ohio's Bicentennial Barns, documenting these barns and farms. If you love barns and farms, or know someone who does, this book would make a great gift. I bought one for myself and one for my sister, who loves barns too.

After dropping my son, Bryce's, friend off in Circleville, I took this photo of a house I liked the look of…

... and also this "Speedy Muffler Man" sign. 

Then, I decided to return to Athens from Circleville by way of Rt. 56 because I'd never driven the entire way on that road before and wanted to see how the land transformed from flat-to-slightly-rolling roads of Circleville (aka "Roundtown") to the caves, cliffs, forests, and winding, steep roads through Hocking Hills  with Ash Cave, Old Man's Cave, Conkles Hollow and Cantwell Cliffs, and to the Appalachian Foothills of Athens, where Mark and I live. 

But first, a political statement by a landowner along this road.

After I left Circleville (located in Pickaway County, Ohio) and started on my way on a new-to-me road, I passed by an historical marker on the side of the road, in front of a farm. Should I turn around and go see what it is? Well, there was a small semi-circular drive in front of it; how could I not stop.

Within a small wrought-iron fence were some neatly trimmed bushes and a rock with the following text on a brass plate:

Near this spot the famous treaty was made between Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia and Chief Cornstalk of the Shawnees and allied tribes in October 1754.  

This camp was named "Charlotte" after the queen of England.

Erected by Pickaway Plains Charter. Daughters of the American Revolution. 1774-1828

In the background you can see the farm. There was also a lovely farmhouse (with a big front porch), but there were cars in front of it, and I didn't want to insert modern life into this scene. The barn in the background had "Camp-Charlotte Farm" painted on it in nice lettering. Everything about this scene suggested respect for the history of the area. Here is more information from the historical marker. 

I didn't realize at the time that there was text on both sides! I will have to return one day to find out the beginning of the story! Or, let's just go to the Internet for more info…

Lord Dunmore's War was a confrontation between colonial Virginia and the Native Americans of the Ohio Country in 1774. 
In 1768, the Iroquois Indians and the English signed the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. In this agreement, the Iroquois gave all of their lands east and south of the Ohio River to the English. While the Iroquois agreed to give up this land, most Ohio Native Americans did not, including the Delaware Indians, the Mingo Indians, and the Shawnee Indians. 
White settlers immediately moved into the region. By the spring of 1774, violent encounters had taken place in the disputed area as the Native Americans, especially the Shawnee, tried to drive the English colonists back to the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. On May 3, 1774, a group of English colonists, seeking vengeance, killed eleven Mingo Indians. At least two of them were relatives of Chief Logan, leader of the Mingos at Yellow Creek (near modern-day Steubenville). Upon hearing of the murders, many Mingos and Shawnees demanded retribution. Some, like the Shawnee leader Cornstalk, urged conciliation. Cornstalk and most other Shawnee natives promised to protect English fur traders in the Ohio Country from retaliatory attacks since the traders were innocent in this attack. 
Logan, however, was not kept from his vengeance,  Shawnee and Mingo leaders  did not stop him from attacking British colonists living south and east of the Ohio River.Logan took approximately two dozen warriors to seek revenge on the colonists in western Pennsylvania. There, his followers killed thirteen settlers before returning back west of the Ohio River. Captain John Connolly, commander of Fort Pitt, immediately prepared to attack the Ohio Country natives. John Murray, Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, offered his colony's assistance. Dunmore hoped to prevent Pennsylvania's expansion into modern-day West Virginia and Kentucky. He wished to place Virginia militiamen in these regions. He also hoped to open these lands to white settlement. 
In August 1774, Pennsylvania militia entered the Ohio Country and quickly destroyed seven Mingo villages, which the Indians had abandoned as the soldiers approached. At the same time, Lord Dunmore sent one thousand men to the Kanawha River in modern-day West Virginia to build a fort and to attack the Shawnees. Cornstalk, who had experienced a change of heart toward the white colonists as the soldiers invaded the Ohio Country, sent nearly one thousand warriors to drive Dunmore's force from the region. The forces met on October 10, 1774, at what became known as the Battle of Point Pleasant. After several hours of intense fighting, the English drove Cornstalk's followers north of the Ohio River. Dunmore, with a large force of his own, quickly followed the Shawnees across the river into the Ohio Country. Upon nearing the Shawnee villages on the Pickaway Plains north of modern-day Chillicothe, Ohio, and near what is now Circleville, Ohio, Dunmore stopped. From his encampment named Camp Charlotte, Dunmore  requested that the Shawnees come to him and discuss a peace treaty. The Shawnees agreed, but while negotiations were under way, Colonel Andrew Lewis and a detachment of Virginia militia that Dunmore had left behind at Point Pleasant crossed the Ohio River and destroyed several Shawnee villages. Fearing that Dunmore intended to destroy them, the Shawnees immediately agreed to terms before more blood was shed. 
As a result of this war, some Shawnee Indians agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768), and promised to give up some of their lands east and south of the Ohio River. This was the first time that some of the natives who actually lived in the Ohio Country agreed to relinquish some of their land. In addition, these Shawnees also promised to return their white captives and to no longer attack English colonists traveling down the Ohio River.
Source: Lord Dunmore's War and the Battle of Point Pleasant", Ohio History Central, July 1, 2005, http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=514 

As I continued on my way on this damp February day, I passed by this large animal. I turned around, put my car in park and shot this photo through my back window. Then I also saw her friends. I didn't know what type of cows these were, so I looked online for images of cow breeds. I then gave up, hoping you, Dear Reader, might know cows better than I. 

Continuing on Rt. 56, I came to the sign for Rt 159 west to Chillicothe and realized I was about to drive on a section of Rt 56 that I had been on recently (between Rt 159 and Rt 180) and taken photographs. Those can be seen at this link "Small  Towns, Farm Towns: Dec. 26, 2011."

Now, continuing on the roads through Hocking Hills, west of Logan and north of Nelsonville, I came across this lovely creek. Though the trees are bare of their spring buds, summer leaves, or autumn colors, there is something beautiful to me in the browns of the dirt, dried grass, water, and mud. It was not cold and things looked "soft" to me. Like the earth was offering a comfortable bed, an earthy duvet to consider. The photo is poor, due to being taken through the front window of my car (I was on a narrow road), but you get the idea.

Happy to see the sign for Ash Cave, I parked in the parking lot, thankful to know that I would be able to walk the hard-surfaced trail. It only a quarter mile to get to the cave (which isn't really a cave in the sense of dark, enclosed place that would alert my claustrophobic leanings), and there were other people there as well. A group of four women, two couples, a man and his black labrador, and a young couple who asked me to take their photo in front of the waterfall. 


This hard-surfaced trail meanders one-quarter mile along a stream which sculpted the sandstone gorge terminating at majestic Ash Cave. Early settlers named this rock shelter for the huge mounds of campfire ashes that blanketed its floor, testimony to the generations of Native Americans who took Shelter beneath its 700-foot rock ceiling.

There are three trails from the parking lot. The center trail which is accessible. And trails that run on the upper ridges of either side of the cave. (Here is a link to Visitor Info.) I've never been on those trails. I did one time walk the upper ridge of Cantwell Cliffs and it was beautiful, but I am one who likes to be down, looking up at the trees and sky and upper edges of the cliffs, and looking at the bubbling brook, full of small stones, which made me think of author and poet Madeline Sharples and her poem "A Stone Called Son." 

Something about how trees grow around the rocks inspires me. There is a lesson here for us humans, I think…

A small bridge over the brook reveals this stone wall, which I liked very much. I've always been drawn to stone walls and stone buildings as well. 

We have had a warmer than usual winter, and here is moss adorning this stump in a wrap of green velvet.

I am not in Florida any longer, but the sand here leaves evidence of the water's movement. Note how clear and clean the water looks. May it always stay that way, whatever our politicians decide regarding "fracking."

Nature uses everything. Nothing is lost. Nothing  truly dies because it becomes part of the present and future landscape. What was tall falls to the ground, but becomes the earth for future trees. Again, there is a lesson in this process for us…

This photo will give you a good idea of what our cliffs are made of: sandstone. It is as if time and elements write their presence on the rock itself.

Here is the sign at the entrance to Ash Cave, Ohio's largest stone recess, stretching 700 feet across and rising 90 feet high. (click on the image to enlarge)

It had been a rough week and I'm not ashamed to say I imagined taking a blanket and pillow and curling up inside this little hidey-hole!

I liked the way the water dripping down the front of this section glistened even on this overcast day.

I wanted to take a panoramic shot, so pulled my iPhone out and using the Pano app took this photo. (click on the image to enlarge)

Here is Ash Cave and I included the young couple here (who asked me to take their photo by the falls) so that you could see the scale. 

As I approached the cave I could hear the sound of a dove and soon she was alighting from the indentations in the upper left, far above my head and too fast for me to capture, her light wings fluttering agains the hard stone. What a wonderful place she has chosen to call home.

Here is the waterfall. This photo does not capture the beautiful blue-tinted pool of water… I've also put a video up that shows the colors and sounds as well. The link is RIGHT HERE.

I've been reading a lot about Interstitial Lung Disease lately and fibrous lung disease (which I, thankfully, do not have) and how the disease causes a "honeycomb" affect in the lungs. This view of the stone reminded me of the photos of lungs I saw online.

This tree trunk reminded me of a cat's paw, complete with claws!

I thought it would be cool to compare the intelligence of the internet with the wisdom of the forest… but "no connection available…"

I've never seen a tree trunk like this. Like the eye of a needle. One trunk at the base, then split, then rejoined. Like friends who reunited after being apart…

One time I decorated a cake and all the frosting sort of slide off and these rocks reminded me of that. But they also reminded me of a walk I took with Daniel Rohn, my printmaking teacher during my senior year as a fine arts student at Kent State University (1978). Mr. Rohn took the class for a walk in a park and pointed out all the wonderful formations of tree trunks, noting the "maleness" and "femaleness" of the shapes. I wonder what he would say about these sensual rocks…

Here is a wonderful article on what Mr. Rohn did after retiring from teaching… http://cozine.com/1998-october/dan-rohns-platinum-prints/

Here is a snippet of paper I have kept all these years, when he was trying to help me find my way as an artist… All this is his writing, and his perceptions. I was drawing very realistically at the time, in pencil… lots of interiors of antique stores and still lifes… I hadn't yet found my voice. (I am now writing a fantasy novel, however, so perhaps I haven't changed that much!)

(Here is a post that shows a photo of me at Kent State preparing for my Senior Show. Daniel Rohn was my advisor.)

I am so glad I took the time to drive "another way" home. Glad I stopped at Ash Cave. Glad I walked back to the falls. And then I came home to this sweet little dog, who sniffed my clothes and wondered where I'd been…

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

Tyler at Old Man's Cave

12-26-2010: Routes 22 and 33 in SW and SE Ohio

All photos © 2012 by Janice Phelps Williams. All rights reserved.