We did it.
THE tourist spot of touristy spots in Ohio–one that I have wanted to go to for the last 23 years.
Hocking Hills. Old Man’s Cave. Conkle’s Hollow.
Actually, we’ve almost gone twice now. And this time around, there was a huge chance that we would have missed it again.
We’ve almost missed it because it’s a big, big thing to go to Hocking Hills for a long weekend and rent a cabin. So the first time we went, last year, I looked around for cabins online, rented one, and–BOOM–we experienced Hocking Hills.
Except we didn’t.
See, I was under the impression that Hocking Hills was a large chunk of the southeast region of Ohio. Southeast Ohio is in the foothills of the Appalachain Mountains, so, yes–the whole region is gorgeous. And that first time we rented a cabin last year, we stayed just outside of Athens. The cabin had a hot tub, and DVD player, so the guys were happy there, while Clara and I wandered the nature preserve at the edge of the cabin. Everyone was happy with that arrangement, whining was minimal, and we’re looking forward to going back someday.
However, we did not actually go to Hocking Hills.
See, Hocking Hills refers to Hocking Hills State Park. By staying near Athens, we overshot Hocking Hills by about an hour. (However, that did make it both cheaper and possible to find a cabin with a hot tub with just a week’s notice.)
This year, way back in February, a dear friend’s daughter decided that she wanted to spend her birthday camping at Hocking Hills. As her family has a camper, they needed to book their site the day that electric site reservations were open to the public . . . in February. (It is possible to rent a non-electric site the week of your adventure.) In the end, I was about to rent a non-electric sites for my family, but then I noticed that cabins were available. Since my husband isn’t a big camper, and we had such good memories of last year’s cabin, I opted for the cabin.
However, it turns out that this cabin was not in Hocking Hills, but at Lake Hope State Park, a good 20-30 minutes’ drive from Hocking Hills. D’oh! There sure are a lot of state parks in this corner of Ohio!
Long story short, the cabin was lovely. We got to see our friends for the better part of Saturday. We went hiking with them, and we never could have braved the crowds to Old Man’s Cave or Conkle’s Hollow. (Honestly, the crowds weren’t THAT bad for a beautiful Saturday in mid-August . . . we’re just kind of lazy and always aim for the path of least resistance.)
But I’m sure glad we did try those famous trails of Hocking Hills. They were so worth it! The hemlocks, the rock formations, the cliffs . . . it sounds trite, but it truly was breathtaking! (Although the paths we stuck to weren’t too strenuous. But I’m sure you can find some that are around those parts!)
Next time, we’ll have to try a few more.
And we may even try the official Hocking Hills State Park campground. I heard they had a very enjoyable pool!