Hocking Hills State Park

The Rock House

Recently my family visited the Hocking Hills area of Ohio again, and here’s another installment of the sights to be seen there.  Previous visits to the area can be found at the following links:

Ohio Road Trip – The Hocking Hills, part 1.

Ohio Road Trip – The Hocking Hills, part 2.

Ohio Road Trip – The Hocking Hills, part 3.

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Driving to the hills

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A pumpkin patch

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The cabin that we stayed at- actually a nice country house

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All the amenities were in place!

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Gray Squirrels were plentiful

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Here’s a Hairy Woodpecker I spotted.  The birds were few and the sky was cloudy, making taking good pictures a challenge.

This vacation happened right before Christmas.  Unfortunately, it rained 2 of the 3 days we were there.  When I say it rained, it came down pretty hard.  48 hours before we got there, Ohio looked like a winter wonderland with inches of snow on the ground.  When we got there, it was rainy and soggy.  You can’t always get the weather to cooperate!  We brought along plenty of DVDs to watch, and we ordered pizza, and built a fire in the wood stove in the rec room, and we had a good time anyways.

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My brother’s dog, between naps and meals- he had a grand time too!

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We did get out for one hike.  Even though the rain had stopped, the ground was wet and saturated and muddy.  Not the best strolling conditions, but I’m glad we went out- we saw a very interesting place, not too many miles down the road.

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Our destination

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The path down to the rock cliffs showed off the traditional Eastern Hemlock trees common in the Hocking Hills

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Further down the hill, the path wound around a cliff face

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The steps weren’t always easy to navigate, particularly in the slick conditions- occasionally the steps were quite high

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Suddenly, the path bottomed out down below, and the Rock House cave became visible in the rock face (notice the 2 people standing just left of the center tree trunk)

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At the cave entrance, names have been carved into the rock over the centuries

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From the Hocking Hills Rock House webpage:

Rock House is unique in the Hocking Hills’ region, as it is the only true cave in the park. It is a tunnel-like corridor situated midway up a 150-foot cliff of Blackhand sandstone.

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Nature has hewn out of this cliff the Rock House complete with seven Gothic-arched windows and great sandstone columns which bear its massive roof. As one might imagine, Rock house was used for shelter by past visitors. Hominy holes, small recesses in the rear wall of Rock House, served as baking ovens for Native Americans using the cave. By building a fire in the small recesses, the rock became heated on all sides, and food could be bakes in this crude manner. Further evidence of past use is the presence of chiseled out troughs or holding tanks found in the stone floor. When rainfall is abundant, springs of water permeate through the porous sandstone and flow into these troughs fashioned by man and, when full, continue across the floor and out of the windows. In this way, residents were able to maintain a small water supply in Rock House.

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 According to local folklore, other not so welcome visitors frequented Rock House. Robbers, horse thieves, murderers and even bootleggers earned Rock House its reputation as Robbers Roost.

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Pigeons lived up on ledges in the cavern roof (barely visible above)- this is how they lived before humans built structures for them to roost upon

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Back up through the evergreens to the parking lot far above- the Rock House was very impressive

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Up near the parking lot was an area where a hotel stood in the 19th century:

Rock House has a colorful past and has long been a popular tourist attraction. In 1835, Colonel F.F. Rempel of Logan erected a 16-room hotel compete with ballroom, livery stable and a U.S. Post Office. The hotel stood where the picnic shelter is today.

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On the way home, we stopped at a favorite restaurant

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The holiday cheer was evident, even if the snow was gone!

There’s plenty of nature and history around your area- go out and find it, you may be surprised a what you’ll see!