Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Battle of the Gorgeous Gorges

Atop Blackhand Rock at Blackhand Gorge


Conkle's Hollow at Hocking Hills State Forest

Call it the battle of the gorgeous gorges, it's Blackhand Gorge vs. Hocking Hills State Forest.  Both got visited this week by my family and me.

Hocking Hills has amazing geological formations and a wide variety of different gorges and settings over miles and miles of expansive forest to explore.  Waterfalls, sandstone walls, recessed caves, streams, and, even, a massive house-like cave.  Who can soon forget the spectacular views?

It's easy to see why Hocking Hills is second only to Cedar Point in Ohio for tourist attractions.  Every Ohioan should see it.  Every Ohioan should know the story of Richard Rowe, the "old man" of Old Man's Cave.

Blackhand Gorge has more, though, and in a more compact area.

A river, tunnel, waterfalls, caves, gorge walls, a canal lock, and geological formations of all sorts are all visible at lesser-known Blackhand Gorge. 

Blackhand Gorge, though, has more than Richard Rowe to talk about the human aspect of the place.  It's got an Ohio history lesson like no other right there in one compact place.  In the span of less than a quarter of a mile, one can hear stories complete with visuals about canoing Indians coming to the place, canal boats, railroad freight cars, railroad passenger cars, and trucks and cars.  Throw in ruins of a nitroglycerin plant and a stone quarry too with a modern railroad trestle and oil rigs. It's amazing, really, all that's packed in there.

Add in the story of the "black hand" petroglyph and the weeping woman haunting the gorge.  Add in the things as yet unseen by the Platt family--the Cornell steps, indian mounds, and canal aqueduct.  Add in the Teays River story that explains how the gorge was formed, an amazing history story I haven't woven in to the lessons for my kids yet.

It's these stories and visuals of history that make my kids' visits to Blackhand Gorge completely unforgettable.

In the battle of the gorgeous gorges, it's Blackhand Gorge that wins in my book.

I asked my triplets which place was more memorable to them.  It was unanimous.  It really was.  Blackhand Gorge.

No comments:

Post a Comment