This event is only for the brave at heart...or anyone that likes to hike, likes the winter or just wants a different adventure...it is the annual Winter Hike held at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio. Held in the dead of winter, you never know what the weather will bring, but thousands of hikers look forward to the experience each year. It is a six-mile trek from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave and the scenery is truly a part of the draw. The hike features a continuous starts from 9 to 11 a.m. Hot bean soup is served midway at Cedar Falls for a donation and a shuttle bus is there to return hikers from Ash Cave to their car.
courtesy of Keith Krzeminski winter hiker
Hocking Hills is among the state's most popular winter destinations. There are a variety of short and easy hikes to longer adventures like the annual winter hike. There is something suitable for everyone to get a view of the gorgeous rock formations.
"So many people make New Year's resolutions that include getting in shape or enjoying live more, there's nothing better than a Hocking Hills hiking getaway to help them achieve those goals," said Hocking Hills Tourism Association Executive Director Karen Raymore.Winter is truly a magical time in the Hills and with a little preparation, visitors will enjoy a dazzling winter wonderland marked by soaring cliffs and gorges and waterfalls that freeze into beautiful crystal formations,"
TIPS FOR WINTER HIKERS... The Hocking Hills Tourism Association has compiled the following tips for winter hikers.
Stop by the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center for trail maps and travel suggestions. You can also borrow a Flip Video Camera.
Stay on the trail. Naturalists report that accidents only occur when hikers leave the trail.
If your feet are cold your whole body will be cold. Wear waterproof hiking boots designed for cold weather and good traction. Keep metal cleats in your backpack and attach to your boots if your boots if you encounter ice on the trail.
Wear multiple pairs of socks, as many as you can comfortably fit in your boots. You can always take some off it you get too warm. Carry extra dry socks in a waterproof bag in your backpack.
Use trekking poles or cross country ski poles for extra stability.
Stay hydrated. Pack water in your backpack. Energy bars are a good idea.
Cover your hands and face. A ski mask covers your entire face or can be rolled up to just cover your head and ears. Wear insulated gloves and carry an extra pair.
Layer clothes. While hiking you may become warm. This allows you to remove items as needed. If possible, carry extra dry thermal underwear in your pack.
Know the weather forecast and trails. Carry a compass, map and cell phone with you. Your cell phone may not work in all areas, but it's a good idea to have one. A hand-held GPS unit is also a great idea.
Don't hike alone. It's always more fun with friends. If you must hike alone, be sure to tell someone where you are hiking and what time you expect to finish.
Don't forget your camera. Winter in the hills provides dramatic scenery. You will want to share your photos with your friends and family on Facebook or Twitter. Show them how you braved the elements. But, in the case of the Hocking Hills Winter Hike...don't tell them about the bean soup and the shuttle!
The park is located 40 miles southeast of Columbus. It offers once in a lifetime experiences, that make every day feel like Saturday. There are many free activities for family members. There is plenty of affordable lodging facilities from camping, cabins to hotels and inns.
There is much more than hiking. With a total of 50 ziplines offered it is known as the zipline capital of the Midwest. There is canoeing, horseback riding, golf, spas, unique shops and more to explore.
The Winter Hike is traditionally held in January and in 2012 the date is Jan. 21. For more information on the park or dates of events visit www.1800Hocking.com or call 1-800-462-5464.