Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JUNE!!!! Enjoy a group of one of my favorite Day Lilies in our yard. Meet "INDIAN GIVER".

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ohio Trip with Good Friends

George and I really got to experience the gorgeous Autumn COLORS  this past week---AND  we enjoyed being with our good friends,  Patti and NEAL.   The four of us have been good friends for awhile --and really enjoy traveling together since our interests are almost identical!!!!!  I hope you check out Neal's blog --which is always interesting since they also do alot of traveling and he takes excellent pictures.

This year,  we met them at Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio, on 10/15/12.  George and I had been there a year ago--but were anxious to go back and share this beautiful area with Neal and Patti.   It turns out that we picked the best time possible to be there.  The weather was PERFECT and the Autumn Colors were some of the best I have seen in awhile.  We had a fabulous time!!!!

Today I will just give you an overview of our trip ---with more details to follow on upcoming posts.   The picture above shows some of the gorgeous Fall colors we saw on our trip from Tennessee to Ohio.  Fall is definitely a fabulous time of the year!!!!  Be sure to click on the photos to see larger views!!!!

The four of us all love hiking.  Our first hike on 10/16/12 was to the ROCKBRIDGE STATE NATURE PRESERVE (near Logan, Ohio).   We had a great time --and the natural bridge is awesome.  George took the picture above of me standing on the bridge...

After that,  we hiked to CANTWELL CLIFFS (in the Hocking Hills State Park).  Here is a picture of  our friends,  Patti and Neal, climbing on the gorgeous rock formations along the cliff area.

After leaving Cantwell,  we visited the ROCK HOUSE  (also in the Hocking Hills State Park).  The 'house' actually was a cave which we could hike into.   I took this picture while inside the cave.  If you look carefully,  you can see George in the distance... The colors inside the 'house' were so pretty.  There were pigeons inside the cave --but we didn't see any bats.

Lastly,  on 10/16/12,  we hiked to CONKLE'S HOLLOW (Hocking Hills State Park) ---which had been my favorite place in 2011..   However,  this time it wasn't nearly as pretty as I had remembered it the first time...  This area probably needs to be visited in late Spring and Summer in order to catch the green beauty all around... Don't get me wrong---it was still pretty,  but just not the 'paradise'  I had remembered from 2011...  The picture above shows some of the ferns still alive in that area.

On 10/17/12,  we first headed to OLD MAN'S CAVE (in the Hocking Hills State Park).  This is the most popular area in this state park --so we got an early start in order to get ahead of the crowds...   Because this area is so popular,  it is obvious that the state park personnel keep this area in tip-top shape.   But,  to us,  some of the other areas around Hocking are JUST as beautiful as this one.  We did, however,  enjoy it ---so George pulled out the tripod and took our pictures together while at 'waterless'  Upper Falls in the Old Man's Cave area. 

After leaving Old Man's Cave,  we visited CEDAR FALLS.   That was also a nice hike but like most of the other waterfalls in the park,  there was no water at this one either (except some trickles).   We did however see some beautiful rock formations including the one pictured above.

After that,  we visited  ASH CAVE (also in the Hocking Hill State Park).   Again,  no water in the waterfall much (just dripping) ---but the cave area was beautiful.   Here is a picture of George walking around in that HUGE 'cave' area....  This rock-cropping area is hard to capture in a photo since it is such a large area.  (I'd love to see this area and waterfall --when there is alot of water.)

We had a little time left on the 17th,  so after leaving Hocking Hills State Park,  we visited LAKE LOGAN.....  What a joy that was!!!!!  Besides seeing more gorgeous Autumn COLOR,  we saw SWANS and DUCKS....  We sat by the lake for a long time just admiring the beauty around us!!!! The picture above shows the 3 swans along the lake.

Finally,  on the 18th,  it was time to head back home.  George and I love driving the back roads....  That day we saw a covered bridge,  lots of farmland --including barns,  and more Fall colors as we got back into Tennessee..  The GPS took us home through the CATOOSA WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA on some unpaved roads... What a gorgeous drive --and even though we didn't see any wildlife,  we did see some beautiful colors (as evidenced by the photo above)...

It's hard to pick a highlight of this trip --but I guess I would say that it was just being with such great friends... I love sharing nature with friends who get as excited as I do about God's beautiful world...   The only 'low' point would be seeing no water in the waterfalls --but that didn't keep us from having a wonderful time.

I really enjoyed the HIKING ---and finished one day with over 16,000 steps on my pedometer and another day with almost 12,000...  At my stride,  that means that I walked almost 10 miles in two days!!!!  Yeah Rah!!!!

Hope you had a great week.  The Fall colors here in Tennessee are getting prettier with each passing day... Oh --how I love AUTUMN.