Along the Buckeye Trail – Table Rock

photo of Table Rock

Last Saturday (or lasterday as granddaughter Molly would say), Dave and I hiked the portion of the Buckeye Trail that runs between the rappelling area parking lot on Big Pine Rd. and Unger Rd. If you continue on, you reach Old Man’s Cave. We stopped at Unger Rd. and turned around to go back. In total we hiked 5 miles.

The weather was beautiful with a very unseasonable 60 degree temperature. We saw only two other people on the trail. Except for rappellers, we rarely run into much “traffic” in this area. In this section, the Buckeye Trail is also a bridle trail for most of the distance. We saw no horses or even evidence of horses yesterday.

To start, park at the rappelling area parking lot on Big Pine Road. It’s just a short distance past the entrance to Conkle’s Hollow. Cross the road, and look for the Buckeye Trail blue blazes on trees. Cross the bridge over the creek, then turn left at the registration stand to start the trail. Just follow the blue blazes up the hill, past and through some really cool rock formations.  When you see a 3 sided horse tie, you’re at the top.

Walk a little toward the horse tie, then turn around to look back and to the right. You should be able to see the Table Rock formation. Walk back a little toward where you exited the rocks, then turn left to continue on Buckeye Trail and along the top of the rappelling area. The trail needs some better marking because it is not clear where you should walk. By the way, this is not an area to bring little kids. In some places, the trail is close to the edge of the cliff.

Just keep going. Eventually the bridle trail splits off but you will rejoin it in a little while. After the trail turns away from the cliffs, it travels through a logged area that has been replanted with baby trees. Keep to the left and do not follow the logging road on the right. Although you will end up on Unger Road, it is not the Buckeye Trail. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we did! That logged area was disorienting.

As I mentioned, following this trail out and back is about 5 miles. There is a lot of uphill at the beginning but it is not a truly strenuous trail. It has some beautiful rock formations and a lovely hemlock forest. and it is seldom seen by most visitors to the Hocking Hills.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Laurelville Fruit Farm’s “Apple House”

Laurelville Fruit Farm cider

I had fun yesterday helping the Laurelville Elementary pre-school class visit the Apple House, run by the Laurelville Fruit Farm, which is just a short walk away from the school. I guess it’s an annual treat for the littlest students to take a tour and get an apple cider slushie. After enjoying the sweet treat, we visited the cold room, which lives up to its name, to see stacks upon stacks of apple containers. Then we got to see the apple sorter, which kicks out apples considered too small for sale and these are the ones that get crushed into cider. We saw the machinery for that process but it wasn’t running while we were there so the little people were not that impressed.

The Laurelville Fruit Farm is a family owned and run operation – for over 100 years. Some of their trees are not far from Marsh Hollow, atop the next ridge over. The Apple House is open 8 am to 5 pm 7 days a week. closed in the winter and is located on State Route 56 in Laurelville.  Great peaches in the summer.

I’ve visited the Apple House several times this September but did not pick up nearly enough Honey Crisp apples. Now they are out of these absolutely delicious sweet, crsip apples. However, they have plenty of other tasty varieties so be sure to stop by while you are in the Hocking Hills. And don’t forget to pick up some cider too!

Finally, here is the Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s WEEKEND UPDATE just in time to plan your Hocking Hills adventures for this week and beyond.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Treats at the Apple House & Thornybrook Farms

UPDATE 2016: while the Apple House is still offering great apples, slushies, etc., Thorneybrook Farms closed several years ago. They were open for a few weeks this spring to sell flower and vegetable plants but we are not sure if they will do that again next year.

The Apple House in Laurelville, on Route 56 in the village, has great apples, but is also offering apple slushies and parched corn. We haven’t tried them yet, but recent guests told us they are quite tasty.

About 4 miles east of Laurelville on Route 56, Thornybrook Farms has pumpkins, gourds, mums & other plants, delicious homemade cinnamon buns, apple dumplings and bread. They aren’t open every day, but usually Friday-Sunday.