Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Evidence of Bigfoot in Southeastern Ohio

Bigfoot Newcomerstown

This large Bigfoot outside The Feed Barn keeps an eye on customers.

Bigfoot captures the attention and following of many residents of Southeastern Ohio. Frequent meetings are held all year with devotees telling of their latest sightings and experiences with the illusive Bigfoot.

Recently an employee of Salt Fork State Park saw something large stand up along the road as she was driving past Hosak’s Cave in the park. This Bigfoot ran into the woods, but left behind a large footprint, which the Bigfoot investigators made into a plaster cast.

Bigfoot Crossing

It’s no surprise that in the Salt Fork Lake area you might find a Bigfoot Crossing.

Each spring, Salt Fork State Park holds Ohio Bigfoot Conference, which draws hundreds to listen to the latest information about Sasquatch, another name for Bigfoot. This year those dates are May 19 and 20. Cliff Barackman from Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Bigfoot Orrs

Vicky Veselenak shares a passion for Bigfoot with her dad, Marvin Orr.  You can have lunch with Bigfoot at Orr’s Drive-in.

Several area businesses use Bigfoot as a drawing card. In Byesville, Marvin Orr at Orr’s Drive-In placed a statue of Bigfoot beside their picnic tables. Marvin and his daughters frequently attend Bigfoot meetings and conferences. After hearing all the stories told by ordinary people, it makes them believe there’s ‘something’ out there.

Daughter Vicky used the Bigfoot theme in her classroom in Rolling Hills for years. Her bulletin boards were alive with his image, wooden Bigfoots made great hall passes and she designed her own six foot tall Bigfoot with a jigsaw. Stop by Orr’s and have lunch with Bigfoot.

BF The Feed Barn

Three Bigfoot statues draw attention to The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown. Doyle Donathan, manager, enjoys sharing stories about this mysterious creature.

The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown displays and sells Bigfoot statues and tee shirts because of all the sightings in the area. Recently, a young boy was crossing the railroad tracks down by the Tuscarawas River and checked both ways to make sure no train was coming. No train in sight, but he did see a Bigfoot step across the track easily with one long stride.

Bigfoot Caldwell

Denny Crock keeps customers watching as he frequently dresses Bigfoot as a snowboarder, fisherman, or even ready for Jamboree in the Hills. It’s difficult to find his shirt size – 7X.

In Noble County at the Caldwell Food Center Emporium, you will be greeted by Bigfoot at the entrance to the parking lot. Denny Crock, owner, knew people talked about Bigfoot frequently so wanted a concrete statue at his store. This 6’2”, 2400 pound creature attracts much attention.

Bigfoot Salt Fork

This carved, restrained, wooden statue hangs out in Wildlife Lounge at Salt Fork Lodge.

Out at Salt Fork Lodge, Ohio Bigfoot Conference donated a carved wooden statue since their meeting provides Salt Fork Lodge its largest conference of the year. Rooms and cabins are filled to capacity this weekend and the Lodge Gift Shop has record sales with their wide range of memorabilia.

Bigfoot Gift Shop

The hottest items at the Salt Fork Lodge Gift Shop are tee shirts. But they also have              “Bigfoot I Believe” wine,  action figures, games and much, much more.

Nothing But Chocolate will give you a sweet taste of Bigfoot as she has his footprints for sale – in chocolate of course. Amanda makes these delicious footprints for the Bigfoot Conference and for State Park Conventions held at Salt Fork.

Local investigations began with Don Keating in 1980. He wrote an article about a sighting in the Newcomerstown area. Since then Don had organized the Ohio Bigfoot Conferences at Salt Fork State Park until he recently stepped back to devote more time to another interest – meteorology.

Bigfoot Doug

Doug Waller, local Bigfoot investigator and enthusiast, has written two books about the group’s experiences.

Doug Waller speaks frequently around the area about the legendary Bigfoot. The founder of Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation, Doug and his team tell about the activities and sightings of this mysterious creature.

Ideas range from an ape-like animal to an extraterrestrial being. The Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being, including it on their totem poles.  The Delaware Indians cautioned residents here long ago to put out food offerings for “the wild ones in the woods”.

Bigfoot sign

This clever sign always brings a smile to the face of Bigfoot fans.

Each person is free to explore the ideas he finds probable. But when you hear a scratch on the wall, smell something terrible outside your door, or see an eight-foot tall creature lumber off into the woods, you just might become a believer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Teacher Learns About Polar Bears in Icy Arctic

bobbie-polar-bears

Sometimes even polar bears just want to have fun.

Not everyone would consider sleeping in a tent on the ice the perfect vacation, but Bobbie Henderson thought it a great adventure. Over the past few years, she has made not one, but two trips to the far, far north just to get up close and personal with polar bears.

While she’s had a long-time passion for animals, one day while teaching an eighth grade class, they watched a film about polar bears. At the end of the film, it told about possible tours on the tundra where you could see polar bears just outside your window. Bobbie was hooked.

bobbie-three-polar-bears-001-2

Three polar bears relax in the setting sun on Hudson Bay.

Her first polar bear expedition headed to Churchill on Hudson Bay in the far north of Manitoba, Canada. Northern style shops lined the streets of this small town. Sirens went off to alert people when a polar bear came to visit. They even had a polar bear jail, where they placed tranquilized bears until they could be taken back to the wilds by helicopter.

At Churchill, a group of 32 boarded Tundra Buggies set high off the ground to take them exploring. Once they reached camp, the group settled in for a week of visiting polar bears.

Headquarters consisted of a stationary area with seven modular sections. Camp here was spartan, but comfortable…with excellent food. Showers were limited to two and a half minutes as all water had to be heated, while outhouses stood on the edge of camp. Overall, a relaxed atmosphere.

bobbie-window-view

The highlight of the trip for Bobbie was when this polar bear stuck its nose in the tundra buggy window right beside her.

Half the group would go polar bear watching in the morning, while the other half went in the afternoon. On one of these trips, windows were left down to take better pictures. The thrill of the trip for Bobbie was when one polar bear, 10′ tall, actually stuck its nose in the window right where she sat. She could have reached out and touched him…but took a picture instead.

bobbie-polar-bear

Forty polar bears were sighted on her first expedition.

One strict rule here states: “Don’t even think about feeding the bears.” Feeding was discouraged as it would make the bears too familiar with humans, perhaps causing both of them problems. If anyone did feed a bear, they were taken from camp in a helicopter at their expense. Bears find their own food and enjoy a steady diet of seals. They can eat a hundred pounds of blubber in a single sitting.

On that first expedition, Bobbie saw 40 polar bears in their natural environment. There’s a reason that Manitoba is called “The Polar Bear Capital of the World”.

bobbie-tents

Their yellow tents were the only sign of civilization in this Arctic wilderness.

Her second polar bear adventure began in Nunavut near Pond Inlet on the northern tip of Baffin Island. Now she was 700 K north of the Arctic Circle! This small town said their biggest problems were drugs, family abuse, and alcohol. They did have a couple television sets and computers, which broadcast in their native Inuktitut language.

Snow machines pulled them to camp this time on 18′ komitak sleds…three people to a sled. The ride took eight bumpy hours. Camp consisted of bright yellow tents on the ice with an insulated pad underneath and a very warm sleeping bag. Native Eskimos served as guides and someone stood guard around the clock to make certain no bears invaded the camp.

bobbie-tundra-001-2

Bobbie, their guide Dave and Jenny from Australia listen through hydrophones to the world beneath the ice.

The reflection of the midnight sun off the ice gave members the worst sunburns on their faces that they could imagine. They would reach outside their tents at night to get ice to cool off their burning face.

Perhaps it was due to the weather, but on this trip they only saw four polar bears. They first faced blizzard conditions but by the end of the week, it started to rain, so ice was melting in spots especially along the crevices. Now the komitak sleds had to jump the crevices making for a very rough and wet ride back to town.

Living on the frozen ocean, they explored ancient ruins of the Thule people, followed tracks of polar bears in the snow, built snowmen and created snow angels. Each day provided another unique adventure, which made this magical place a once in a lifetime experience.

bobbie-classroom

Ms Henderson brought back her experiences and used them in the classroom.

Upon her return, Bobbie shared her Arctic adventures in her Florida classroom. She used the trip to teach spelling, vocabulary, map skills and wildlife conservation. Bringing personal experiences to the classroom always enhances learning. Now she enjoys sharing her experiences as a substitute teacher here in southeastern Ohio.

bobbie-collectibles

Her house is overflowing with polar bear memorabilia.

While Bobbie was glad she did both trips, she wants to return to Churchill again because she saw more bears there, and camping was a little more relaxing. Since she likes cold weather, Greenland, the North Pole, and Arctic regions are places she would enjoy visiting.

bobbie

Bobbie volunteers at Dickens Victorian Village, where she dresses as a lovely Victorian lady.

Animals like Bobbie. At her home near Cambridge, she keeps several dogs, cats, and rare macaws. Deer hang out at her back deck. But if you happen to see a polar bear there, it’s just Bobbie in her polar bear costume.

bobbie-polar-bear-costume

Sometimes she enjoys dressing as a polar bear.

Summer Relaxation at Seneca Lake

Step away from the hustle and bustle of life. Relax as you drift along on the placid water of Seneca Lake, the third largest inland lake in Ohio, touching Guernsey and Noble Counties. Not many places still provide such a peaceful atmosphere.

Sailing along on Seneca Lake

Sailing along on Seneca Lake

Built in 1937 to control floods on the Seneca Branch of Wills Creek, today Seneca Lake Park provides the perfect place for a permanent camping spot, a getaway weekend, or just an evening escape.You can hear the pride in their voices as residents and frequent campers tell about the wonders of Seneca Lake.

Here you can find entertaining things to occupy your time, or sit in the shade of a tree and watch the world go by. Being at Seneca Lake makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of this regular busy world, and been given permission to unwind.

Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake under a cloud filled sky

When you think about going to the lake, boating, fishing, and swimming come to mind. And those things are all part of the charm of Seneca Lake, which some call East Central Ohio’s Playground. But there’s more.

Seneca Lake Fish Hatchery

Aerial view of the Senecaville Fish Hatchery and its 37 ponds.

Here you will also find the Senecaville State Fish Hatchery, which supplies fish- over twenty million in April alone – to over fifty different lakes as well as the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers. They have 37 one-acre ponds where walleye, saugeye, hybrid striped bass and channel catfish are raised.

Their campground has the honor of being the fullest campground in the Muskingum Watershed District. Once people discover this treasure, they come back frequently. There are a limited number of rental cabins, so bring along your tent or camper for a pleasurable stay.

Seneca Lake Beach

Families enjoy the activities of the beach area.

The recently installed water toy makes the beach even more fun for the children.It resembles the American Ninja Warrior Course and keeps the children squealing with pleasure.

Moms can sit under the shade of a tree while keeping an eye on the children. A concession stand nearby provides cool drinks and snacks as needed. If you decide to have a family gathering, a shaded picnic area complete with grills and picnic tables is located very close to the beach.

Their campground has the honor of being the fullest campground in the Muskingum Watershed District. Once people discover this hidden treasure, they come back again and again. There are a limited number of cabins for rent,so you might want to bring along your tent or camper for a pleasurable stay.

Seneca Lake Pontoon

Rent a pontoon boat at the marina for an enjoyable ride around the lake.

Seneca Lake is a Boater’s Paradise, where courtesy is practiced on the water. There are some special places that are only available by boat, such as a boater’s beach, volleyball sand bar and picnic on the Big Island.

If you need a way to get out on the water for the day, Seneca Lake Marina has pontoons, kayaks, canoes and fishing boats available for rent. With 3,550 acres of water, ski boats, jet skis, and sail boats will most likely drift past. You can rent a boat for a couple hours or a few days.

Seneca Lake Marina

Dockside Restaurant provides a great place to relax here at the Marina.

Need a vacation from cooking? Dockside Restaurant provides a menu where you might enjoy Big Island Nachos, Camp Fire Fries, or BBQ delights from their smoker which are sure to please your family. Have a delicious meal while sitting out on the deck with a grand view of the lake.

Seneca Lake Crane 2

A sand crane takes a stroll along the water’s edge.

While there you might spot the nest of an osprey, watch a sand crane feed along the water’s edge, or see numerous varieties of ducks and geese floating along with the boats. Wonder what animals are lurking in the surrounding woods?

The best feature of Seneca Lake may be that it’s family friendly. Everyone looks out for everyone else. For those who enjoy time near or on the water, Seneca Lake Park is a great place for a family picnic  or a hike on one of their many hiking trails. It’s one of those special places that families return to year after year.

Be soothed by the water of Seneca Lake sometime soon.

 

 

Cascading Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park

Cedar Falls 1

Welcome sign to Cedar Falls

Should I or shouldn’t I?  That was the question upon approaching the one hundred steps down to Cedar Falls. The naturalist said they were easy steps so with the help of my walking stick, the walk down began.

Cedar Falls steps

Looking back to the top

From the very top, the roar of the falls could be heard distinctly. That brought a smile to my face as several trips to the falls in previous years were made in the summer time when the water was not running with much force.

In Hocking Hills State Park, it was also surprising how many others were looking for that peaceful walk through nature. Step  by step the bottom got closer, but the sound of the falls got farther away. Well-placed benches along the way provided not only a place to rest, but a place to meditate and connect with nature.

Cedar Falls flowers

Tiny white spring blossoms

Since this trip was solo, there was no need to hurry so it was possible to leisurely enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest along the way. Springtime just had its beginnings that day and small flowers were popping up through the ground.

Cedar Falls Ferns

Fern and moss covered rock

Ferns were coming back to life and the trees were budding. A good day to be out for a walk.

Cedar Falls stream

Bridge over the stream

To be in nature is to know peace. At the bottom of the stairs, a path along the stream, called Queer Creek by the early settlers, brought relaxation, because this far from the falls the stream ran quietly. But the nearer the path came to the falls, the stream became a bubbling brook with water rippling over the stones. Seemed like a great place to build a cabin.

Cedar Falls cliffs

Surprisingly high cliffs

This remote area was bound by steep rock walls and grottos. While it may be a wild and lonely place, its beauty made the trip worthwhile.

Cedar Falls

Powerful Cedar Falls

After crossing the gentle bubbling brook, a path led closer to the waterfalls. Around a bend, it could be heard full force. As the stream tumbled over the face of Blackhand Sandstone, the amazing force of the water was displayed. A large rock platform or another small bridge made perfect places to take pictures of the waterfalls and drink in their beauty and power.

Cedar Falls roots

Roots for support

While standing at the largest waterfall, a hawk spread its wings and flew overhead as if to welcome everyone. It served as a reminder to observe the world from a higher perspective. While the forest is predominantly hemlock trees, the early settlers mistook them for cedar trees – thus the name, Cedar Falls.

Although there were many people all along the path and at the waterfalls, it was unbelievably quiet. Folks talked in soft voices…almost whispers, so as not to disturb the intense feeling of Cedar Falls. It’s one of those places you don’t want to leave.

But now for the walk back along the path and up those steps. Thanks to my walking stick, the climb back up wasn’t as difficult as one might think. Ah! What a beautiful day for a walk in the forest.

Cedar Falls is located in Hocking Hills State Park in the south-central section of Ohio. Find your closest route to Logan, Ohio, then follow OH-664 S until you reach Hocking Hills State Park. Watch for signs to guide you to Cedar Falls and other points of interest. A walk in the park is good for the soul.

Earth Healing Ceremony

Fog over Ohio RiverOn a rainy day at Grand Vue Park near Moundsville, WV, fog hung in the air making the valley below seem mystical. Through the mist you could see the bridge over the Ohio River. A celebration of our connection to the sacredness of earth was the focus of this Earth Healing and Water Blessing Day, but it seemed the rain had already performed the Water Blessing part.

Amanda DeShong and Mick Burk conducted the ceremony in a shelter at the park with help from many of their friends. This was a day of coming together for the healing of the earth and water, by participating in traditions of cultures from around the world.

Andy story teller

Andy Frankel, a multicultural storyteller, captured the group’s attention as everyone gathered around to hear this master narrator tell tales of other cultures and traditions. He told the story of Chief Seattle, who predicted that man’s appetite would devour this land. By request, he told a second story of a Jewish man looking for justice.

Paint Day

Some had just returned from the Festival of Colors at The Temple of Gold located nearby. The Festival of Colors is a family gathering of friendship, re-enacting a pastime of Lord Krishna with his devotees over five thousand years ago.  Bright colored powders are thrown on other participants until they appear to be in technicolor.

Water Purification

A water anointing was performed on the way to the Prayer Circle. Its intention was to generate energy to heal Mother Earth during this time of extreme turmoil and pollution. One young lady brought a bottle of water from Wheeling Creek to be blessed at the ceremony, thus beginning the purification process. She reported that when she poured the water into the creek that evening, the water in that area became clear enough to see the bottom of the stream.

The group then formed a circle around the Medicine Wheel to honor the Seven Directions Prayer. Everyone joined in the directional prayers, which were led by various people in attendance.

Prayer BundlesPrayer bundles were then made for a Despacho Fire Ceremony. A prayer request was written on a small piece of paper and placed inside a small piece of cloth with some special herbs. After praying over the prayer bundle, it was then tossed into the fire so prayers could ascend to the heavens.

Sunshine JonesSunshine Jones led the group in a session of drumming to connect with Spirit. Everyone had the opportunity to use some kind of instrument for participation in the event.

Deer Foot ShakerOne unusual instrument was the foot of a deer topped with a shaker ball, which made a delightful sound…and the foot was easy to grip.

DrummingMuch dancing and singing took place around the fire as people got caught up in the spirit of the afternoon of earth healing. That healing must begin within ourselves, so we can then spread our energy to influence everything we touch.

Druming

This was a great day for meditation and connection with like-minded friends. There was a feeling of peace on the hilltop that is not often found in our busy lives today. Everyone left looking for things to appreciate in the world around them.

 

Beautiful Flower Gardens Found in Lore City, Ohio

A  beautiful flower garden reflects the caring of its owners.

A beautiful flower garden reflects the caring of its owners.

Sometimes we overlook the beauty in our small towns. On a recent walk through Lore City, the beauty of their flowers caught my eye. Several people throughout the town must spend the entire summer in their beds…flower beds, that is.

Recent rains have made a lush covering of flowers this year, but that makes weeding more difficult and time consuming as well. These flower beds were cared for out of pure love for flowers.

People still enjoy gardens for fresh vegetables.

People still enjoy gardens for fresh vegetables.

During a time when many people have given up gardening, this is not the case in Lore City. Here gardens thrive and townfolk are quite proud of their fresh vegetables. Gardens brimming with vegetables and flowers provide a popular mix throughout the town.

Beautiful flowers brighten this country home.

Beautiful flowers brighten this country home.

On a back country lane, one home stands out above the rest. This land previously was home to the now abandoned coalmining town of Goodyear. Back in its heyday, twenty-seven homes stood along this now rutted lane with grass growing down the middle. On a bank above the home is the place where the railroad track previously took coal from the coal mine.

This old hand pump was used when Goodyear was an active coal mining town.

This old hand pump was used when Goodyear was an active coal mining town.

Along the way, you even find a remaining handle pump that was used during the time that Goodyear prospered. One water pump would be used for two homes. It still works today!

Flowers line the steps to the old coal mining road.

Flowers line the steps to the old coal mining road.

When the flowers get overcrowded in their beds, rather than destroy them, some folks have attempted to plant them on the hillsides. A clump of day lilies or coneflowers give added color to the slopes.

Sunflowers were beginning to bloom.

Ten foot tall Sunflowers were beginning to bloom.

Even the backyards are filled with flowers. One last stop for the day led to discovery of beautiful sunflowers over ten feet high. Now, over the years sunflower seeds have been planted at my house, but no plants have ever grown. Oh, to have beautiful sunflowers like these.

Beautiful flowers and stones surround a small pond in a neighbor's yard.

Beautiful flowers and stones surround a small koi pond in a neighbor’s yard.

Then, as I drove out of town, a lady was working in her beautiful flower garden with a small koi pond. The care these people give their gardens is amazing. As they pull weeds and pinch blossoms, their mind is filled with nature and the problems of the world are temporarily forgotten.

Every small town has its beauty, if we have eyes to see.

Lore City is located in southeastern Guernsey County on OH-285 about ten minutes from Cambridge in the rolling hills of beautiful Ohio.

Coopers Rock Beckons Nature Lovers

Cooper Rock Picnic Shelter

Coopers Rock Picnic Shelter

“The Rock with a View” describes a visit to Coopers Rock between Morgantown and Bruceton Mills in West Virginia, bordering Pennsylvania. The crowded park grounds gave a festival like appearance with beautiful American chestnut and stone picnic shelters welcoming families and groups to spend the day. Fifty miles of hiking trails provide an outlet for exercise surrounded by nature. During the winter months, these trails are used for cross-country skiing.

But the picnic area and hiking trails weren’t the attraction here. After walking down a short scenic path, you arrived at an immense rock, which serves as a scenic overlook for miles around. Caution must be used on this very steep and slippery rock.

Climb cautiously on Cooper Rock.

Climb cautiously on Coopers Rock.

Legend has it that Coopers Rock received its name from a barrel maker, also called a cooper. The story goes that a fugitive hid away from the law for several years under the shelter of the rocks in this vicinity. In his new mountain hideaway, the cooper made barrels, which he sold to people in the nearby communities.

The early history of the area centers around the iron ore industry, with many iron furnaces located nearby as early as 1798. With the discovery of iron ore and limestone, the abundance of hardwood trees for fuel made this the perfect spot for Henry Clay Iron Furnace, which produced pig iron.

View from Cooper Rock

View of Cheat River Gorge from Coopers Rock

Standing on the Main Overlook, Cheat River Gorge appears in panoramic view. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the scenic gorge and river surrounded by autumn colors. Enormous boulders and cliffs encourage rock climbers and hikers to explore.

Cooper Rock Overlook

Stone Bridge to Coopers Rock Overlook

An astounding piece of work is the stone bridge which connects the overlook to the main ridge. The steps were carved out of the mountain during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The view from the bridge is quite spectacular as well.

Eco Turtle

Eco-sculpture of Coopers Rock Turtle by Gazsi

During the last few years on Earth Day, Benjamin Gazsi of West Virginia University made eco-sculptures near the parking lot of Coopers Rock to create another reason for people to visit. The Sleeping Giant, Standing Bear and Coopers Rock Turtle are the first three structures to be completed using products of the forest. These characters made of tree branches, mud, grass, leaves, and moss will be enjoyed by visitors until nature returns them to the forest floor.

Access to the park is closed during December until March 31 for motor vehicles, but you can still park at the first lot and walk in. There is no charge for visiting and hiking this fantastic forest. Being in a peaceful spot surrounded by nature clears the mind and relaxes the body.

 Coopers Rock State Forest has easy access just east of Morgantown, WV from I-68 off Exit 15. I-68 actually bisects the State Forest into two areas.

 

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