Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘nature’

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.

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Tour Daweswood House Museum “Let the Flowers Grow Where They May”

Daweswood House Museum

Daweswood House Museum

Exploring Daweswood takes visitors back in time to absorb the lifestyle of the Dawes family in the early 1900’s near Newark, Ohio. Being greeted by Debby, the youngest granddaughter of Beman and Bertie Dawes, made the tour doubly enjoyable. Her added stories of childhood visits added life to the beautiful old home.

Outside, the playful, lighthearted garden design reflects Bertie’s favorite saying, “Let the flowers grow where they may”. Beautiful flower beds surround the home turned museum, and help visitors realize the importance of plants and flowers to the Dawes family.

Inside, Daweswood House Museum, actually built in 1867,  is filled with antiques, unique collections of natural history, and stories which seem to pour from the walls. The flooring and spiral walnut staircase in the entryway are original and from lumber cut on the farm back in the late 1800’s. Everything was built with loving care in the best tradition of the times.

Office of Beman Dawes

Office of Beman Dawes

Born in Marietta, Ohio, Beman Dawes graduated from Marietta College. After serving two terms as US Representative, he founded Pure Oil Co with headquarters in nearby Columbus, Ohio. The profits from that endeavor became the source of funds to develop Dawes Arboretum for the enjoyment of  people from all over the world, as well as the Dawes family. Debby mentioned that some of her fondest memories of childhood were the family picnics in the pines at Dawes. It seemed the children enjoyed the out-of-doors, just like their grandparents. Today the family still gathers at Dawes Arboretum every summer for an old-fashioned picnic.

Bertie Dawes' studio

Bertie Dawes’ studio

His wife, Bertie, displayed her collections in her special studio, which overlooked the garden. Shells, butterflies, and humming birds all held special places in her heart. The beautiful bedspread in the room had been handmade by Bertie as well. This elegant lady was definitely a woman of many talents and interests… including raising peacocks. Perhaps she had time to do these things since there were housekeepers that tended to the daily chores of the family. Since there were five children, this would have been a busy household.

"Our House" embroidered by daughter, Dorothy Dawes Young in 1925.

“Our House” embroidered by daughter, Dorothy Dawes Young in 1925.

One beautiful family tradition occurred in the formal dining room where the family met each Sunday for dinner. The grandchildren still recall those formal dinners with Grandfather and Granny as being a highlight of their visit.  This family had early access to some of the little luxuries, with electricity in Daweswood as early as 1929. Five stone fireplaces throughout the house provided a warm atmosphere. The warmth of family could be seen in the beautiful embroidered picture hanging in the kitchen to remind everyone of the importance of their Daweswood home.

A basement constructed of handhewn stone, where the children used to play, is now home to the Rathskeller. The walls are now filled with shovels and plaques of those invited for tree dedication ceremonies. Initials of the dedicators were placed on the ceiling with soot from a burning candle in the beginning, but today they are usually written with a marking pen…to save space.  Back in 1927, Ohio Governor James Cox was the first to dedicate a tree.  Over 100 people have been invited by the family to dedicate trees and some of those names are quite familiar: John Glenn, Jack Hanna, Richard Byrd, Red Grange, and Orville Wright to mention a few.

Smokehouse and Gardens

Smokehouse and Gardens

Behind the house is an old log smokehouse surrounded by Bertie’s garden. Nearby, on the right side of the picture, you can see the corner of the roof of the History Archives Building, which is being constructed to hold photographs, family journals, and Arboretum records.

Plan your visit to Daweswood on the weekend as hours are limited. Tours are given every Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 and 2:00.  Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students, and tickets must be purchased at theVisitors Center. If you like beautiful old homes and the beauties of nature, you will definitely enjoy a visit at Daweswood.

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road. Daweswood House Museum is down the first road to the right just inside the gate, but first you must go to the Visitors Center to purchase your ticket.

Relax with Nature at Dawes Arboretum

Dawes All Season Garden

Dawes Arboretum

Imagine being where no one is in a hurry. Dawes Arboretum could be the perfect place for you! This nature haven is dedicated to increasing the love and knowledge of trees, history, and the natural world. Young and old walk around the grounds at a leisurely stroll and traffic has a speed limit of 15 mph. Ah!  This is a spot to relax!

Way back in 1917, Beman and Bertie Dawes purchased a farm known as Woodland in Licking County. The family renamed it Daweswood and began planting trees, from all over the world, that would grow in Ohio. He hoped to encourage others to plant trees at their farms also. In 1929, Dawes Arboretum was formed and by then, Beman had planted over 50,000 trees and purchased more land.

The Visitors Center is a great place to begin your visit. Here you can pick up a map to guide you throughout the 1800 acres, and discover a little history of Dawes Arboretum as well as their family.  Beman Dawes’ father was a Civil War veteran, who served in The Iron Brigade. His brother, Charles, served as Vice-President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.

Dawes All Season Garden

Dawes All Season Garden

One of my favorite spots is walking leisurely through All-Seasons Garden behind the Visitors Center. Here you are greeted with the flowers of each season from Spring through Fall – tulips to mums. There is a wide variety of plants here, some perennials and some annuals, but all striking in their setting. Name plates are frequently found near trees and plants with both their scientific and common names for easy identification.  Benches provide a spot to relax and to take time to smell the roses. A charming gazebo offers a touch of shelter on a rainy or sunny day, and provides another spot for viewing the garden.

Lake at Japanese Gardens

Lake at Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Garden creates one of the most tranquil spots at Dawes. With a beautiful small lake at its center, the plants of Japan weave their way around the pond and into your being. Give your feet a rest in the small meditation house at the edge of the reflecting pool to let the tranquility soak in.  A stone path crosses the pool filled with colorful koi, making it a favorite of young and old alike.

Since Dawes is located in Ohio, the Buckeye state, it seemed only fitting that buckeye trees would be included in the landscape. The Dawes family decided to plant 17 trees in the shape of the number seventeen honoring Ohio’s admission to the Union as the 17th state.

Large Hedge spells our Dawes Arboretum.

Large Hedge spells our Dawes Arboretum.

Dawes Observation Tower

Dawes Observation Tower

Perhaps you will notice as you approach the arboretum that there is a large hedge, which spells out DAWES ARBORETUM quite clearly. As you slowly drive through the wooded areas, toward the end of your tour, you will arive at The Observation Tower at the southeastern end of the arboretum. Climbing the tower gives a great view of the surroundings including the hedge. This hedge is thought to be the longest hedge in the world at  2,040 feet long and approximatley six feet high. Bernie Dawes decided to build the hedge for the enjoyment of planes flying into the Columbus Airport.

Bald Cypress Swamp Trees with Knees

Trees with Knees

One last treat before you leave is the Cyprus Swamp. This Bald-Cypress Swamp is one of the most northern swamps in North America.  A delightful boardwalk gives guests an up-close and personal view of the trees and their root system, as well as the creatures in the water.  The bumps you see coming out of the water have given these trees a nickname: Trees with Knees. Botanists aren’t really sure what their purpose is but some think it might help them breathe, while others think it is perhaps to help brace them from the wind.

Every season of the year brings a variety of trees, plants, and blossoms to center stage. This is definitely one of those spots where you can enjoy a walk through the trails, or a drive down the roadway, at any time of the year.  Beautiful scenes appear around every bend.

Meander through the grounds anytime of the year surrounded by the beauties of nature at Dawes Arboretum with over 16,000 living plants. It’s opened 362 days a year and admission is free.  You’ll want to come back each season!

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road.

Buffalo Hills Resort Welcomes Native American Pow Wow

Native Americans are proud of their heritage as was witnessed at the gathering of tribes near Senecaville, Ohio at Buffalo Hills Resort.  Indian Pow Wows join together tribe members  for dancing, singing, socializing, and most of all, honoring their Indian culture. This seemed like the “real thing” as Native Americans congregated for their own enjoyment, not just entertainment. Any lessons learned by White Man were considered a bonus.

Did you ever taste Frybread? Native Americans will often remark, “Frybread is the story of our survival.”  Over a hundred years ago when the US forced Indians to take “The Long Walk” from Arizona to New Mexico, they nearly starved in their new landscape. To keep them from starving, the US government gave them flour, sugar, and lard – the makings of frybread, which later led to various health problems. At the Pow Wow, authentic Indian food was served by concessions and Frybread was delicious either served as the base for an Indian Taco, or covered with sugar and cinnamon. Also on the menu were Buffalo Burgers and Gator Nuggets on a Stick, with Snowballs for dessert.

Native costumes caught the eye of visitors as Indian maidens seemed to float over the ground with their smooth movements.  Delicate woodland flowers and vines added beauty to the deerskin dresses, as did the unusual jewelry made with the help of Mother Nature. Necklaces and bracelets were designed from acorns, spices, dried corn and seeds. This beautiful maiden was called Gentle Dove and said to be a Messenger for Love and Peace.

A circle of baled hay made a comfortable place to observe the Indians’ presentations. In the afternoon an entertaining storyteller told traditional Indian legends, most of which centered around animals.  All their stories have special meaning, and hopefully an effect on the listeners. The story of a Snake taught children to beware of wild animals, while the adventures of Bear and Rabbit with Buzzard described why Buzzard has a deep mark on his face to this day.

John Red Deer filled the spot of medicine man for the day with his extensive knowledge of herbs for healing. While there were many interesting items in his display, the popular 7 Grandfathers All Purpose Salve topped the list. As you can see from the sign, it can be used for many different ailments as well as a detox. John Red Deer feels inspired to make this in cream, liquid for detox, and even in stick form to carry with you for cuts and bites.

Peppermint and Spearmint form the base of this magical salve plus seven other herbs, which he feels he will reveal soon so others can carry on his work. Plants are harvested as he is guided by the voice of Spirit, and later the herb combination is brewed during the Summer Solstice.  This time of solar and lunar infusion gives the perfect blending of the herbs. A severe storm this year, while he was making the salve, produced two hours of intense energy, which John Red Deer felt increased the strength and effectiveness of that salve. His plans are to make a medicinal soap in the near future.

With the drums and flutes of Southern Pine in the center of the circle, the evening dance was a pleasure to watch.  Leading the procession of dancers were Native Americans carrying the USA flag, an MIA flag, as well as their traditional eagle staff with an eagle head on the top. The opening prayer was given first in Choctaw language, followed by English.

Songs were sung to relatives who had passed on to another world and veterans were honored with the blowing of the eagle whistle. Beautiful dresses filled the center and individual dances were performed.  The Jingle Dress glistened in the sunlight and jingled to the beat of the drums.

To close the evening, couples did a Potato Dance with a potato held between their foreheads as they constantly moved to the music. The last couple to keep the potato from dropping to the ground was the winner of a small monetary prize.

Find an Indian Pow Wow in your area to attend so you, too, can learn of the American Indian traditions. While sometimes stories are heard about the Indian attacks long ago, they basically wanted to be peaceful people and enjoy their style of life in the quiet of their homes.  Imagine sitting in the woods with the drums beating, chants filling the air, and the Spirit surrounding you. That’s the way life is meant to be!

Buffalo Hills Resort encompasses over 300 acres in southeastern Ohio making it one of Ohio’s largest campgrounds. Campers have their choice of primitive camping, parking for their RV, as well as cabin or perhaps teepee rental.  While it isn’t far from the interstate, it is definitely peaceful country and near Seneca Lake. Leaving I-77, take exit 37 to the East  (State Route 313) until you come to the four-way stop at Senecaville.  Make a right hand turn on State Route 285  then shortly a left at the fork on State Route 566, also called Opossum Run Road. After a couple miles, campers will find Buffalo Hills Resort on the left hand side.  

Will Mount St Helens Erupt Again?

Earthquakes! Steam explosions! Molten lava!  All of these were present during the 1980 awakening and subsequent eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington. Today this area, home of the largest volcanic landslide in recorded history, is designated as Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument as a place for research, recreation and education.

Johnston Ridge Observatory, just one of the visitors’ centers, was a great place to start exploring. Their theater showed great footage of the 1980 eruption. Here you also found first hand accounts of individuals who were actually in the vicinity that day. Of particular interest were the machines that recorded the seismic activity presently occurring.

There were several trails leading up the side of Mount St Helens, which appeared mostly barren being covered with ashes. You could walk among the fallen trees that were flattened by the blast. If you felt braver and went a little farther, you could even see vehicles and heavy logging equipment that was damaged when Mount St Helens blew her top. Took the path as far as was permitted at that time. The hiking trails stay open according to the mood of the volcano.  When she is steaming or spewing forth lava, they obviously need to be closed. But what a thrill to get as close as possible to the top of Mount St Helens.

The 1980 eruption left behind a trail that is still visible today. Due to the force of rocks and ice, trees in the lava path were struck down like bowling pins.  Today they still lay there on the ground but the forestry department has gradually handplanted new seedlings amongst the fallen trees.

From 1986 – 2004, the mountain slumbered until in 2004 earthquakes rippled through the earth. Later that year a smaller eruption began and about a dump truck load of lava oozed out of Mount St Helens every second thus slowly rebuilding the mountain.  By 2011 the amount of lava oozing from the mountain was reduced to a dump truck load every fifteen seconds.  If the eruptions would continue at their present rate, the mountain would be back to its original height in about 180 years.

During the 1980 blast, everything within miles was covered with ash from the volcano.  So suppose it was easy for the ash to be gathered and sold as souvenirs.  Still have a pen said to contain ash from that volcanic eruption.The entire landscape has changed from that 1980 blast. New river routes have been formed and even new lakes. Here you see a real change of scenery due to the awesome power of nature.  Will a major eruption happen again? Probably not in our life time, as most volcanoes erupt every 100-300 years.  The future holds hope for reforestation and rebuilding…unless another eruption occurs sooner than expected.

Hope your life will erupt with much happiness, and may you spread that happiness for miles around.

Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument is located in Washington approximately 96 miles south of Seattle, Washington and 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon. One easy access route is from I-5, Exit 68 onto the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway/ WA 504. This route passes through the various visitors’ centers and into the center of the original blast zone.  

Relax at Salt Fork State Park

Warm weather in Ohio sends people outdoors, even on an overcast day.  One of their favorite spots near Cambridge in southeastern Ohio is Salt Fork State Park, Ohio’s largest state park. This lake is a rather recent creation and those past fifty can still remember when farm land covered this area with  Salt Fork Creek running through it. Back in 1967, the earthen dam was completed here and the filling of the lake began.

Vacationing at the lake has many possible accommodations: camping, renting a cottage or staying at the lodge. The campground sites all supply electrical hook-ups and nearby is a heated shower house.  Only a few sites provide sewer and water hook-ups as well. If you prefer a cottage, several are available with hillside and lakeside locations.  All of the cottages are completely furnished with a screened-in porch, and even include kitchen utensils.

Others prefer the comfort and convenience of Salt Fork Lodge. This beautiful stone lodge with its pine beams sets high above the lake in the rolling hills of Southeastern Ohio. Frequently used for meetings as well as vacations, the lodge contains a wonderful dining area as well as beautiful stone fireplaces that give you a warm feeling no matter what the season. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools provide entertainment all year long. Outside you will find a fantastic playground for the youngsters as well as tennis, volleyball, basketball and shuffleboard courts, so there is little excuse for anyone to be bored.

Just a half mile down the road is the entrance to the 18-hole championship golf course, which is a challenge in these rolling hills so a golf cart is highly recommended.  Deer are frequent visitors on the golf course and don’t seem the least bit afraid of golfers. Here you will also find a pro shop, putting green, and driving range.

Of course, no lake would be complete without a beach and Salt Fork’s 2500 foot beach is one of the longest inland beaches in Ohio.  Everyone has plenty of room to enjoy swimming or building castles in the sand. When you want a break from the beach, stop by the concession stand, grab some clubs to play miniature golf, or tour the nice Nature Center in the main bathhouse building.

Two marinas provide storage for boats year round and some years you must get your reservations in early to claim a spot. Otherwise, ten easy access ramps   accommodate boat trailers.  No boat of your own? Be assured a variety of rental boats are available. There is even a pontoon tour boat to take you and your guests around the lake for an enjoyable time on the water.

Fourteen hiking trails range from easy to moderate in difficulty, so just about everyone can enjoy the hike. One popular trail leads to Hosak’s Cave formed by interesting rock layer erosion, which has also created small waterfalls. Along the path you will find beautiful wildflowers, hear the songs of many birds and relax to the calming sound of the bubbling brook. If you are lucky, a wild turkey might cross your path or even a deer.

A longer trail leads to Kennedy Stone House where they have restored the only house left standing when Salt Fork Park was created.  This historic stone structure was built in 1837 through the plans of Benjamin Kennedy of Ireland. Stones used were quarried from the hills nearby and shaped with detail so they fit tightly together to make a sturdy structure that still stands after 175 years. Original cost was only $600, which was quite a bargain even long ago. Recently a road has been cut down to the house so you can now drive there also, but most find it more exciting to approach from the trail or even from a boat.  Call ahead and see if you can schedule a tour.

Sunsets are always beautiful over the water and Salt Fork Lake is no exception. What a great way to end the day or begin the evening.  Salt Fork State Park is a fun filled place for a family vacation as it has varied activities for all age groups. If you are lucky enough to live in the area, enjoy a day at the beach or a ride on the lake anytime. The lake is also a great place to do nothing – just sit by the water and watch the waves from the boats passing by, or the motion of tree branches blowing in the wind.  Relax and enjoy!

Salt Fork State Park is located just six miles north of Cambridge, Ohio on Route 22. Once you turn left into the main entrance of the park, watch for wooden signs along the way that lead you to the various places of interest.

Amazing Scenery Along the Pacific Coast Highway

The surprises kept coming on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, which began in Washington and continued along the edge of the Pacific Ocean through Oregon and California, stopping at San Diego. Meandering roads kept driving speeds at 15-20 mph, or perhaps it was partly due to the spectacular views. When driving and watching the scenery at the same time, slower speeds were definitely required especially with many steep cliffs at the ocean’s edge.

With beaches galore and piers aplenty, Pacific Coast Highway, also known as America’s Most Beautiful Drive, renewed your spirit and your senses, as you encountered many unusual scenes along the way. This curving highway passed right  through the awesome giant redwoods on a stretch called Avenue of the Giants.This was the place where trees were large enough for a car to drive through or even have a gift shop inside. Words can not describe the wonder of these giants as you attempted  to look skyward  to see their highest branches. These towering trees, rock formations and ocean waves made you realize the power of Mother Nature and the role she plays in our beautiful world.

Even on a foggy morning, the picturesque combination of mountainous cliffs  on one side, and the waves crashing against the rocks on the other, made your heart beat just a little faster. After spotting a sign that said Pebble Beach Golf Links, thought the golfers in my family would be happy to know I stopped for a visit, as this is home to some of the world’s most prestigious golf tournaments.  Evidently it was a day without a tournament scheduled, as admission was granted to drive up to the luxurious lodge and even to walk on the course. My camera definitely wanted to snap a picture of the famous 18th green to prove my story wasn’t fiction.

Near Big Sur the mountains seemed to plunge into the Pacific. Unusual black rock formations rose out of the water to create amazing and different views around each bend of the road.  . These towering black rocks made a sharp contrast against the constant waves of the Pacific and the blue sky. Surfers in their wetsuits rode the waves and kayaks bounced across the ocean. A couple young men enjoyed hang gliding and the winds must have been perfect that day as they were airborne  for a very long time.  Might have to try that on another trip to experience the sensation of flying! Everywhere you felt the happiness of people relaxing from the cares of the day.

There was no resisting the temptation to find a place to pull off the road and walk on the beaches. Leave your shoes behind so you can feel the power of the waves wash over your feet. Two golden labs approached with a frisbee in their mouth so ended up the day playing catch with the labs.  Memories of the ocean will live on, long after the footprints in the sand are gone.

The Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, begins in Oxnard, Washington and continues along the coast through Oregon into California all the way to San Diego. Sometimes Highway 101 bends inland so watch carefully if you want to enjoy the scenic journey along the coastal region.

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