Friday, February 1, 2013

Summer Throwback in the Hocking Hills Pt. 1

Ohio has been experiencing an actual winter this year it appears, instead of the mild winters we've been having, such as last year. So, in attempt to bring some warmth to your frigid days, here's a throwback to the summer:

I went camping this past June for four days in the Hocking Hills, which many Ohioans are familiar with. If you're not, GO! Seriously, it's beautiful, it's varied, and it offers miles of amazing hiking. Of course, you have some choices. There's the main part: Hocking Hills State Park. It's broken down into five sections: Old Man's Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Rock House, and Cantwell Cliffs. Then there's Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve tucked away in the center of the SP. On top of those, there are other places nearby, like Clear Creek Metro Park, Lake Logan State Park, and Wayne National Forest.

I stayed at the campgrounds at Old Man's Cave which was situated between the namesake Old Man's Cave area and Rose Lake.

I woke up the first morning at daybreak and walked the quarter mile or so from the campgrounds down to Rose Lake. The sunlight was just breaking over the trees and light fog was rolling off the lake, as seen in the photo. This photo was taken on the dam. The lake is popular for fishing, but I was all alone this morning. There's a trail that goes around the lake, and it is worth the time to hike. There's also a marshy area right out of site at the far end of the lake.

This large dragonfly was perched right by the Gorge Trail at Conkles Hollow SNP. This particular species is a Gray Petaltail. It really blends in with the tree, doesn't it? Well, the Gray Petaltail is a forest dwelling dragonfly, and its camouflage is perfect. This one was basking in a little clearing of sun, and didn't mind me at all. In fact, these guys are known for being very cooperative with people wanting a better look! Gray Petaltail distribution in Ohio is very spotty. They inhabit areas near seeps that are located in forests that also have sunny areas. They are only recorded in 19 of the 88 counties, and so I was happy to find this one.

Another interesting insect find was this guy. He was on our tent, and man, was he strange! This tiny little guy is a White-Marked Tussock Moth caterpillar. Word of caution for those who come across these guys: touching the hairs results in an allergic reaction for many people, so look, but don't touch! Interestingly, the female adult moths are wingless and as a result flightless. Not what you think of when moths come to mind, is it? These can also be pests when located in high numbers, but this is the only one I saw the whole trip.

And what camping trip isn't complete without a visit from the other resident campers? I slept outside one night and I was rewarded with closeup looks of the local raccoons. Lots and lots of local raccoons. Let me stress that part. They never really came close to me or bothered me, but just foraged around the site for food. Can't blame them though, we humans bring in so much food and many times we leave at least some of it out when we camp. These guys learn that they can get an easy meal, and voila, raccoons are suddenly your camping neighbors. Their antics were quite fun to watch!

Other critters we came in contact with included a few Leopard Moths, a Box Turtle with a death wish, many many Black-Throated Green Warblers, and tons of thrushes, both Wood and Hermit.

This is just Part 1 of this summer throwback! The next part will be coming up very soon...

Edit: Part 2 is here!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting information on the critters you encountered. Thanks for sharing!