Earlier this week on Groundhog Day, Buckeye Chuck and Punxsutauwney Phil disagreed about the timing of the spring of 2014. Punxsutauwney Phil forecasted 6 more long weeks of cold winter from Pennsylvania while Buckeye Chuck, in Marion, did not see his shadow and predicted an early spring for Ohio.
After being blasted by numerous bouts of frigid temperatures, abundant snow and just plain COLD weather this winter, it could be that the forecasts from the meteorologically inclined groundhogs garnered a bit more attention than usual, as many are really wishing for warmer weather.
As my woodpile dwindles, I too am temped to wish for an early spring, though I do enjoy winter. I was reminded of this last weekend when our family took a short trip to the beautiful Hocking Hills. It was the warmest day we’d had in some time, in the low 40s. We stopped to see Ash Cave, which is always beautiful in any season, but I have never seen it in full winter splendor. When it is cold enough for long enough (which it certainly was this winter), the trickling waterfall at the top builds up a spectacular ice mountain in front of the already impressive rock formation. It was a truly beautiful reason to celebrate winter.
While the Hocking Hills has long been recognized around Ohio for its beauty and impressive stone features, the park has recently been the subject of national and international acclaim. Hocking Hills State Park was the only location in the United States identified in Buzzfeed’s list of the “22 Stunning Under-The-Radar Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List in 2014.” The other destinations were scattered across the globe and included exotic locales from Norway, Brazil, New Zealand and French Polynesia.
“We are always excited when people discover what Ohioans have long known, that Ohio is truly home to some of the most beautiful places in the world,” said James Zehringer, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director.
And, after our recent visit, I have to agree that a winter trip to the state park in Hocking County is well worth the drive, and maybe even worth wishing for a late spring.
Below: Video of Ash Cave