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“Oh”, the nice lady at the campground gate said as we entered, “you must be related to the folks who just went up the hill.”

Hocking Hills CanyonShe obviously recognized the “Burger” names on the reservation tickets.

“Yeah, that figures,” I said. “How long ago did they pass through?”

“About 5 minutes ago,” she said.

After a 4 hour trip heading east, Ted and Carol arrived, and after a 6 hour trip heading north, Carol and I arrived—within  minutes of each other. I can only attribute the close coordination to Burger ESP. From the water hydrant where we filled our fresh water tanks, we drove together to the campground and found nice, isolated sites across from each other (photo), on a gorgeous September day, at a pretty place called Hocking Hills State Park.

Hockhocking is a Delaware Indian word meaning bottle; there is a streambed feature on the Hocking River near by that bottlenecks just above a 20-foot falls. The river, the region, and the State Park were thus named.

Hocking Hills CompositeThe natural attractions in the Park are its deep gorges, overhang caves, and old growth forests protected by the deeply incised creeks. 300 million years ago the area was a shallow inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. Deep sediments accumulated on the ocean floor from eroding Appalachian Mountains. The ocean receded, continental glaciers came and went, and their ice-melt undercut hard caprock to create deep gorges and overhang caves. The caves were subsequently used by humans over millennia, including European settlers and today’s tourists.

Old Man's CaveWe were brief visitors of the caves and gorges where the Delaware and Shawnee lived for hundreds of years among myriad species of wildlife large and small. In the depths of the gorges, along streams and waterfalls speckled with sunlight coming through the canopy of huge hemlock trees, one feels physically safe from all hazards, and content with the knowledge that such beautiful places exist and can remain in place for generations.

So, it was a great spot for us to meet and hang out, take a hike through the gorges, drink some nice wine, eat some great meals, swap stories, and catch up on family news. After our new campers were admired and critiqued to the nth degree, the firewood was depleted, the wine drunk, and the world’s problems solved, we loaded up and pulled out. We headed west and south on now familiar roads toward our respective homes, with enough time to reflect on the value of our visit and the importance of doing it again, soon.