Conkle’s Hollow, April 28, 2010. Of all the beautiful gorges in Hocking Hills State Park, Conkle’s Hollow is probably my favorite. It doesn’t have the best waterfall, the largest cave, or the longest gorge. What it does have is a sense of the passage of time.
The gorge begins where the Hollow’s stream enters a larger waterway. The path, smooth and flat, is easily accessible by wheelchair. Wildflowers and deciduous trees give way to fern and hemlock. It’s quiet – we hear only birds, wind in the trees, and the tiny stream which carved this deep gorge from Blackhand sandstone. The accessible path ends abruptly at a slump block, where we pass through a narrow opening into a prehistoric forest. The quiet deepens, the green darkens, and the air is damp and still. We walk past a water fall, a cave, rock walls thick with fern, moss and lichens. At the very end of the gorge, we find a narrow waterfall, tumbling through a key hole cut into the rock. Evening comes early in this primeval canyon and we must leave. I want to stay and wait to see some ice age creature emerge from the shadows.

Credits: Botanist Notebook No. 16 digital papers, Katie Pertiet, Designer Digitals; Font is Book Antiqua.