This SATURdate was where spirits soar
The first thing you want to do when you go hiking is to make sure your source to find the trailhead is current.
We looked at an Ohio hiking book we’ve had for years to find our way to a very enjoyable hike with sweeping clifftop views that we had taken years ago. Following the written directions in the book, we turned onto an unpaved road and drove the distance, looping back, and starting over. We somehow missed seeing the trailhead. In another attempt, we missed it again and turned around on the narrow gravel road along a hillside. When we stopped where we figured the trailhead should be, it wasn’t there. I got out and walked the road looking for clues. I found a weathered board deep in the weeds of an overgrown trailhead that read, “New entrance to Buzzardroost Rock is 7/10 mile east,” or something to that effect.
Down the road (Ohio 125 about 5 miles east of West Union, Ohio) there were two gravel parking lots for the Buzzardroost Rock trail. One was on the south side of the roadway and the other was down a gravel drive north of the roadway. The trailhead is at the information kiosk. Conveniently, there’s also a port-o-pot.
Buzzardroost Rock is at the Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve. It’s about a 4.4 mile out and back hike with a small loop trail near the end. This hike is about a mile longer than the old route. Either direction you may choose on the loop trail near the end is about the same distance to the observation point.
We’ve learned to bring two pairs of shoes and a plastic bag to put the muddy ones when done. It really came in handy on this hike. Trails under cover of the canopy of mature woodlands often stay muddy long after it rains. This was no exception. However, there was a wood plank networks placed over some of the soupiest parts of the trail. Still, there were other sections that had to be navigated with care as was evident by the number of feet and body skid marks where others slid or fell. The trek is uphill and ranked in our guide book as moderate to difficult. In the heat, we were pleased that we brought plenty of water.
When we got to the small loop trail we chose to leave the woods trail to explore the open prairie. With the sun shining, the blue skies with powder-white clouds popped against the lush green landscape. A couple of old farmstead buildings whispered to us from the overgrowth piquing our curiosity to explore what was behind the weathered boards still managing to stay erect. The wild prairie flowers are just a fragment of the nearly 500 species of plants that have been discovered in the Preserve, which is one of the most biodiverse natural places in the area.
After the trail returned to the woodland ascent, the sky could be seen through the timber on both sides. The peninsula narrowed and led us out to the top of the Peebles dolomite rock outcrop overlooking Ohio Brush Creek and the valley floor some 900 feet below and as far as the eyes could see.
A metal railing framed two long wooden benches and a sign telling about the scene. This is where we unpacked our bagged lunches and enjoyed a much-earned bite to eat while chatting with a few strangers. They shared a tale or two about their hiking and climbing adventures in Ohio and elsewhere in North America citing Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and Yosemite in California.
A trip to Buzzardroost Rock [75 miles East of Cincinnati near the Ohio River] must also include a couple of stops to see what is known by locals as Wheat Ridge Amish Country. You’ll feel like you entered another period of time when you come out of the other side of the 1855 Harshaville Covered Bridge. Drive with caution around the bends and rolling hills because Amish buggies, bicycles, and scooters share the country roads. Tucked in this quieter Amish country are two jewels: Keim Family Market, and Miller’s Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Food Stores. Both are Amish-owned and operated and have been for generations. Make sure you have room in your vehicle to take home their legendary baked goods, gorgeous furniture, and plenty of fixin’s from the bulk food stores. And if you happen to stop here before the hike, their deli sandwiches taste best atop of the Rock.
By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun
For more SATURdate ideas to spend with friends, family, or solo, visit https://www.ohiotraveler.com/saturdate/.
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