A Hike to Rock House
When it comes to adventures, the Hocking Hills is full of them. And that's why I am determined to go on as many adventures as possible this summer in the area.
But as spring came and a beautiful Saturday surprised me, I had a question: Why wait?
That's why I found myself looking at possible hiking trails Saturday morning for an impromptu hike. Well... to be honest, I really only needed to look at one. When I called up the possibilities, the first one to come up was Rock House. The many pictures I had seen of this trail popped into my head. Yes, this was where I needed to go. I only looked at the other trails to be fair. In the end, they would have to wait for another day.
I slapped on a pair of sneakers, my yoga pants and a hoodie, and then kissed my husband goodbye as I happily stated, "I'm a hiker now." He looked dubiously at me. Yes, I was a little out of shape. Yes, it had been awhile since I had found myself on the trails. But if you want something to be true, you state it proudly. I'm a hiker now.
My car found its way to the parking lot for the trail. It's a medium-sized lot. Just enough for a sizable amount of visitors, but not an overwhelming number. And that's just what I found on a sunny Saturday afternoon: Enough visitors that I was always within eyeshot of someone, but not too many that I couldn't have my own personal adventure.
The trail itself is well-marked. It was understandably muddy, but I found this added to the adventure as I skipped along in some spots to avoid the soft earth.
You start off with a descent. I'm going to admit that this gave me a false sense of my own abilities. I kept repeating to myself, "This is easy. I'm such a good hiker." It was easy. But I'm not a good hiker.
As I delved into the heart of the trail, I was wowed by the rock walls that had seemingly grown up around me. They were like clouds. What do you see in the random shapes those rocks hold? At the time, I didn't see much beyond their randomness and largeness. So I continued on across the bridge to my first real test.
See, I have a fear of falling that translates into a weird fear of stairs. Your regular stairs that you find in most homes? I can do those on most days. Stairs you find on a hiking trail? That's a lot for me. I bit my lip as I contemplated whether it was worth it to me. Visions of what I had seen on Instagram of Rock House filled my head. Worth. It.
So my foot found its footing on the first step, and I kept my head down as my hand found the roughness of rock for balance and my feet found step after step. I could do this with a lot of concentration. I kind of regret that it took this much concentration. There's a piece of me that knows that if I could have just pulled my head up from time to time, I would have seen a lot more beauty. But sometimes, you just take what you can get, and I was able to finally admire what I could when I reached the top of those stairs.
I climbed over rock and through a sizable crack into Rock House. I lucked out and arrived when very few people were inside. The sound of dripping water relaxed my anxiousness immediately, and I was able to truly take in the colors and shapes the rocks that make up this "house." Windows to the outside world perfectly framed the green emanating from the trees. Shades of brown against those greens made for a breath-taking view.
But mostly, there was just quiet. A time to breathe. A time to regroup. A time to observe. This is what my soul needed.
When I finally made my way to leave, it was with sadness. But the only way to really appreciate this quiet was to go back into the world where it didn't exist to this degree.
I stood on top of the stairs and stared down. This was my real test. Going upstairs is hard. Going down them when your eyes more easily graze on the ground below is harder. Breathless, I made my way down, and my feet happily found ground more to their liking.
Those rocks that seemed random before now held something for me. They held the promise of overcoming fears and of absolute beauty in the face of those fears.
I found my way back to the parking lot, and as it turns out, you don't feel like so much of a hiker when you are continually going up instead of down. It turns out that it's a lot harder.
Still, as I sat in my car after the hike, I found myself satisfied and happier because of the hike. One Hocking Hills adventure done. Many more to go.