The Anxious Person's Guide to the Hocking Hills
Get some tips on how to make your next trip easy and breezy in the Hocking Hills.
I have anxieties.
I have a fear of heights that has pinned me into one place, unable to move, more than once. Stairs are my enemy, especially the ones where you can see the ground below between each step. Large groups of people overwhelm me, and loud noises make me cower.
Sounds like I wouldn't be able to happily explore the Hocking Hills then, right? Well, you'd be very wrong.
The Hocking Hills is my happy place, and even though I find some challenges to my anxieties, it's a place that helps me grow and leap over obstacles that I never thought I'd be able to get through.
How? Here are some of my tips for people like me that want to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world:
For me, the best way to prepare mentally for obstacles is by knowing they are coming. Look up trail maps to know which ones are appropriate for you. Go through our website to fully figure out all that you want to do. Pick up our visitor guide so you can get around when data reaches your cell phone. Plan, plan and plan some more.
Bring a Friend
When you know you are going to face a mental obstacle, it's best to have someone there to be your best cheerleader. My husband loves coming with me. And when I have to jump down and my fear of heights feels like it's about to conquer me, his reassuring hand always makes it easier.
Go During an Off-Time
Going to Old Man's Cave at 2 pm on a Saturday during the middle of October is probably going to be too much for me. But 10 am on a Monday morning? I can explore all I want and I will only run into a handful of people. You don't have to miss out on seeing something amazing like fall color just because there are so many other people that want to see the same thing. Go first thing in the morning on a weekday. Or maybe try exploring during a less busy season. There are a lot of times where you can see all that Hocking Hills has to offer without being overwhelmed by other people.
I don't know about you, but facing my fears makes me tired. So instead of trying to rush it all and go home, stay overnight. Like on the trails, you'll likely find it easier if you stay during the middle of the week. There will be fewer people looking to stay and so you will have loads more options.
Don't Push Yourself Too Hard
If you're anything like me, you want to conquer the world and forget all about these anxieties. Take it much slower than you want to just so you can enjoy all of the beauty that surrounds you in this gorgeous region. Three great trails to get you started are Conkle's Hollow, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls. All three hikes have enough to push yourself just a little bit, but the ease of the hikes will let you also fall in love with your surroundings.
Don't forget to get our visitor guide and start planning that fun vacation now!