An Adventure Through Cantwell Cliffs
I've spent the summer trying to explore the many gorgeous trails throughout the Hocking Hills region. And well... my husband got jealous. He saw the many photos I was posting and asked why I didn't invite him along. I almost mentioned the time he asked me why the outdoors didn't have air conditioning, but I thought better at the last second. That's how we ended up hiking Cantwell Cliffs.
This might have been an odd choice. We both have a fear of heights. But that's what made it perfect to me: If we both had a fear, it would be better to face it together.
We made our way down the first set of stairs, almost skipping with the excitement of exploring someplace new. Then we had our first choice: Go down another set of stairs on the left or go to the right on a flat trail. I was undecided, but my husband immediately chirped, "To the right!"
Looking back on it, I would have gone down the stairs, because going up two sets of stairs after a hike was a bit much for me. But if you're in better shape than I am, either choice works.
The hike started off pretty uneventfully. I looked at all the dreamy green leaves and dreamed of the beautiful colors they would soon be turning. This truly would be a gorgeous hike in the fall. We came across other people, but it was just enough people that we felt safe and not so many people that we felt claustrophobic.
As we continued on, my fear of heights almost seemed to disappear, and I started looking over the cliff... at a more than safe distance from the edge. The beauty was absolutely astounding. When the reds and oranges and yellows come, it will be breath-taking.
Along the way, we started encountering more stairs and some obstacles. At first, I was brave enough to tackle them on my own. And then, I was making my way down a short set of stairs and I just froze. I can't tell you why. It wasn't all that scary. I just couldn't move another inch.
But then my husband reached his hand back, and as I grabbed it, the warmth of it gave me the strength I needed to continue. So that was how we continued: When I got even a little scared, he'd reach his hand back without me even asking. In fact, I even had to tell him, "I've got this," a couple times. I did it with a big grin because I felt like I was getting better at this whole hiking thing.
As we got closer to the end, we found ourselves navigating wooden planks to make the terrain easier for hiking and feeling like real hikers. But more importantly, we found ourselves growing together because we were truly on this adventure through Cantwell Cliffs together and tackling each challenge together.
Finally, we looked up at that first set of stairs that we had decided against at first and slowly, we made our way up. I was tired enough at this point that I needed a rest, but I did feel a rush over the fact that I had accomplished so much. The last set of stairs was the last test for us to pass and we somehow proudly passed it.
There was a covered shelter with picnic tables at the top that were perfect for recovering. But it would also be a perfect spot for a small gathering as well since it is not at all taxing to get there.
Will we hike Cantwell Cliffs again? Yes. Together.