Monday, February 6, 2012

Blackhand Gorge-ous!

 Saturday was a lion and Sunday, a lamb.  I awoke to 3+ inches on snow on the ground on Saturday morning which proved to be a lovely winter day. By Sunday it was 48 degrees and perfectly sunny.  It called  for a hike.  My daughter and son-in-law met up with me in Licking County and we conspired to visit Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve.  You'll want to add this to your "places to see" list.

Blackhand Gorge has a paved main trail, easy to walk, with excellent views of rock bluffs and river overlooks.  There are numerous lesser trails, some to an overhead bluff,  others lead to the trail that was once part of the Ohio-Erie Canal.  We plan to return to visit more of those lesser trails.  

We stuck to the main path which delighted with scenery and good examples of  both yellow birch and cherry birch.  You'll want to pack your favorite tree guide along for this jaunt.

 This is the majestic standstone bluff overlooking the Licking River.  Blackhand Sandstone was named for a giant black hand-shaped petroglyph the Native Americans once engraved here.  The engraving was blasted away when the Ohio-Erie canal was cut through in 1828.  A piece of our native history forever destroyed in the name of progress.  Unfortunately, by the time that canal was finished, it was already a relic itself- rapidly being replaced by the railroads.  

 Hopefully we learned that preservation of history and nature should not aways be forfeited to man's progress.  Too often a pioneering idea becomes infected with unstoppable greed.  Corporations, like canal companies, start counting the profits- before they count the "costs."  Today's oil and gas exploration has grown so rapidly, they have surpassed regulatory agencies ability to keep up with them.  New techniques are touted "safe" long before we have added up the costs. Oil spills in the ocean, natural gas leaking into fresh water wells, and fracking fluids pumped underground where homeowners protest- but lose to the will of giant corporations.

Makes me want to forget about it all... and take a simple walk and enjoy nature. But if we try to forget our pasts, they are bound to come back to haunt us again.  Maybe those Native Americans were trying to say "Stop."


  1. The rest of us Americans and Canadians have to step up to the plate and say stop as well. I live in Alberta and we have the tar sands so we know devastation and destruction.

  2. It's nice to see a little history of Licking County. My great-great-grandparents came from there.