Last week I accidentally rediscovered what may be my favorite Ohio Proud spot so far, Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve in Licking County. I took a Natural History of Ohio course at OSU this semester, as I've mentioned before, and our last field trip took us out to Flint Ridge Historic Site. When I was looking at the map, I realized it was just a couple of miles from Blackhand Gorge, which I visited with my dad about ten or 15 years ago. I remembered thinking it was a really cool place so I thought I'd check it out again. This place absolutely blew my mind, and I'll definitely be going back soon.
This place gets its name from an Indian petroglyph in the shape of a black hand that once graced the side of the massive sandstone cliffs. Unfortunately, it was destroyed when the cliff was blasted to build the Ohio-Erie Canal. Remember my Cuyahoga Valley post? Same canal, over 100 miles away. I went before my class started with a couple of classmates. We only had about half an hour to check this out so we decided to hike the mile long Quarry Rim Trail, just a short walk from the main parking lot. At first we didn't expect much, but we came upon the view of this amazing quarry that has been reclaimed by the forest.
Once we were back on the main Blackhand Trail, we realized we were out of time but we couldn't resist checking out this part of the trail that cuts through this sandstone. I only had vague memories of this place so this was a surprising sight.
The stone is weathered and covered in moss, but on the parts that have recently eroded the oranges and yellows show through, so that whole section of the path is pretty incredible. Somebody please scope this place out and tell me what you find after this section of the path!
After our class ended, we gained a couple more classmates who wanted to see the part we already saw. One of them also knew of an abandoned tunnel in the area, which we scoped out before we left. When I took this photo I had no idea that that cliff was covering that tunnel. Unfortunately, my camera died before we made it back there. You can trust me that the tunnel was just as cool as the quarries, or keep an eye out for the upcoming part II of this Ohio Proud spot.