Clifton Gorge

I can be lazy and even though I hate that about myself, I seldom go out of my way to change it. Take for example, the area where I live. I have lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio for over 3 years now. There are so many nature-places nearby that I have been telling myself I want to explore ever since I came here. There’s the Glen (read my last post for more on that) and I have managed to get over there plenty of times, but not as many, honestly, as I should. There’s John Bryan State Park, only about 3 miles or so from my house, and I have only been there once, and not even for exploring, but just for a picnic (it was a very tasty picnic, though). And then there’s Clifton Gorge, roughly 4 miles from my front door and in over 3 years of living here, I have never set foot there. Or had never. That is, until I got a very lovely, and very welcome phone call last week.

My cousin Lauren and I grew up incredibly close. We were always together, less than a year apart and I loved her dearly. Then, as sometimes happens, we grew older and grew apart. We just didn’t see each other as often and I never thought about going out of my way to make sure we still did (my lazy side?). Now as adults, we are reconnecting better than ever. She is married to an absolutely wonderful man, Dan, and has two incredible children, Adelaide and Lyla. They live in Columbus, so, in addition to my best friend Raven, they are closer to me than anybody else, family or friend, excepting those that live in the Dayton area, of course. Sadly, we still do not manage to get together as often as we could, but the times we do are lovely.

So back to Clifton Gorge. Last week, they phoned and said that they were going to be venturing there and since it is in my backyard, asked if we would like to join them. I wish that Caleab would have been able to join us, but he had to work. However, Rudy Mae and I met up with Dan, Lauren, Adelaide, and Lyla at Clifton Gorge and went on a hike of epic proportions. To say it was hot would be a joke. It was a lava pit. And we went the wrong way at first. And we had some falls. And we had some crying (that would be my child). But what I remember and hold on to the most is, we had a ton of laughs. And it was absolutely beautiful. And we had a terribly terrific time.

Upon seeing the Hughes family, Rudy Mae got pretty excited.

Not 10 steps onto the path and you are greeted by this sign. It was a nice welcome to the group with two toddlers who insist on walking on their own.

We were lagging behind, and the roots tripped us up even more. Down goes the girl.

I was cracking up when Adelaide leaned in and peered into Rudy’s face.

Sizing each other up.

Hmm…was someone putting the rocks they were picking up in their mouth??

Going down?

Lauren and Lyla lead the way.


The deeper we got and higher the rock walls got, it seemed to offer a degree or two of cool down.

Thank goodness I’m so out of shape, not that I wouldn’t mind the sign if I wasn’t.

Had it been just a bit cooler, it would have been completely blissful.

The trees were growing out near the top of the cliffs at such an odd angle.

“Have we reached Steamboat Rock yet??” The answer is no.

Along the rock wall, here and there were little ledges like the wall wanted you to set down a cool drink and relax.

They just sat down together in the dirt once we reached Steamboat Rock. It was super precious.

Sharing leaves and rocks.

And rocks…

and leaves.

This beautiful spunky little girl makes my heart smile!

Ok, it’s now way past naptime. I think she started to feel it.

Adelaide doesn’t sit still for long! She’s ready to get back to business.

This was our ultimate goal: getting a photograph with Steamboat Rock. The rock itself was pretty anticlimactic. This was certainly a case of “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” :)

I didn’t forget you, Lyla dear! You were just tucked away in a back pack and I didn’t see you as much!

Adelaide rounded off the nature walk by reading a book about root-children (I believe that’s what Lauren said). I swear as she was reading aloud, she was pointing at the little characters and now and then inserting a “Rudy”. So sweet.