An In-Town Tourist Feature:
…because Adventure begins in the heart and Travel starts at the end of your own driveway.
Just beyond the berm of the heavily traveled Riverside Drive that crawls alongside Dublin, Ohio, and behind a thick curtain of summer greenery, lies a quieted stream. So still that it often lies dry and bare, exposing secrets only to those who care to wander its rubbled path.
While surfing down the side of a ravine on loose dirt and rocks I was more focused on avoiding poison ivy and spider webs. Not that I really had the luxury of doing much more than note their presence as I did a steady slide toward my destination. But once I’d reached the relative stability of the stream bed -and when the clattering of our own descents had faded, the stillness was startling. Cars sped by just above and beyond our vision, but the tall trees and rock face acted as natural buffers against the road sounds. It was as if we’d slipped through a protective wall into the silent interior of a bubble.
When the range of color is narrow, textures and patterns grow more obvious. The swirled holes of watery erosion, the random splatters of moisture and leaves, the moss-haired face peering from a wall of rock, the splintered, decomposing wood of a stump…
We trekked the stream bed, ostensibly looking for fossils, but I found myself equally captivated by the shale walls that formed our corridor. Just ahead was the first cave, a narrow tunnel opening into a rock-walled room with no view but its own entrance/exit.
I confess to a slightly claustrophobic tingling as I crawled beneath dangling webs and through the encroaching neck of solid rock. It reminded me of a free dive I did, years ago, through a coral tunnel in the Caribbean. No wiggle room available for the hesitant.
But the best was still ahead, up steep waterless waterfalls and across an unsteady bed of rocks that kept me alert to my wobbly (surgically enhanced) right ankle. Along the way to “The Well”, my friend pointed out an embedded snail shell fossil and found, as well, a loose snail fossil, a tooth (raccoon or groundhog), a bit of rib bone, and some coral.
“The Well” required another steep climb up to go down, down, down…
One can barely see the tree harbored cavity from the stream bed below. But along the edge of an incline the hole goes deep, dark, and damp. An emptied natural well bent by the whim of the water it once contained.
Lacking flashlights we stayed within view of our exit daylight. Better to take a chance on a lottery ticket than in an unlit cave…
Updated from August 28, 2007