The forecast called for a 20% chance of rain with a temperature that would not move much around 33 degrees. So, naturally, it rained all the way to Nelsonville and then on to Zaleski State Park, rained lightly for the entirety of the hike and rained during the drive home later. Nice job forecasters! The parking lot was full, which I like to see.
The impressive Lake Hope Iron Furnace where between 1854-1874, iron ore was smelted. Apparently there was a community of people who live around it. Nice place to start a hike. There being both a north loop and a south loop, I chose the south loop as it is a little longer at 9.9 miles.
Around mile 3.5, I came to the lone overlook on the route. The view, when the sky is clear, is good and in the valley below is the Moonville railroad track and tunnel. Mark Clingan took us on a hike a few years ago where we dropped off this trail and hiked off trail to visit the tunnel. I happened to catch up with a couple of guys here, one of whom is in the image to the right.
Soon after visiting the overlook, the trail reaches a large lake, covered in ice on this visit. There is evidence of beaver activity in the area.
There are several shallow caves along the route, especially when nearing the point at which you leave the loop to return to the parking lot.
Note the orange paint on the tree in the above image. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. The trail was muddy today but not too bad. I arrived back at my car rather soaked, 2:35 hiking time with some running in there. Really glad I thought to bring a change of clothes.
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