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Lake Hope and Zeleski State Forest

I learned something new this trip, and discovered a new (to me) flower which totally surprised me when I came upon it.  I was in Zeleski State Forest with my friend Dan, where we were visiting an old abandoned railway tunnel in the middle of the forest.  It was the King Tunnel.  On the way in, I noted several wetland areas with some large flowers growing along their banks.  They were pretty far off the roadway, which made it all the more intriguing, as they were so obvious from a distance.  Not what I was expecting at all.  I made a note and determined to investigate on the way out.  That, however, was not going to be necessary, as there was another wetland on the far side of the tunnel we were visiting and I was able to walk right up to these flowers.  However, they all faced outward from the shoreline, so Dan was nice enough to pose one for me to photograph.

Hibiscus moscheutos, aka Crimson-eyed Rose Mallow, Breast Root, Mallow Rose, Muskplant, and Wild Cotton

The tunnel was interesting, in that it was constructed of 12″x12″ in post and beam configuration.  What was most interesting about the tunnel was it’s age in relation to it’s integrity.  I did not see any rot in any of the wood.  There was some soil erosion at the base on one end, but other than that, it looked perfectly fit.  It measured approximately 20’W x 30’H x 300’L.  Here’s an article from TrekOhio regarding this tunnel with some more in depth info and directions.

The entrance to King Hollow Tunnel

The far side.

I spent the better part of my first morning driving around on the forest roads, not knowing much about where I was going or what I would see.  I eventually ended up in Athens, Ohio, the home of Ohio University, where, as I found out after returning home, I had just missed one of the biggest street parties of the year.  Thank goodness for that, but driving around in the woods was pretty cool and there were many wildflowers and bugs to shoot.  It was extremely cloudless the entire time, so trying to find subjects in the shade was a priority and not always possible.  At any rate, it was interesting.

Water Lilly and bees at Lake Hope

One of my favorite shots from the trip.

We also visited Moonville Tunnel on this trip, though I have not processed any of these images yet.  It’s interesting to find such places stranded in the middle of the forest.  I run across places like this, it seems, most places I go.  The history of our forests and wilderness areas is never very obvious at first glance and finding treasures like the King Tunnel, Moonville Tunnel,  all the wetlands and the various flora that exist in these areas is not only surprising but a great reward for the time spent.  I will definitely be visiting Zeleski again.  Being that it is in close proximity to Hocking Hills, it will not be a stretch to do so.

If you would like to see the rest of my images from the two day trip, please look here.