HIKING BURR OAK PART 2
There are two separate letterbox walks that start from the same place. One is a rather rugged 3 mile loop with 5 boxes, and the other is an easy ½ mile round trip with two boxes. They are listed separately.
Be aware you will be hiking through an area that is open to public hunting, so from Sep 1 through Jan 31 you might see hunters around here. The worst time is during the deer gun season Dec 1 –31.
Also, if you plan to come out in early June, see this web page first. http://www.mctfr.com/
Plus I would also avoid the third weekend of Sept. as there will be 1500-2000 Boy Scout having a camporee.(see http://scoutingouting.org/index.html)
Difficulty: Moderately hard, beware of brambles and briars, ticks, chiggers, and poison ivy.
Distance: 3 mile round trip from car,
Please bring your compass, stamp, a stamp pad, pen and an old rag to wipe off the box/hands. Maybe bug spray too in the summer, for ticks and chiggers. Also bring along water for drinking.
This hike celebrates some of the wildlife that I have seen and/or heard in the woodlands of Burr Oak State Park.
DIRECTIONS TO STARTING PLACE:
Burr Oak State Park. Over 3000 acres of wooded hills and hollows, located in the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southeast Ohio. It is approx. 15 mi. SW of McConnelsville and 4 mi. NE of Glouster.
Start from the main entrance of Burr Oak(the entrance off SR 78). Go towards McConnelsville( turn left out of the entrance) and go 2.1 mile till you see the sign for Fairview Mission Church and Dock Area 3. This sign will be on your left. Turn here and go down this road(W. Mountville Rd.) for 1.3 mile and you will see an old building in front of you and sign that says Group Camp. Turn left here and go down this gravel road and park by the gate.
Get out and walk out this gravel road to the little shelter building next to the road. Standing in front of the building(looking back down the road) take a compass reading of 130* and you will see some trees with white blazes on them and some white PVC pipe. Down at the forest edge is a bright orange sign. This orange sign is your starting point. Now turn around and look on out the road and you will see a sign that says Waste Water and it has a white paint mark on it. This is where the loop comes back in to the road.
So, now let’s get started. Walk down through the field to the far tree line and the sign. As you enter the woodlands and go down the trail, you will pass a large dead tree on your left. The trail will make a sharp left turn, and as you come down, look to your left and there will be a large, live tree(it is just below the dead one you just passed). On the backside of this tree, under bark and sticks you will find THE WOODLANDS hiding. Now, this trail is not a heavily used one, but be cautious as you find, stamp and re-hide this and all the letterboxes on this hike.
NOTE: Be careful and watch for the White Blazes that mark this section of the trail, as there are lots of deer paths that could be confused for the trail.
The trail crosses a bridge and then starts up hill, making a switchback. There are no boxes for a while, so as you walk along, enjoy the woodlands. When you near the top, the trail makes a 45* bend to the right and goes out into what was once a field. This section can be muddy. If you watch carefully on your right, you will see remnants of the old barbed wire fencing that probably kept the cattle from getting down into the hollow. After you enter back into the woodlands you will come to a fork in the trail, with a sign that shows you how far you have come and how far you have to go. You will be leaving the white blazes now and will be following blue/yellow. Make a right turn here at this junction. Continue on, and in a couple hundred yards you will see a large, rounded, rock outcrop down on your left, that is separated from the main outcrop. On the main outcrop is a tree growing on its top. Go to this tree, it’s about 30 feet from trail. On down over the hill is a real nice little “cave”. If you are feeling spry, you can scramble down and explore it as others have done.(Make sure no one is around here before you find the box). Or, to find the letterbox, get out your compass and from the tree take a heading of 314* and you will see a largish rock. Look behind and to the right of this rock and you will see another rock “outcrop”.(This rock has a “sharp point”.) Go to this pointy rock. Under the overhang, beneath a rock, you will find HARRY?. When you are finished stamping and properly re-hid HARRY? continue on.
Get back on the trail and continue. Notice the big old oak tree on your left. You will be walking quite a ways again, before you come to the next box so enjoy the scenery. The trail eventually makes a right turn and follows along the top of a small, but deep, ravine. One time a wild turkey nested down in there. The trail here is actually part of an old roadbed that went down into the valley. The trail will soon follow another deep rocky ravine and then goes out through an old field( it's actually part of the same one you went through earlier). As you hike on, the trail passes a stand of hemlock trees(evergreens). And then starts downhill. When you level out, you will come to an old rotting log on your right. About 30 steps from this rotting log there is a group of 5 trees almost growing as one, on the right. In amongst the 4 closest growing tree trunks, under sticks and rock, is HOWL YOU DOING? Carefully stamp and replace everything and go on.
More scenic walking here before you get to the next box. The trail goes on and downhill, and you will eventually cross the same stream you crossed just as you started out. Only this time there is no bridge and you might get wet feet. The path then goes uphill and passes some large rocks with trees growing on/off of them. There may be several trees down across the trail here, although they may be cut out by the time you come through. Then you will pass by evidence(Know what it is?) of an old homestead, and the trail will go through a very brushy, briary, section. From this section you can look over and see where HOWL YOU DOING? is located. The trail enters the woodlands and will again follow an old roadbed for a little ways. Watch here, as the trail goes left and road goes straight. The trail crosses over the top of a little overhang and soon goes along the side of the hill overlooking the lake. When the trail starts going uphill and passes a large tree on your left and two rocks in the trail, you will see, on ahead, a large rotting log on both side of the trail. The section of the trunk on the right has a real nice hollow you can look down into, a perfect hiding place. But you want to follow this rotting section on to where the trunk forks. Down under the fork of this trunk, beneath bark you will find THE FONZ? hiding.
Now, you are almost done. Continue onward, and eventually the trail drops down to the lakeside. Look along the side of the lake and you will see a beaver lodge(Lots of sticks along the side and out into the lake.) Once you cross over the bottom, the trail climbs and will makes a sharp left turn. Ahead you will see some large trees that the beavers have been chewing on. After you have made this sharp left turn, there is a tree about 6 feet off trail that has been chewed. Behind this tree, about 20 feet, there is a 1 that is 2 tree, that the beavers have also feasted upon. This tree is also joined together again, about 20 feet up the trunks. Go to this tree and from the backside take a compass reading of 129* and you should see the root base of a smaller uprooted tree. Walk about 20 steps to this fallen tree and at the root base hole under a chunk of rotting wood you will find your last box. We hope you have enjoyed your day out letterboxing and have taken some time during your hike to STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS?.
Once you are done carefully stamping and re-hiding this last box, this tree points the way on to the trail, so just go on straight ahead till you meet up with the trail. The trail parallels another rocky ravine, and where the trail crosses the little streamlet that feeds this ravine, look up ahead and see a tree with two blue blazes.(One blaze is above and to the left of the other). You will also see a big open field. Here, you can continue on the trail till it intersects the white blaze trail further on, or take a shortcut and go to the right of the two blue blazed tree and, out into the field, up the hill to the gravel road and the little building where you started.
Thanks for coming out and Hiking Burr Oak.
If you encountered any problems or have any comments please let me know.
There are more letterboxes in the area, some are easy to get to and some are a challenge. More may be coming, so keep checking Morgan County, Ohio