Moonville summer

FM Skyline

Alley Park lodge.
Trail to the natural rock bridge in the Rockbridge nature preserve.
It's a pretty far drop from the bridge.
Waterfall seen from a ledge below.
Final stop for the night was Zaleski forest. This is looking back the Olds Hollow trail branch.
Tumor tree is one of the landmarks. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to reach the first campsite (Point D).
Sassafras tea.
The whippoorwills started up just after sunset each night. Might need headphones to hear.
Taking a dip in Lake Hope the next morning to rinse off the sweat and spiderwebs.
Old Adena burial mound near the city of Zaleski.
Another view.
The next morning it was time to hike the Moonville Rail Trail. It runs on the old B&O railbed that winds through the forest. The railroad was built in the mid-1800s and ran from West Virginia, though Athens and Vinton county, to Cincinnati. The rails were tore up in the 1980s.
The trail is fairly primitive, covered with tall grass for most of the first stretch. Luckily there were no ticks whatsoever.
Wildflowers grow on the trail alongside scattered pieces of coal.
Preserved bridge trusses from one of the bridges that were taken out. There are several stream crossings as the route cut through the winding Raccoon Creek.
The first stream crossing required a total of 5 support structures.
Nature is reclaiming the supports.
View of the supports from the near side of the creek.
View across the creek.
The water was over ankle height, so I had to ford it barefoot so my boots didn't get submerged.
View from the far side of the stream.
View from the top of the far bank.
The next section of trail was more overgrown.
The trail runs between two rock faces.
View of the lefthand rock face.
View of the righthand rock face.
It turns out the stream crossing at the end of this section is pretty much impassible, with no trail down the near bank and no trail up the far bank, so I had to backtrack and re-ford the previous crossing. This is a view of the undercut rock from the middle of the creek. The section can be bypassed by following the nearby gravel road until it intersects with the rail trail again at the Moonville Tunnel crossing.
The Tunnel crossing recently had a bridge reinstalled in 2017 for foot and bike traffic.
Small rapids under the bridge where you used to have to walk over the rocks.
View looking back at the tunnel after passing through into the forest.
Old telegraph pole still standing.
Rock cliffs located a small ways up a side trail.
I forgot to take a picture of the next stream crossing, but it required another barefoot fording. This crossing afterwards had a handy log to walk across.
The stretch of trail after the tunnel is maintained relatively well.
Some sort of old concrete deal.
The trail soon comes up to several boggy marshes
Another telegraph pole, with Hewitt Fork flowing alongside.
This section of trail came out into a clearing and was close to the width of the original railbed grading, with water close by on both sides.
Another pond.
Trail through the vegetation.
The final and largest pond at Bear Hollow, filled with lilypads.
The next section of trail reentered the forest.
This stretch eventually came to another stream crossing.
The trail on the far side seemed fairly dense and impassible, so I decided to end my rail trail journey and backtrack to where it connects to the Zaleski backpacking trail.
These creepy spiders were all over the place where the ghost town of Ingham once stood alongside the railroad.
This iron stake was the only trace I was able to find of human activity. There are supposed to be some mineshafts that go into the hills nearby.
The backpack trail followed the large pond to the hollow opposite the railbed.
View across the pond, with the rail trail below the hills.
After about an hour of hiking the trail came up to a rocky overlook.
Pretty good view out into the haze.
View from farther back.
After a few more minutes of hiking the trail comes up to a cleared area and this seemingly out-of-place sign.
After about 6 hours of hiking for the day I was back at Point D.
View from the afternoon. In the morning it was another hike back to Hope Schoolhouse through the spiderwebs.
Old B&O telegraph pole and railroad bridge over the Hocking in Athens
Vesuvius Furnace in Lawrence County is well maintained as part of the Wayne National Forest. It was built in 1833.
Old CCC-era building in WNF. This night was spent on the WNF backpacking trail, with a dip in Lake Vesuvius in the morning.
Etna (Aetna) Furnace in Lawrence county isn't in as good of shape but is easy to find nearby a road. It was built in 1832.
View of the vegetation growing over.
Side of the furnace.
The interior is full of crumbled sandstone. The furnace nameplate is visible in the bottom left.
Interesting wear on the sandstone after 150+ years.
Nameplate on a broken iron support.
The Olive Furnace in Lawrence County is set back in a clearing and required wading through tall grass that was full of ticks. This furnace was built in 1846. Also notice the unique arch structure still standing on the upper right.
The surrounding grounds are littered with coal and slag from when the furnace was operating.
The slag appears like glass (melted sand) mixed with iron residues.
Closer look at the arch.
Another shot of the furnace and arch.
Up-close view of the furnace entrance.
A view of the left portico inside the furnace.
A view of the right portico.
Farther up the road, the C&HV station still stands in good shape in Wellston. The old railbed has been turned into a bike trail.
Old signalling mechanism.
Old rail dolly.
Next stop was out a long gravel road in Vinton County to try and find the Vinton Furnace and Belgian Coke Ovens. Couldn't spot them because of the thick vegetation, but these abandoned bridges were nearby.
Not in the best shape, but still passable on foot.
Shot from the other side.
Continuing down the trail is another bridge that crosses back over the stream to the gravel road.
No idea how old these are.
Nature reclaiming over Elk Fork.
Shot from the far bank of the bridge and old stone supports.
Just south around Rt 160 is the ghost town of Oreton, where the C&HV used to pass by the Eagle Furnace and through Eagle Tunnel. The tunnel is located at the end of the hollow this bridge passes over.
It's hard to see, but the tunnel brickwork is visible in the center of the image. It was impossible to get over to in warm weather due to the thick vegetation and ticks everywhere. The railbed at the bottom of the hollow leading to the hill has also turned very watery. Another thing to come back to in the winter.
Not far away up the road is the Eagle Furnace, which was built in 1852. It's located a little ways up an abandoned and overgrown driveway, and I missed it on my way up. I had to turn around because of the ticks and on my way back down happened to notice some sandstone blocks scattered off to the side. The furnace is barely visible under the vegetation.
Another view of the furnace structure.
One of the sandstone blocks that has fallen from the furnace.
Some sort of abandoned C&HV shelter nearby.
Effects of acid mine drainage on Pierce Run due to a long-abandoned surface coal mine nearby. Coal is scattered all along the roadside in this area.
View from Lake Hope Lodge.
Another view from the lodge.
Brick structures alongside Rt 278 in Nelsonville.
Nearby plaque with lots of Nelsonville Block.
View inside the domed building.
Crumbling chimney.
Bricks being slowly overgrown.
Comfortable brick bench.
Farther down the road in Haydenville, the C&HV station is in pretty bad shape. It was built sometime in the 1870s.
Amazing brick work.
Station where passengers used to travel on the C&HV.
Station and an old telegraph pole.
View from one of the Hocking Hills trails on the last night.