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Guest Blog Post: Shoot the Hills, Great Way to Explore Hocking Hills

March 4, 2013

This Guest Blog Post is by Tonya Prater, a blogger and family travel blogger with The Traveling Praters. 

Shoot the Hills, Great Way to Explore Hocking Hills

By Tonya Prater

Last year, I entered and won a contest that was sponsored by Hocking Hills Tourism Association. I was so excited! Not only did my winnings include a much needed new camera, I was also entered to participate in the annual photography competition, Shoot the Hills.

Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park

Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park

I have to be honest and say that I would have been ecstatic to win the camera alone, but to have an excuse to visit and explore Hocking Hills State Park after a four year absence, well, that was simply the icing on the cake.

The day of the competition, I convinced two of my teens to accompany me and off we sped towards Logan, Ohio.

Inside the recess cave known as Old Man's Cave

Inside the recess cave known as Old Man’s Cave

When we arrived at the Lodge in Hocking Hills State Park, all photographers were corralled into a conference room where the administrators went over the rules, participants asked whatever questions they had, and our cameras were checked and approved. There was even a staff member available to offer assistance to finding some of the more out of the way points in the park so everyone didn’t rush to the Upper Falls (the most photographed falls in the park, by the way).

The contest began promptly at noon and we exited the building and set off in search of the perfect shot. I’ll add that I love to take pictures and I do so all the time, but I didn’t stand a chance at winning this 24-hour competition. As happy as I was to visit Hocking Hills, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay more than a few hours because of other obligations. I was there strictly to disconnect with technology and spend quality time enjoying the beauty of the outdoors with my children.

And enjoy it, we did. With the absence of Wi-Fi and cell phone service throughout much of the park, we escaped texts, Facebook notifications and what can sometimes seem like constant e-mails. Instead, we connected with the beautiful surroundings along the Old Man’s Cave trail, reminding us why we had fallen in love with Hocking Hills on our very first visit nearly ten years ago.

Look closely and you may find the Sphinx Head, one of the many prominent rock formations you'll discover in Hocking Hills State Park.

Look closely and you may find the Sphinx Head, one of the many prominent rock formations you’ll discover in Hocking Hills State Park.

Shoot the Hills photography contest was well organized with plenty of volunteers available to offer assistance to anyone that asked. I was originally a wee bit apprehensive about participating in the contest but soon discovered my uneasiness was unfounded. While there were serious photographers among the participants, there were also many photo hobbyists who were there to have fun and snap a few great pictures in the process.

The Upper Falls, perhaps the most photographed waterfall in Hocking Hills.

The Upper Falls, perhaps the most photographed waterfall in Hocking Hills.

Mark your calendar now, Shoot the Hills will be held April 19-21, 2013 and registration is open and open to beginner, intermediate and advanced photographers. There’s also a fun new division, Snap & App, that encourages smartphone photography.

So, what do you say, will you help support the Friends of the Hocking Hills State Park as a participant in the 12th annual Shoot the Hills photography competition?

Tonya PraterAbout the Guest Blogger: Tonya is a wife, mother to three great teens, past and future full-time RVer and committed family travel blogger on a quest to explore all of Ohio’s 88 counties with her family in 2013, seeking out the best in fun, family friendly, educational travel in the Buckeye State.

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