By: Mary McNeill-Knowles • marymcneillknowles.com

Visiting home allows me to get away from my work and other distractions of everyday life, and to take advantage of being outside and exploring. A few weeks ago I went home for Thanksgiving and decided to check out the Hell Holes; a common destination for school field trips in the area, but one I had never experienced. We headed out, boyfriend and brothers, to explore this unusual geological area.

The Hell Holes turned out to be a place unexpected.

A charming log cabin is the starting point. There, you receive a flashlight and a map of the self-guided loop of about 3.5 km. Unlike the flat farm fields in the surrounding area, the Hell Holes trail takes you from an autumn forest, down into a gorge with overhanging ledges, grottos, and leafy green ferns.  The flashlight came in handy when scaling down a ladder – 25 feet into a tiny rock crevasse. With almost no natural light making to the bottom, we made our way around with our flashlight and our cell phones.

Although the hike wasn’t by any means extreme, it was a fun afternoon spent exploring somewhere new, but close to home.