How we roll

Gigantic rock formations are cool.

Bad planning is much less cool.

Spending time with the people who are important to us is very cool.

Of the impressive rock formations in the county, I have visited Rimrock and Jakes Rocks many times, Bakers Rocks once, and Gardners Rocks probably once, but decades ago.

I recommend visiting them.

My brother and I decided to have our annual photo shoot at Gardners Rocks in northwestern Glade Township.

It was an adventure.

To start, I had a rough map leading from the Warren County Conservation District pavilion on Hatch Run to the rocks. The night before the trip, I found that a logging road off of Wright Road might give us better access. So, based on a two-minute Google, I discarded my previous plan.

Matt brought a compass and a functional GPS. I brought a shoddy plan that was discarded for a shoddier one.

We turned on the logging road (the correct one) and, judging by GPS, got pretty close. We parked the car and started the foot portion of the trip. We followed the path until the rocks were due north. There were lots of annoying bugs.

After not finding rocks quickly, we checked the GPS. We were not close to the rocks, nor were we due north of where we left the road.

I blamed the maps of the logging roads — it’s probably hard to keep those updated.

So, we headed back to the road. Matt had to steer me 90 degrees from my initial return path. We went farther down the road. (If we get to the end and THEN go north, we’ll be right there.) We got to the end of the road. GPS said we were even farther away.

As we trudged back up the hill, I said, “We are really not good at this.” We laughed. It wasn’t wasted time. It was time well spent. Just not for finding a particular destination.

We got back to the vehicle, which did not contain any bug spray, bad planning, and decided that driving would save us time in the likely event that we might go the wrong way again.

The drive was much longer than we thought it should be, but GPS eventually started giving some good results. After driving a half-circle around where we thought the rocks were, we parked a little more than a half mile west of our destination.

Our hike in was through the thickest, thorniest, best grouse habitat, ick nastiness that I can remember hiking through.

I lost almost as much blood to the thorns as to the endless swarm that dive-bombed my head the entire trip. Bad planning. Highly memorable.

Surprisingly, we found rocks.

We took some pics — I shot hundreds, but that’s how I roll.

At one point, we were shooting between two rocks and wanted to move to the other side. I went first — if I could get through, he could. I was close, but my tripod kept getting in the way. I tossed it through the gap. I then found out that not having the tripod did not help me fit through the gap.

That thing was six feet away, but we had to circle three very large rocks to get to it — hundreds of feet of travel, up, down, and through the rocks. Not convenient. Better would have been, “Hold this until I get through, then hand it to me.” Poor planning.

When our time was up, we decided to not go through the ick-nasty. We took a path to the south and hit the road after about 200 yards of easy going and walked the half-mile-plus to the vehicle. Much improved planning.

For our five hours in the wild, we spent about three in the actual photography phase and I received countless bites, numerous living and dead bugs in my hair, many small and a couple larger thorn gouges, and, I discovered later, two ticks. I was also disappointed with my photography.

Better planning would have made this a better venture and I vow to think it would make sense to do a better job of that next time.

But I won’t trade the memories of that adventure with my brother.