Hidden Gems

I woke up early at the Blackhand Gorge Cabin area. I couldn’t believe there was frost on my tent forcing me to put on my down coat in the middle of May. It had been a very cold night causing a light frost. Brrr!

At 8:00 am Luellen showed up followed by Bill Weaver and Mike Birkmeyer who brought coffee and some donuts. We hung out there as I finished packing up. I was honored to have been able to sleep at Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve area as this is not usually allowed. Thanks Bill Weaver retired Toboso Principal and now local historian and volunteer for helping to arrange this.

Soon it was time to enjoy our walk into Hanover. Along the way Bryan Lewis drove by and stopped to ask if everything was ok. Bryan is local musician who writes some hilarious songs. Check him out at

Then it was on to Schmidty’s where we met up with Doug Schmidt who very generously made a donation on the spot.

After we left there, we said goodbye to Bill Weaver and Mike and I continued our journey onto Bowerston Shale. There we got some history and a tour of the brick making facility. The whole process was extremely fascinating

Bowerston can also boast of housing a great brick sculpting artist, Alan Moran. He has worked at Bowerston for many years. He is one of six artists who do this kind of art around the world. His brick murals that can be found throughout Licking County as well as many places around the country. Alan is getting ready to retire soon and I kept thinking about who might take his place after he is gone. Wishing that there was someone he could train and pass down his skills to so that this does not truly become a lost art. What a hidden gem Alan is in this county. If you appreciate quality artistic craftsmanship you have to go see some of Alan’s work. I am in awe of his talents and abilities.

Thank you Bowerston and Alan for all of your contributions to our Licking County community for many years.

After we left Bowerston we headed into Hanover walking through the one lane tunnel

Then I headed to the Licking Valley Elementary School where I was invited to walk around the bus loop with a few hundred primary students. After our walk we sat on a grassy slope and took time for a lot of questions. They were fascinated with my pack, my boots, my stick (which now is called “Henry”) and how I camp out and use the restroomJ.

After delightful time with the primary students it was time to head back through town to Hanover Presbyterian Church. There I pitched my tent, enjoyed a casual, Gaither-like singing in the sanctuary followed by some very yummy refreshments and an opportunity to share my story. At the end of our time together the church also gave me a very nice donation toward our 50 goal.

Thanks Hanover Presbyterian for your prayers and generosity.

Around 9:30 p.m. it was time for bed.

Continue to follow Deb on the 50 the United Way journey. To donate toward 50 the United Way go to

#GiveWalkDo50 #LiveUnited

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