Oh sweet trails, it’s been so long

I’ve been pounding a lot of pavement in the last few months. That’s just the way it goes when you spend a year focused on road marathons.

But my first love is trails, and it’s been too long since I’ve run a few of my favorite singletracks and towpaths.

Over the weekend, I made up for lost time. I drove to Ohio to visit friends and family. And of course,  I managed to squeeze in a long trail run. On Sunday morning, I ran in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The first half was on a groomed towpath. The second half was on a rugged hiking trail.

I took plenty of photos to tide me over. Whenever I get homesick for the old trails, I’ll just check out this posting.

But enough words! Let’s let the photos do the talking.

Here’s the starting point, near the Boston Store trailhead of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath.

From here, I ran along the Cuyahoga River…

…and under a few bridges…

…past a meadow or two…

…over a wetland boardwalk…

 

…through the woods…

….under a train trestle…

…over the Cuyahoga River near Lock 29…

…past some small whitewater rapids…

…and back through the woods, with handy mile markers.

It was a beautiful morning, with thick green woods and lots of flowers. I ran past another lock, near an old quarry…

….with plenty of company on the trail…

…and lots of views of the river.

I ran south almost to Hunt Farm, then turned around and headed north again.

I exited the towpath near the historic village of Peninsula, Ohio…

…and ran through the village, past art galleries…

…and churches…

and back into the woods, up a steep brick abandoned road…

…and ready for part two of the run, along a rugged, hilly hiking path, the Buckeye Trail.

This trail has lots of cool variety, from woods and meadows…

…to steep hillsides, sometimes with steps and sometimes not.

I trotted to the bottom of the valley, where I found a creek bank that seems to have suffered serious erosion from recent storms.

A minute or two later, the trail crossed the creek, but I kept my feet dry, thanks to this stone footpath.

What goes down must go up. Here’s the never-ending Hill of Death, a monstrously long, steep climb. I have never been able to run all the way to the top without gasping for breath and coming to a dead stop.

At the top, there are more woods and meadows…

…and an occasional muddy patch.

 

Soon, the trail hits Pine Lane, a corridor of pine trees, with thousands of gnarly roots….

…including a few foot-grabbing monsters like this one.

Hey, I hear runners approaching. Let’s let them pass and see if they can navigate the Killer Roots. (Oops, my hands are shaking, and the photo is blurry.)

The trail briefly leaves the woods to cross the interstate on a paved overpass…

 

…but thankfully, it re-enters the woods a couple of hundred feet later, leaving traffic and pavement behind…

….except when it occasionally swings back close to the roadside. But even then, the view isn’t too bad, with the wooded hillsides in the distance.

The run lasted about 10 miles and took me about an hour and 25 minutes. I probably spent 10-15 minutes of that time taking photos. But it was worth it.

Here’s one last shot of Trail Boy. Can’t you see that I hated every stinkin’ minute of these trails?

Well, that was just the medicine I needed. Now it’s back to roads, as I hunker down on my marathon training.

Oh sweet, sweet trails, I’ll be back in another month or so.

(To return to the home page, click here.)

 

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3 Responses to “Oh sweet trails, it’s been so long”

  1. Now that’s what I call a great area to run in. Love the picture, which say more than words ever could.

  2. Thanks for bringing back old memories. My wife and I have been on every inch of those trails. Over many sessions, we walked the towpath from Akron to Cleveland and the Buckeye Trail from around New Philadelphia to Cleveland, but the parts in Cuyahoga Valley are the prettiest.

  3. BEAUTIFUL! love the boardwalk picture the best that is artwork!

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