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The Serenity of Cuyahoga Valley National Park

I never expected to find myself jealous of Ohioans, and yet here we are. I'll explain...

I left Monday for Seattle and stopped in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. I worked for a couple of hours at a library, where I overheard the following 100% serious conversation, transcribed in its entirety:

Overheard in a Library

"How do I get upstairs?"

"The stairs."

"Thank you."

Top-notch service from John the librarian. Love it. Also, I street-parked outside the library and paid the meter with nickels. I'm sure my older readers will find this inane (I'm sorry!), but, ya know, inflation. I've never before used a meter that took anything smaller than quarters. Really made a dent in my truck's "piggy bank" drawer (We all have one, right?).

I had 3.5 hours left to Cleveland, where I plan to pick Lizzie up Wednesday, and I wondered if I might find something interesting to see on the drive. Lo and behold, there is a national park here! I should have known, having studied the map of all 63 (to try and catch 'em all, of course), but I forgot about this one.

Tucked into the suburbs between Akron and Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a wonder of greenery and waterfalls. It spans 33,000 acres and preserves part of the Cuyahoga River and Ohio-Erie Canal and Towpath. If you have no idea what I just said, I didn't either until today. I'm sorry I didn't pay attention in History of U.S. Hydrotransportation during the Antebellum Period?? (A class I just made up and will teach you right now, briefly.)

A Brief History of U.S. Hydrotransportation during the Antebellum Period

In the 1820s, the state of Ohio constructed a canal from Lake Erie down the state in order to facilitate the trade of goods. The state was new (1803) and had few residents (50,000) and no convenient trade routes (0). Pre-trains, which were right around the corner, the U.S. had a number of transportation canals, and they all had "tow ways" or "towpaths." Horses would pull the barges down the canal, walking next to the river on a towpath. Today, that towpath is an amazing walkway in the National Park, and the preserved waterway is home to many species.

On my walk through Beaver Marsh, I saw two otters, a beaver, a chipmunk, some ducklings, two turtles, and one fish. It wasn't even that long of a walk. I also heard but couldn't find some loud toads and many excited birds.

The towpath is now a mixed-use trail, and clearly a popular one at that. I passed bikers, hikers, joggers, and dog walkers. The weather was idyllic, and I was a little jealous of the homeowners in the middle of the park in Peninsula, Ohio.

I also went on a short walk/hike around Brandywine Falls. The Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail is a mile and a half and provides views from three heights of the 65-foot waterfall. Then it loops away from the falls, through a pasture, and back to the parking lot.

As I was headed back to my car, an elderly couple asked me for directions. I provided, we parted ways, and over my shoulder, I said "Enjoy."

Overheard in a National Park Parking Lot

He yelled back: “We will!”

She mumbled: “You don't know if we will.”



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