Cuyahoga Valley National Park 05/28/2023

TractorDoc

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A quick search of BCP finds very little mention of Cuyahoga Valley National Park; probably because it holds very little backcountry. :)

I took my training hike to the road today for a change of scenery and to up my mileage. @scatman is planning to test my mental and physical abilities in a couple of months so I'm doing my best to be prepared. . . at least on the physical side.

I already read Hugh's report on Lookout Mountain. He has me beat on mileage and elevation gain, but where I have him licked is in the category of amount of weight carried. I loaded my pack up with a couple of dumbbells, a paver brick, and an assortment of snacks/water for the day. I doubt he carried enough cameras and co-jack cheese to be close to the 45lbs. I weighed in at using the crude bathroom scale method of measurement.

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CVNP follows the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron. It is a unique mix of nature, development, and history. I will not get into all that; I'll just post some pictures of what we saw today.

By "we" I mean Mrs. TractorDoc and myself. She joined me today because I promised her there would be ice cream available at some point mid-hike. Our pic at the big sign -- the only one you will get of either of us today.

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Our parking spot was at the village of Boston. For the first part of our hike we took a three mile out and back trip to Blue Hen Falls. The trail to Blue Hen Falls follows part of the Buckeye Trail.

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The trail ascends and descends some hilly terrain on the way to the falls.

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I thought the walk to the falls was going to be a warmup, but all the stairs and hills had my legs thinking otherwise.

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Does the NPS use the same font on all its signs? Maybe I'm just imagining things.

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It has been dry the last week or two, so the water volume was down a bit. Still pretty though.

Why Blue Hen Falls? Google says supposedly a farmer saw the carcass of a blue chicken at the bottom of the falls back in the day. Paints a pleasant picture, doesn't it?
I did not see any chickens hanging out around the falls today, but there were a number of park visitors down there.

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A picture of some of the stairs on the way back with people on them for scale. I know stairs will not be available in the wilderness; I just had to imagine that they were evenly spaced rocks.

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An interesting ground organism growing up from the forest floor. A fungus perhaps?

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My intention was to continue on the Buckeye trail once we returned from the falls, but the park service had the trail closed for repairs/improvements/etc. By default we took the Canal Towpath Trail two and a half miles South to the village of Peninsula (where ice cream would be waiting).

The towpath trail follows the Ohio and Erie canal -- it is almost like a rails to trails situation except this time the path is where the mules used to walk while pulling the canal boats. I wonder if any of @Rockskipper 's mule's ancestors walked here in the 1800s? :thinking:

A picture of nature, development, and history as the towpath trail heads South.

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The trail follows the Cuyahoga River and provides nice views of the water.

Some kayakers were enjoying themselves today.

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As were some geese.

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Remnant of the canal on the left, towpath trail on the right.

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Dame's Rocket was blooming in a lot of places. There was also a lot of yellow iris flowers.

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Small, blue flower. I'm not as good at naming them as others are on the forum. ;)

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Many places along the trail allow you to drop down to the river. Supposedly "Cuyahoga" means "crooked river."

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Small logjam. Some parts look to be purpose built.

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Boardwalks keep you out of the boggy areas.

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We arrived at Peninsula just in time to see the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train depart the station. The railroad follows the river and towpath trail. If you schedule things right you can hike or bike a distance down the towpath trail then catch a train ride back to where you started. This was not an option for us today because erosion near the railroad tracks is preventing the train from travelling any further North than Peninsula.

I do like trains -- especially vintage ones, so I had to watch this ALCO FPA-14 cab unit as it pulled away. Mrs. TractorDoc was off looking for ice cream.

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She found it! I had the coffee chocolate chunk in case you were curious.

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After a much enjoyed ice cream break we walked the towpath trail back to Boston.

More fungus was a hi-light on the return trip.

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Reminds me of doughnuts for some reason. . . or bagels.

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On the boardwalk again. This area was flooded in the canal days -- almost like a small lake.

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The stagnant canal treated us to a little wildlife on the way back.

Ducks.

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And turtles.

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This one was just a baby. Note the duckweed around him/her.

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Back at the trailhead the Gladiator waits for us.

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A snapshot from the GAIA GPS app. The 7.67 miles does not account for the times/distances missed when I forgot to resume recording after pausing. :)

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I thought the day deserved more than just ice cream, so on the way home we stopped at Ohio Pie for pizza. I believe I ordered something called the "Burly Boy."

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Today was a step in the right direction when it comes to getting ready for a trip down the Thorofare; I'll probably plan on several more training hikes back to the park when I get bored of walking around the farm. Till then. . .

The End!
 
It's been a long time since I've been to Cuyahoga. Seem to remember a nice waterfall and some cool ledges. Would like to check out Hocking Hills on one my next trips to Cincinnati area - connection to Grandma Gatewood. Not much for elevation gain out there, but carrying that 45 lbs up those stairs must have been good training for what awaits you out west. :roflmao:
 
Great to learn about Blue Hen Falls - thanks for sharing that. We sometimes stop at Cuyahoga on our drive between Michigan and Maryland (family there) but usually just walk or jog the tow path out and back. Next time we'll try the falls. But I do love seeing the turtles sunning themselves near the towpath - they always seem to be in the same spot somewhat close to the big overpass. Is that where you saw them, too?
 
I wonder if any of @Rockskipper 's mule's ancestors walked here in the 1800s? :thinking:
Probably not, as my ancestors were from the hardy stock used by the gold miners in the Klondike on one side and Kentucky thoroughbreds on the other (don't ask how they got together, the story I was told as a youngster was it had something to do with a DeLorean pulling a horse trailer).

Really nice TR, esp. the train and ice cream parts. :)
 
This report is going to need some serious dissection, but first off it is great to see you and the Mrs. I'm guessing that you are slowly training her for a short backcountry stay with the Scatfamily in Yellowstone? I'm thinking Ice Lake just might be the perfect fit. :thumbsup:

Hard to mentally prepare for the the Scatman. You just have to kind of dive in and hope for the best. :D

You have bested me on pack weight. My day pack was 21 pounds. Stair training will come in handy, and your choice for your training hike will unquestionably get you over Maso Pass with one small issue that I can see. You've clearly not got enough ice cream. You're going to need at least a tubs worth on our trip. I'll see if I can rig up some kind of apparatus so you'll be able to haul the tub in with you. How much weight can that boat that is taking us across Yellowstone Lake hold?

Second, your supposed to go straight through the boggy areas, not use a boardwalk. Geez, have I not taught you anything? :D Oh, and a swim through the old canal probably would have been good for training for this summer's adventure. How in the world did you manage 2.4 mph? Once I hit my stride on Saturday, I was maybe 1.5 mph. :scatman:

And now for the crux of my critique! Where are the veggies on that pizza? You're going to need some roughage, so that you can pass waste products from your gut come August. Maso Pass is not kind to those that are plugged up. :D And what is that cookie with all the M&M's?

And once again, I can see that you have caused my jealousy meter to hit "High" for the picture of the Gladiator. Was that intentional?

All kidding aside, what a wonderful report. I've never been to Cuyahoga Valley National Park before. The fungus on the tree looks line naan to me. Sprinkle a little bit of garlic on it and I'll eat some. :) Love the shots of the turtles. And I love the train shot too, though I'm a bigger fan of the EMD F7 locomotive. I used to go to the depot in Asheville with my dad when I was a kid and watch the trains (both passenger and freight) go by - Southern Railway. Those were the days.
 
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But I do love seeing the turtles sunning themselves near the towpath - they always seem to be in the same spot somewhat close to the big overpass. Is that where you saw them, too?
I think so -- they were in the water filled canal remnant South of the bridged overpasses. The ledges is/are an interesting area as well if you've not been there. Perhaps I can make that a portion of the next visit.

the story I was told as a youngster was it had something to do with a DeLorean pulling a horse trailer
Was the DeLorean pulling a horse trailer. . . or were the horses pulling the DeLorean? :)

You've clearly not got enough ice cream. You're going to need at least a tubs worth on our trip.
I will see how much I can move thru the freeze drier. Any flavor requests?

How in the world did you manage 2.4 mph? Once I hit my stride on Saturday, I was maybe 1.5 mph.
Easy! I was walking horizontally, you were more or less walking vertically. I'm betting my vertical speed falls well below 1.5 mph.

Maso Pass is not kind to those that are plugged up.
I'm not the one eating cheese during my hike. ;)

And what is that cookie with all the M&M's?
That is some kind of Reece's Pieces Peanut Butter Cookie. Ohio Pie has a big display case with all sorts of flavor options/combinations.

picture of the Gladiator. Was that intentional?
You asked earlier if you've taught me anything. . . you traditionally post a picture of the Subaru or Wrangler waiting for you upon your return to the trailhead. I'm simply copying your methods. Add "Trip Report Mentor" to your resume.

I'm a bigger fan of the EMD F7 locomotive.
I think that is what powers my HO Scale train set! I too prefer the look of the F7s; I think the more rounded nose looks better. :thumbsup:
 
I will see how much I can move thru the freeze drier. Any flavor requests?

I'm not the one eating cheese during my hike. ;)

You asked earlier if you've taught me anything. . . you traditionally post a picture of the Subaru or Wrangler waiting for you upon your return to the trailhead. I'm simply copying your methods. Add "Trip Report Mentor" to your resume.

I think that is what powers my HO Scale train set! I too prefer the look of the F7s; I think the more rounded nose looks better. :thumbsup:

Some kind of Oreo cookie ice cream please. Or maybe a chocolate Oreo cookie ice cream. :thumbsup:

No Moon Cheese?

If I am your mentor, you are in big trouble my friend. :)

Rounded is definitely better.

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Love a good midwest trip report! Any issues with ticks? I've heard they're pretty bad all over the midwest and east coast this year.
 
Any issues with ticks? I've heard they're pretty bad all over the midwest and east coast this year.
I've been fortunate and have not found any on myself this year.

There has been an increased number of dogs/cats coming into the vet clinic with them though.
 
Wow - that was quite a train video! I don't think I've ever seen a train from that angle. Camera on a tripod, I assume?

I'm guessing there are plenty of train enthusiasts around here. Until I became a mom, I didn't care about them one bit. Actually, trains were quite a nuisance when I got stuck behind the gate during my morning or afternoon commute. BUT, when I had a cranky toddler, I found that he stopped being cranky when we were at a train station watching and waiting. We lived in Philly, quite close to the R5 "Main Line" (for any of you who know) and we spent hours every day at one station or another along that route. We got to know the conductors, and we were thrilled when the freight train came along - so many cars to enjoy! One time an Amtrak engineer actually dropped a bag out of his window for my son - it was full of train paraphernalia that a little boy would enjoy. Other people at the station were looking at us wondering what kind of deal had just gone down! Little boys grow up, and my son lost his passion for trains (he moved on to sports and is now quite a runner), but after so many happy experiences with trains, I still thrill at hearing the whistle and watching them go past. We'll have to look for the Cayuhoga one next time we're there!
 
I was curious about the angle myself. Are they trying to see the condition of the undercarriage, or maybe the wheels? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

Not sure why I was fascinated by trains as a kid. Maybe it was the shear size of a train, and how they stop and start up again being so large, and how did the idea pop into someone's head that this was the way to go. To this day I consider them an engineering marvel.
 
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Really gave me the willies
I can have an ant, a spider, a mosquito, etc. land on me without much mental anguish. Put a tick on me though and it really messes with my psyche. :)

That camera looks like it's mere inches from being taken on a train ride.
Camera on a tripod, I assume?
I was curious about the angle myself.
I set the GoPro camera on its little tripod right up against the yellow chain you see in the video. As the engine approached my eyes grew larger as I thought it might take the camera out too. I was not sure what kind of video I was going to get, but it is kind of interesting.

We'll have to look for the Cayuhoga one next time we're there!
Make sure to check out their website for the schedule and any special events that might be taking place.


In years past they hold special weekend trips with Steam Locomotives. When I was younger my folks took me on an excursion led by Nickel Plate Road 765 across the Chesapeake and Ohio New River Gorge Route (I still have the t-shirt :) ). The locomotive was retired not long after but was then completely refurbished in the early 2000s. The Mrs. and I were biking the towpath trail back in 2017 and it happened to be the same weekend the steam train was running -- it was the same 2-8-4 locomotive that pulled the train I rode on so many years ago. We've since taken the steam train for the full excursion; I'd highly recommend it if you have the time and option.

Here is a picture of 765 that I took from the Cuyahoga Valley bike ride in 2017.

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