This week’s adventure took place in a new location again. Garfield Park Reservation, located at 11350 Broadway Ave, Garfield Heights, OH 44125, it’s hidden in an urban jungle. We chose the park because the pictures looked inviting, there was a prolific waterfall, and it was close to home. We knew we’d be a little pressed for time with everything we had planned for the day. The high on the trail was 15 degrees, with the windchill making it feel like a brisk -5 degrees.
This week, I wasn’t suffering from the brown bottle flu or talking to God on the giant white phone this week, but I’ve been trying to bounce back from a cold. It’s been a weird week… I have felt great, but the pieces of your run of the mill cold have been manifesting themselves in my body, one part at a time. Today it’s been a nagging cough accompanied by some good ol’ fashioned lung butter. What better way to combat it than to get outside and get some exercise?
So, we made the short drive up I-77 to I-480 East and hopped off at the Broadway exit. I found some CD’s from my early adulthood and we jammed out on the way there to the sounds of Montgomery Gentry, Ne-yo, and Usher. Now this particular park is the kind that most people probably wouldn’t go to after dark. It was in a pretty sketchy part of town. We meandered our way through the parking lot and didn’t like our first pass – Tara pointing out a very suspect looking gentleman who looked like he might be there on business. That business could have been selling another substance as white as the snow we were about to hike through.
We found another spot to park and were immediately drawn to an arching stone bridge. Bundled up in about 34 layers a piece we made our way over to it and were captivated by the sound of water slowly trickling its way down a man-made waterfall.
We snapped some pictures, made our way over and it was LITERALLY a bridge to nowhere.
However, this bridge to nowhere was one of the highlights of the walk because we saw a family of four deer.
There were a couple of different paths in Garfield Park Reservation, a dirt / gravel path, and a paved one. We made sure to start on the dirt one and ended up on the paved one. Everything was blanketed in snow. The cold had a fierce bite to it today. Anything exposed was subject to a little frostbite. Every step crunched and groaned beneath our feet. Hand in hand we made our way through. With this park being in the middle of the city, there was a lot of noise. You heard the cars passing, the occasional siren, and a train. It was a far stretch from last week’s adventure in Walton Hills.
We couldn’t find the waterfall that was advertised and we were extremely cold after the couple of mile journey. So, we decided to head back. We found a map on the way back and discovered the waterfall was three miles up the road at the very northern part of the reservation. We hopped in the car and headed towards the falls. The waterfall was located deeper into the questionable neighborhoods. We couldn’t quite make the turns necessary, so after some creative driving, we got on the right path.
Upon arrival, we discovered a small staircase that led down to where we wanted to be. The waterfall was almost completely frozen.
My fear of heights kicked in a bit as I dangled over the railing to snap some more pictures. Just as we were ready to leave, we spotted this…
What is it? Otter was my best guess. It was very rodent like, the tail was furry, and it had a fish in its mouth. It was quick to get up the hill-face and disappeared amongst the rocks. It was surprising to see the amount of wildlife that we did, especially given the surrounding area. All in all – a good walk, but not my favorite metropark. It could be something we visit in the summer time to see what we missed on our first go-round.
Overall ratings for the Garfield Park Reservation: 2.75 out of 5 – The park is one of the smallest we’ve been to so far. The trails weren’t clearly marked. The highlight of our walk was definitely the abundance of wildlife.
Accessibility: 4 out of 5 – I-77 to I-480 East and was right off of the Broadway exit. Very easy to get to.
Terrain: 2 out of 5 – There were some small challenges on the trail, but nothing to get you out of breath. There were a lot of staircases, which I’m not a fan of in nature.
Cleanliness: 3 out of 5 – Snow covered everything and anything in sight, which was nice, but it didn’t give you a feel as to what the condition of the park was.
Trail designation: 1.5 out of 5 – It may have been the snow, but the trail wasn’t very visible. There was very little signage to let you know where you were. We mostly followed animal tracks and some other footprints.
Bathroom availability: 2 out of 5 – There were only one set of bathrooms that we saw in the park. We didn’t stop today just due to weather.