This weekend we’ve been blessed with something almost unheard of in Cleveland. Something so spectacular that everyone is talking about it. Something miraculous. That something is called sunshine. Warm weather and sun tend not to exist here for about four months, so when they randomly appear, you better take full advantage.
The weather phenomenon clearly put everyone in the same mindset. Casey and I – and half of Cleveland – decided to head out to Rocky River Reservation for a morning hike. Parking was painful, but we were lucky enough to snag a decent spot. Most everyone else was left to just park it on the side of the road.
I’ve frequented Rocky River quite often – it’s where I train for half marathons because it has a fantastic paved multi-use trail that spans 13.6 miles across the entire park. This morning, however, we checked out a different part of the reservation and headed to the Fort Hill Stairs. There is something demented about the thrill I get from climbing stairs. It’s always a challenge. No matter how in shape I think I am or how much I work out, stairs always humble me…and I love them. (I know. I told you – demented!)
The crowds of people at the bottom of the stairs thinned out the higher we climbed. After catching our breath for a minute, we were able to take in the sights from the top. Is there anything more satisfying than an amazing view as a reward for climbing? I think not, and I think this photo is proof.
At the top we decided to take to the trails. These were unpaved trails, which were incredibly muddy thanks to the snow melt and endless rainy days we’ve had (seriously – we like never see the sun). Part of me imagined diving into the mud, rolling around in it and throwing it at Casey. Sometimes I hate my self-controlled, because that would’ve made for a fun blog post and even more fun photos. Sorry to disappoint, but I merely squished along.
I would love to tell you about the trails we walked along, their names, distances and some of their history, but they were hardly marked. We decided to just go with it and figure it out as we went. Essentially everything loops back to the main Nature Center, so it’s a pretty safe bet to just throw the map out the window.
Most of the trails wound their way through some dense forest, and we even got to check out a gang (gaggle, throng, pack, herd?) of deer down in a valley for a bit. Then we meandered around a creek and back to the Nature Center. Along one of the trails, we found this amazing treasure that someone randomly placed.
It perfectly sums up what I love about being in nature. See, this morning I was torn between going downtown for the Women’s March or heading out on our hike. (Chill out. This isn’t going to get political.) I chose nature. There’s something about going into the woods, away from civilization and getting back to the very basics of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s simple. It’s calming. Nature doesn’t judge you. It doesn’t care how much you weigh or what color your skin is or who you voted for. Everyone is on an equal playing field on the trail.