What a day! Winter decided to show up again and attacked us in waves yesterday. Even though the day was a bit brisk at 30 degrees, we decided to take our show on the road and headed an hour east to Youngstown. We visited Lanterman’s Mill, located at 1001 Canfield Road, Youngstown, OH 44511. It’s always difficult for me to be in that section of Ohio. It brings out that particular brand of football fans that I’ve come to despise… Ohio born Pittsburgh fans. As we travelled the roads it became more and more prevalent. You would see houses with flags, cars with stickers, and people adorning that gaudy logo. I swallowed my pride and carried on so we could share our hiking experiences with Tara’s brother Todd and his girlfriend Stacy.
We drove to their house, jumped in their vehicle, and were off to the park. I was a bit worn out and frustrated after a blowout loss in my basketball league, so hitting the trail was a great way to ease my mind. I will tell you, hands down; this is one of the best parks in Ohio I’ve been to yet. We walked two or three stretches of trails that winded amongst gorges and a river. We gazed upon waterfalls of different shapes and sizes. There were sheer rock walls, thoroughly carved with initials and names, and we found the same markings on a few trees. I even poked my head in a cave or two. I of course had imaginative stories of homeless people making their dwellings in this pocket of nature. We were constantly challenged by the ever changing terrain; there was seldom a flat section to be found on either the East Gorge or West Gorge Trail.
My ankles have been a bit tender from rolling them in my basketball league. As we walked, what was our greatest aid for footing on the muddy trail also became combative to me – a very entangled and exposed root system in the forest. It definitely slowed Tara and my usual pace. You had to be sure of where you were placing your next step. Even though I tweaked my ankle a couple dozen times on the walk, it was worth it.
We walked for at least a couple of hours, covering around 4 or 4.5 miles. There were a few others out there, including a chocolate colored dog, which didn’t appear to have an owner. I instantly tried to adopt him, even though he was a hundred feet above us on a different trail. I coaxed him partially down the hill only to have my adoption attempts foiled when his owner started yelling for him.
One thing that’s becoming a growing trend for our hikes is my hunger. Todd, Tara’s brother, had promised pizza at the end of our expedition. About halfway through the idea of consuming that pizza consumed my thoughts. Luckily, Tara and I had planned ahead and packed some snacks. The only thing missing on our walk was more wildlife. It was good to have some additional company on this hike. Todd and Stacy filled silences with laughter and observations. It’s always good to see them. As we made our way back to the car, we were pleasantly surprised by the sight of my chocolate colored dog friend. He greeted us with big tail wags and a few sniffs. His owner was still lagging behind the energetic pup.
After our journey ended, I was rewarded with a Greek style pizza from the Sunrise Inn. We destroyed some appetizers because the pizza takes around a half hour to make, but the deep dish was well worth all the traveling. On the way home we found pocket after pocket of snow, but made it back in reasonable timing. It was a long day and a fun day. I can’t wait to check the park out in the summer time!
Overall ratings for Lanterman’s Mill: 4 out of 5 – Gorgeous views, challenging terrain, and great company. One of my favorite hikes to date. If you have an opportunity to visit this park, GO!
Accessibility: 2 out of 5 – This was a haul from Cleveland. We spent around an hour and a half in the car, but worth every minute.
Terrain: 4.5 out of 5 – Twists, turns, roots, rocks, elevation changes, and a mix of mud! Really fun!
Cleanliness: 4 out of 5 – Clean water and clean trails.
Trail designation: 3.5 out of 5 – Not a ton of signage but the trails were blazed well enough that you know where you were going.
Bathroom availability: 0 out of 5 – Todd will attest – they are closed for the winter!