Scenic views, exquisite bodies of water, and serene wilderness… none of these can be found along the Big Creek Reservation – Lake to Lake trail. Tara and I know that hiking has it’s ups and downs. The hard part is always uphill in hiking; we may have found the most uphill reservation in the entire Cleveland Metroparks system, figuratively speaking.
We never thought a trail would lack all of the consistencies that would name it a park, trail, or reservation. Big Creek
definitely oversold and under delivered.
We started out with a ton of energy. I did my usual morning sprint across our apartment, which has become a bit of a weekend tradition. Tara is an early bird and starts her day an hour or two before I decide to get going. I was a little sluggish and started even later than usual due to trying some 13.5% ABV craft beer that floored me the night before. After a delicious breakfast (it truly is the most important meal of the day) we set out on our journey.
I was particularly excited for the warmer weather. Anyone in Ohio knows that February often tends to be the most torrid of winter months. So when you see upper forties or lower fifties on the forecast, you get your ass outside. It doesn’t matter if you have to slog through mud, slush, puddles, or any combination in between; you are outside with an emphatic nature. Some optimists even venture to throw on a pair of shorts – neither Tara or myself opted to do so.
Sometimes we made the short drive to the trail in Middleburg Heights and piled out of the car once we arrived at Lake Isaac, the first lake on the Lake to Lake trail. This was a decent sized lake and was still iced over. We quickly found ourselves northbound on an asphalt path with a green dashed stripe down the middle of it; we were off on the 2.4-mile journey to Lake Abram.
The problem with this whole trail is we never truly got into the wilderness. Every turn and bend you would see buildings and houses. I constantly grumbled to Tara that I just didn’t feel right about the whole thing. I set out to hike in the woods, not the suburbs. So we did the first portion of the trail and came to a very interesting obstacle; it goes by the name of “Bagley
Now, if you log on to http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Reservations-Partners/Big-
Creek-Reservation-2.aspx they will tell you: “Undoubtedly the highlight of the reservation is the Lake to Lake Trail, a 2.4 mile, universally accessible all purpose trail that connects Lake Abram to Lake Isaac. On foot, by bicycle, or by wheelchair, one crosses Abram Creek and Bagley Road as they travel the trail that passes through 175 acres of headwater wetlands joining the largest kettle lakes in Cuyahoga County.”
What they fail to tell you is that you have to cross one of the busiest roads I’ve EVER come across while hiking. It’s in the middle of your hike and they don’t really give you much direction as to where you need to cross the road.
Tara and I were baffled. We saw some hikers promptly turn around after a certain point and we quickly realized why. Bagley road is five lanes of 40-45 mph traffic. There is every chain restaurant you can imagine along with a very prominent hospital system. We clearly missed a sign, and it’s where the fun part of our hike began.
We wandered up Bagley road looking for a trail sign we would never find. We made frequent pit stops to look on our phones and make sure we were tracking towards the rest of the reservation. It was no help. We were lost in a concrete jungle.
We finally, after mulling over our predicament, were able to zoom in on
Google Maps and found out we over shot our entry point to the next half of trail by almost a half mile. We trudged back to the trail head, determined now more than ever to finish what we started.
On our way back, we discovered what was the funniest and most disgusting point of conversation in any of our hikes… I’ll just let you look at the picture for yourself and insert the dialogue that you choose, because I personally couldn’t comprehend how this would happen:
We overcame the concrete jungle and a pair of used boxer briefs to dive back onto the trail we originally wanted to hike. Once we were back in the woods, I felt at peace again. I was respectfully reminded of why we do this every week. The birds were chirping. The trees blowing in the wind. I was feeling a solid return to my element. We walked to a very lengthy boardwalk, hopeful to see the end of our journey, Lake Abram.
We again were heavily deceived by the cruel and exaggerated writings of Cleveland Metroparks’ copywriter… much to our dismay, Lake Abram is pictured below:
There literally was no lake. All Tara and I could do was laugh. We laughed ourselves all the way back to Bagley Road and decided all of our torment on this particular hike should be rewarded
with a beer. We merrily walked our way to Brew Garden, grabbed a barstool and shared more laughs over a couple of draft beers.