So, I have to admit, as a five year Akron-ite, I’m a little embarrassed of the fact that I’ve never been the Gorge in Cuyahoga Falls. This park, at face value, was an absolute gem. There are a few things that I’m quite disgusted with though about this park. One, Tara and I got going on the trail and not even two minutes into our walk we quickly were greeted with the major drug problems that face the city. We were a few strides behind a group of people. A couple of them were smoking cigarettes (oh the irony of taking a healthy walk and lighting up a cancer causing agent). As they slowly walked and blocked the majority of the path, we had no choice but to listen to a story of a woman who “has been on methadone for two years and she only had ONE slip up, but she’s doing really well and getting her kids back.”
Addiction has been a huge influencer on my life. Although I don’t personally struggle with it, I’ve been impacted by it for most of my thirty one years. The fact that people are just so free and easy about the subject, and even make light of it, is an absolute travesty. You hear on the news about how bad it is in Akron and the surrounding areas, but moments like this really hit home. It’s become normalcy for a lot of people. It is really sad to hear people discuss it like it’s not a big deal. The second turn off at this park was the amount of trash. I think that people just have an overall lack of respect, especially in the urban metro parks, for the limited amount of nature they have. I wish that everyone that dumps their trash had a swift kick in the ass from their mom, because they were surely raised better than that. *End rant*
With that soapbox moment being taken care of – what an awesome hike! Mileage wise, we only did about 2 miles. That’s very short in terms of what we’re usually accustomed to. The terrain may have been some of the most difficult we’ve tackled so far. You have a “choose your own adventure” on the Gorge trail, easy or hard. (This reminds me of those awesome Goosebumps books I used to read as a kid.) We, of course, took on the difficult trail. The trail was labeled as primitive. The description was right on. You crossed over boulders, through carved out gullies, and Tara and I even made our own path down a dangerous and steep hillside. It really wasn’t our intention, but the path wasn’t well marked and we strayed on what we thought was established trail. It was not.
Tara was a bit hesitant once we were about halfway down what turned out to be a pathway for water runoff. I was a bit sweaty palmed myself, but I’d never admit it. Loose gravel, patches of mud, and exposed roots were the main components of this “trail”. We slowly worked our way down with shuffled feet, angled bodies, and even a few butt scoots to make sure we would be safe. After we got to the bottom I just had to laugh hysterically. We gazed up the mountain we just shimmied down and I was amazed in just how difficult it was. So a warning to all of our readers, if you take on the Gorge in Cuyahoga Falls and dead end into a fence beneath a bridge that has a pipeline running next to it, turn around!!! It is #NotATrail.
After that we were relieved to work our way back on relatively flat ground. We played along the mighty Cuyahoga River, taking pictures and laughing. We worked our way up what turned out to be the “easy” trail and finally hit the highlight of the walk – a gigantic waterfall. We found a rock and parked it for a while, just admiring how powerful nature can be. After that we hit another Akron staple, Swenson’s, for some delicious, cold and sweet treats.
After all we went through to get there, we earned it. If you haven’t been, check this park out. There’s a little bit of everything. The park is so photogenic. The trail is as difficult as advertised, especially when you REALLY “choose your own adventure” down the side of a cliff. As ashamed as I am of the rampant drug problems our community is facing and amount of trash in this park, the park itself is an awesome little piece of a place I’ve called home for the past five years. Even with all the problems, I strangely miss Akron when I end up moving up north just outside of Cleveland. But, as long as there are parks to hike in, I’ll always find myself wandering back.