His – Hinckley Reservation

noun

noun: slog; plural noun: slogs

  1. 1.

a spell of difficult, tiring work or traveling.

“it would be a hard slog back to the camp”

synonyms: hard worktoil, toiling, laboreffortexertiongrinddrudgery; More

20170409_151858.jpg

This is the word I will use to describe this week’s hike. There are other words that were used on the trail this week. Most of them would make your mother blush and probably would be followed up with washing your mouth out with soap. We knew going into our 52 hikes in 52 weeks challenge that they all wouldn’t be pleasant. Hiking is, literally and figuratively, filled with ups and downs. However, Tara and I made a promise to each other at the beginning of this year that we’d do this together and hold each other accountable.

The weather finally broke this weekend. Saturday was in the sixties and yesterday was in the seventies. It was a welcoming forecast considering we had a freak snow storm only day before. For those who have never been, Ohio can be a bit temperamental this time of year. I think a small contributor to why this hike was a slog this week was the amount of physical activity that I participated in this weekend. Saturday was a 5K at the Cleveland zoo (new PR of 25:39!!!), followed by walking around the zoo. I came home only to leave out again with Tara.

We went to a bunch of stores for a bunch of random items. The highlight of our purchases was patio furniture from Big Lots (I’m very pumped to get my money’s worth out of it this summer). Sunday I woke up early to go grab my golf clubs, followed by basketball, followed by golf, and then our hike. My muscles are were and still are on fire. I was worn out before the hike even started. Tara assured me we could go later in the week, but, I insisted on pressing on.  We made our way out to Hinckley Reservation in Hinckley, OH.

20170409_154538.jpg

We probably should have just turned around when we arrived. The rest of Northeast Ohio was at Hinckley Reservation yesterday with us. We’ve hiked it together before so we set down a familiar path around the lake. It turned out to be a poor choice. The path, which is mostly dirt and roots, was drowned by all the melting snow. (Remember the freak snow storm?) Every step was cold, wet, grueling mud. I don’t know if many people know this, but I consider myself an introvert. I need time to get away from people and recharge my batteries. That’s one of my favorite attributes of hiking – peace and quiet in the woods… far, far away from people.

20170409_160846.jpg

There would be none of that yesterday. No peace, no quiet, no alone time… People. Were. Everywhere. It just wasn’t my day. Not only were these people out, they were annoying and in the way. One woman in particular was with her daughter and an overweight beagle named Cooper. She had some peculiar habits… she’d speed walk ahead of the daughter and the plump Mr. Cooper and when she lost sight of them would come storming back and scold them for not keeping pace.  This would usually be comical for me, but with how muddy the trail was yesterday it limited your path for walking. The lady (and I use the term loosely) clearly had very little manners and repeatedly cut us off and splash mud on me in the process. I really just felt bad for my chubby friend Coops. He just wanted to be at home dipping into his endless supply of Milk-bones and Beggin’ Strips.

We finally outpaced most of the riff-raff on the trail and got to the asphalt multi-use path. At this point Tara and I agreed that the hike just felt like work this week. We compromised to go home, knock out our chores, cook dinner and drink a few adult beverages. That’s exactly what we did. On the drive home we did confide in each other that the walk was worthwhile, even though it didn’t go as planned. I think we both got what we needed out of the hike this week even if it was slogging through the crowded woods. And to wrap this up, just because I said I would, “Go fuck yourself San Diego.”

IMG_20170409_175855.jpg

Advertisements

Hers – Big Creek Reservation

Well, we knew not every hike would be a fantastic one, but I didn’t quite expect our walk on Saturday to be so … ugly.

We decided to check out Big Creek Reservation, which is only 15 minutes away. When Casey suggested it, I checked it out on Google Maps and saw that it ran through some parts of the burbs, but assumed it’d be set back in the woods. I was kind of right.

We started off at Lake Isaac so we could walk the Lake-to-Lake Trail 2.4 miles down to Lake Abram. I had read ahead of time that the trail was a multi-use, so I knew it’d be paved and a bit of an easier hike. What I didn’t know was that I’d be essentially walking on a sidewalk through people’s backyards. (I should’ve tallied up the lawn ornaments. Nothing screams suburbia quite like plastic deer.) We walked along the trail, through a tunnel and over a few boardwalks.

img_20170211_115637153

Along the boardwalks, we got a little set back into a marshland before coming to…a main thoroughfare complete with a busy hospital, movie theater, tanning salon, Panera Bread and a bar. I made a mental note of the bar as we attempted to stay on the trail while navigating the concrete jungle. We navigated really wrong and ended up a half mile down the road next to a high school and fair grounds that was hosting a bead convention. (Guys, seriously. I can’t make this up.)

Once we corrected our mistake and found our way back on the trail, we were pretty disheartened. But nature always likes to keep you on your toes and that’s when we came across…a discarded pair of men’s boxer-briefs. And at that point the whole journey just became comical. (That’s also the point I made up our minds to hit the bar on the way back.) As we traveled along the trail, we discussed the possible scenarios in which one would dispose of ones delicates on the sidewalk. Bath salts seemed the most plausible.

Luckily at this point, the trail started to get us back into the woods and turned into another boardwalk. The walkway led over some dried up marshland, which is when I spotted the sign that read “This is Lake Abram.” Such a blatant sign is needed when there is no water in sight. Despite the lack of H2O, we realized that we had indeed come to the end of the Lake-to-Lake trail. We promptly turned around, laughing at the cruel irony.

img_20170211_124127677

I suppose this is the point where I should say something like “I’m still grateful that even in the midst of a city, people are working to find green spaces” or “It’s encouraging to see these trails pop up in suburban areas to give everyone access to the outdoors.” Instead, I’ll just say what I was really thinking on our hike back – Thank goodness for beer.

img_20170211_131422088