Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Barley's Top 5 Hikes of Summer

I needed something to help me procrastinate on finishing my syllabi and since Bar and I have spent so much time adventuring this summer, here are Barley's top 5 hikes of summer.

#5 Indian Point Park (Doggin' Cleveland's #35 of 50): Even though Doggin' Cleveland says this park doesn't have much canine hiking, Barley and I had a great time.  There were fun historical artifacts to look at, gorgeous overlooks, and a fantastic river for splashing (if another dog wasn't already off-leash and playing frisbee there).  There were also lots of stairs to ensure a good workout.  The only drawback was that I wasn't sure Julie the Juke was going to make it up the hill to the parking lot--I've since learned that there's an alternate route to getting there, though, so it's not a real issue.

#4 Chapin Forest Reservation (Doggin' Cleveland's #20): Our book wasn't lying when it said the Lucky Stone Loop trail had an awesome overlook of Cleveland.  We also got a couple lucky quartz stones to send to my nephew pup, Maddux, who was starting heart worm treatments that day.  The trails were peaceful and there were really neat ledges (without being scary).  I can't wait to go back here when the leaves start changing colors.
We could see for 16 miles!
Weird sculpture garden
#3 Lakeshore Reservation (Doggin' Cleveland's #27):  We found this one before I ever got Doggin' Cleveland and have loved it since the first day we went.  There's a sculpture garden and pretty views of Lake Erie.  But probably the best part is how peaceful the beach is.  We've only seen a couple other dogs here and most of the time we have the beach to ourselves (so lots of opportunities for cute Barley photo shoots!).  It's the closest to home, too, so when I don't feel like being in the car for long but want a change of scenery it's perfect.  And, like many of our favorites, there are intense stair cases to get those glutes working.
A great dog with a Great Lake

#2 North Chagrin Reservation (Doggin' Cleveland's #4): There's a castle.  Need I say more?  If so, the trails are also great.  Although there were lots of people in and around the castle, the trails were almost deserted (but not in a scary way).  There were enough hills that I felt like we were getting a workout (and Bar's tongue was hanging by the end to confirm my thoughts), but not so many that my muscles hated me the next day.

Drum roll, please . . .

#1 Holden Arboretum (Doggin' Cleveland's #3): We also found this one on our own.  Even though it's the only place where you have to pay to get in, it's our very favorite--and where we went today!  (Plus, if you get a membership, you save money in the long run and you kind of forget that you have to pay to get in.)

I found the arboretum when they had a gnome & garden display last summer (I wish it was still there!) and I made my siblings (and later Barley) go visit the gnomes with me.
My sister and me with the candy gnome!
Barley with my favorite gnome (the blueberry thief!)

Since I got my membership, we've visited the arboretum in every season and it's equally wonderful in all of them.  There are also at least 20 miles of trails, and dogs are allowed on all of them!
Since there are so many miles of trails, we've never done the same hike twice--although we do have some favorite places to visit and try to incorporate them into most of our hikes.
Barley with the carving in the Rhododendron Garden
Barley loves splashing in the stream, chasing chipmunks, and searching for the adorable black squirrels (that never appear when my camera is ready!).  I like the shade and the peaceful sounds of birds and the trickling stream.  Even when we stop by our favorite places, there are still new things to discover.  Barley got to chase some frogs into the creek today!  She was really proud of herself.

Today, we got home just in time!  When I got out of the shower, someone was curled on the bathroom floor. Turns out the grey clouds that were following us on the trail had a little thunder to go along with them (even though no rain ever came and the sun is shining now).  The bathroom is the only room without windows, so it's Barley's hiding place of choice during thunderstorms.

Poor scared pup
Luckily, the arboretum is also the easiest place to navigate with clear trails, clear markers, and signs that tell you how far you are from the visitor's center, so we could have headed home much earlier if we'd had to.

Honorable Mentions: We've been to so many cool places this summer, that it was hard to narrow it down to just 5.  Cuyahoga Valley National Park--Boston Store (Doggin' Cleveland's #24) was close to making the list.  

Even though the trails weren't well marked and we never made it to Brandywine Falls (next time!), we did enjoy Blue Hen Falls and our off-roading adventure to try to find Buttermilk Falls.  This was also a hike that made me take (reasonable) risks and put more trust in Barley than I had before.  I finally knew what our trainer meant when she told me Barley and I were going to make a good team.

Another place we really love, which isn't in Doggin' Cleveland, is the Geneva State Park in our own backyard.  We haven't spent a lot of time there this summer because of all of the tourists who invade Geneva-on-the-Lake in the summer, but we've been to this park more than any other place.  In the off-season, we go several times a week.  Even though this isn't quite as cool as traipsing through the woods  in the other parks, it's still really pretty and when there aren't other people around, Bar can splash in the lake.  It's also really close to home and a great change of pace from the neighborhood when I need to unwind after work (or feel like I got away but have too much grading to do to go to the other fun places we've found).

You never know what you'll find on the beach!

1 comment:

  1. Yay! You girls had such a great summer together. Maybe there will be a neat exhibit at the H.A. next year when I come visit (although I'm pretty sure it would be hard to beat gnomes...)