Friday, May 29, 2015

Rediscovering Chapin Forest Reservation

When we first got Doggin' Cleveland several years ago, one of our favorite places we discovered was Chapin Forest Reservation. This is another one of the incredible Lake Metroparks in the next county over from us--anyone looking to relocate to Ohio should definitely consider Lake County because the parks are the best. This particular park boasts an overlook where on clear days you can see 16-miles to Cleveland.

There are also a variety of different trails and most of them have at last one or two good inclines so you can feel like you've gotten a good workout without taxing yourself too much.  I can't remember the last time we went to Chapin Forest, though. I think it might have been over a year since we'd visited. This park is great--but it's also only about 5 minutes away from the Arboretum, which is our favorite place, so it just doesn't always occur to me that we should go there.

I may have mentioned that our town is right on Lake Erie, so in the summer, tourists take over. There's a strip with lots of different food stands and arcades and things. There are a lot of cottages. And the sidewalk along the strip eventually connects to the trail at the State Park, so on weekends during the summer, we usually stay away to avoid the kids and bikes. Since Memorial Day is the start of the chaos, we decided to venture back to Chapin Forest on Saturday.

Why have been away for so long?

There were several things that I'd forgotten about Chapin Forest. The first is that the incline from the parking lot we like up to the main trail is killer. It's short, but it's steep. In just .25-miles, the elevation gain is 81-feet (for comparison, our 1-mile neighborhood loop has a total elevation gain of 11 feet--and that's only because we have to go up and over some train tracks). With the ice and then the heat, we've mostly avoided the hilly parts of the Arboretum this year, so it's been a while since we've had a good incline. My legs, especially my calves, hated me. (Barley, of course, bounded up the trail like this was nothing.)


There are ledges along the Lucky Stone Loop. I love the ledges in our area, but the last time we went to explore some at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park, we got hopeless lost and I've been a little wary of exploring them. The ledges at Chapin Forest are awesome to look at--even though there aren't as many interesting formations as at the other park--but they aren't really accessible and the trails are clearly marked, so I can observe them without the fear of getting lost.

Barley's practicing for a new career as a lumberjack. 

Chapin Forest is insanely shady at this time of year. It was a sunny day and almost 70 degrees, which normally is too much for Barley to do more than a mile or so at a time. But the shade made it possible to get in a full 2.73 miles at once. We probably could have gone farther with no problems, but I was getting hangry and lots of other people were starting to show up at the park with bikes, kids, and dogs.


Barley had a great time at the park and we had quite a few chances to practice reactions to distractions. There was a little boy, probably eight or nine, with his dad running down a hill we were going up. I moved Barley to my right to give her a little more space and she did great--until the kid got past us and started dragging is feet in the gravel and making weird noises. Barley kept looking over her shoulder at him until he was out of sight, but she was still responsive when I gave her commands, so we're still counting it as a win.


There weren't too many dogs on the trail, but I was a little disappointed in the people who did have dogs with them. One couple had an Irish Wolfhound (which I find fascinating) with them and it was off-leash, so there were a few times we had to change directions to avoid crossing paths with them--it just makes me really cranky when we go to parks with leash laws and people don't obey them. It's frustrating when people decide the rules don't apply to them and make our experience more stressful than it has to be. There were also a lot of people with retractable leashes and very excitable dogs on the end of them. I've got a retractable leash that we use when I take Barley out to potty, but it doesn't leave our yard. At our parks, I don't trust people with retractable leashes--they tend to be the ones who are talking on the phone rather than paying attention to their dogs or the ones that insist on letting their dogs try to come meet Barley even when we've pulled way off the trail to avoid them. So, we had to stay on our toes a little more than I had anticipated when we left the house.

Overall, though, it was a great change of scenery and I had one smiley pup most of the adventure. We kept things easy again this week and finished this week with 26.71 miles.

Hope that everyone in Nashville is having a wonderful time at BlogPaws--we're enjoying living vicariously through you on Instagram!


19 comments:

  1. Barley is so cute and that looks like a fantastic park! I'm sorry you had problems with other dog owners! I had to LOL when you were talking about the incline! I hate doing incline hikes so much. :D I always want to hike the waterfall trails and I always end up regretting it, pretty much immediately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inclines are the worst! I love waterfalls, but I wish there were just nice flat trails to get to them :) At our arboretum there are HUGE staircases (which are a little better than just a steep trail, I guess) and luckily they have several different landings with benches, so I can stop and pretend to enjoy the scenery on our way back up!

      Delete
  2. What a great place to go and hike, great pictures. Have a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I was sad I didn't get better pictures, but I only had my phone with me and it's getting old and cranky, so in the shade it hasn't been as good as it used to be!

      Delete
  3. Not much fitness going on here at BlogPaws, but every dog needs a break. Sounds like you had a real nice place to take a walk. We always get frustrated with humans letting their kids goof off around us. We have no problem with kids, but sometimes they are all wild and it makes us want to be wild, but we aren't allowed to be and the parents are so clueless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You girls definitely work hard enough that you've earned a nice vacation. Barley wants to herd children with they are wild--most parents don't appreciate that :)

      Delete
  4. Pretty park - you are lucky to have so many near you. Love seeing Barley on the logs - good core exercise for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We thought of you when I had her pop up onto the logs!

      Delete
  5. YES TO THE RETRACTABLE LEASHES! I swear, it's always the people who pay the least amount of attention with the craziest little dogs. Also, we still have our lucky stones by our door. Seem to be working well for us :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad they are still working for you! We didn't pick up any new lucky stones this time, but we did think of you as we walked!

      Delete
  6. Looks like you had a nice time at this lovely area. Looks so nice!

    sumskersandearlskers13.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lovely area! I can't believe we'd gone so long between visits.

      Delete
  7. Retractable leashes are the worst. I'm always wary of people/dogs who use them. I can see using them in really secluded areas but hardly anywhere we walk qualifies for that status! We started doing more incline walks after the winter and my legs definitely felt it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a retractable leash, but it's really only used for taking Barley out in the backyard to potty so she has plenty of room for sniffing around. I think adding more inclines to our life is probably a necessity this summer--but I can't say that I'm looking forward to that one bit!

      Delete
  8. I can't stand retractable leashes, not only are most dogs totally out of control who get walked on them, but they are also truly dangerous ~ free finger amputation or serious rope burn, anyone?!
    I also can't stand it when people disobey leash laws ~ there's probably a reasoning behind the law, so it's courteous to stick with it.
    I am also "attending" BlogPaws through all the Instagram pics this weekend ~ about to head on over to BlogPaws YouTube Channel, and check out everything that was uploaded there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree--we don't go to the off-leash places because I know that we'd have to deal with dogs coming up to Barley, so it's stressful when the places where we shouldn't have to deal with that are overtaken by off-leash dogs!

      Delete
  9. That sounds like a nice park. We lake shady parks to walk in too, although sometimes the bugs attack us...lol.

    It turns out we will be in that neck of the woods for a hunt test next month. The test is in Chardon which looks close (relatively) to this park. Too bad we have no time for sightseeing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Most of our favorite parks are really close to Chardon! Too bad you won't have time for sightseeing--Barley and I would love to play tour guide.

      Delete