Friday, July 10, 2015

Exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The beautiful thing about summer in Ohio, especially this summer, is that most days I can sleep in without worrying too much about whether it's going to be too hot to get a walk in after breakfast (unlike our trips to my parents in Alabama where we have to get up with the sun to even get 1.5 miles in). 

Last week, I was visiting my grandparents for their 60th wedding anniversary, so Barley and Soth were both in boarding with our trainer. (Sidenote: Friday came and went way too quickly, so I never actually got the blog I'd written linked up with last FitDog Friday--if you are interested in our 6-month resolution update, here it is.) Since we'd been separated for 5 whole days, I wanted to make sure that Barley had a fun week this week.

We got in a couple walks at our most regular parks, so we could check in on the lake and our deer friends.



On Wednesday, Barley and I took a nice walk in our neighborhood, but it was still nice and cool after lunch, so we decided to go on a big adventure and explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We'd been once before--way back when we first started this blog--and I'd always meant to go back. If you Google national parks and dogs, CVNP shows up on all of the "best national parks to visit with your dog" lists. The park is huge--over 20,000 acres and 100 miles of trails--and 5 of the 50 hikes in my beloved Doggin' Cleveland are at various parts in the park. 

On our first visit, we'd tried to find Brandywine Falls, but we'd parked at the parking lot recommended by Doggin' Cleveland and a lack of clearly marked trails/easy to read maps, we took a few wrong trail, which still gave us a nice walk but we'd walked too far on a warm day to make it all the way to the falls. The park is about an hour--more depending on which trail we're heading to and road construction--so it's been a long time since we've ventured back there.

This week, we were smarter and went to the parking lot that's right by the observation area for the falls. There's a big loop that takes you from the parking lot to the falls and back across the creek to the parking lot; however, the bridge to take the loop back to the parking lot was closed, so we just took the trail down to the water and back up. 

We're not going to let a closed bridge stop us--Diva dog doesn't want to rock hop across, but she likes out-and-back trails.

The upper observation area of the falls was a very narrow area with a lot of people crowded on it and I wasn't feeling like attempting the many stairs down to the lower observation deck, so there were not good picture opportunities for the falls.


Top of the falls

Despite that, we had a lovely shady, wooded walk and could hear the roar of the falls for the majority of it.



She stepped a little deeper into the creek than she'd planned


The #1 hike in Doggin' Cleveland mentioned another CVNP trail, The Ledges Trail. It was about a 10 minute drive to that trailhead from the falls parking lot. Y'all, I love ledges. Ledges are cool and damp, so even on the hottest day ledges are good places to walk. I didn't realize that there were ledge at CVNP, so we couldn't pass up an opportunity to try out this trail.


Nice people on the trail saw Barley posing and asked if we wanted a picture together!



The trail around the ledges was great. There were some inclines, so I got my heart rate up a few times, but they weren't as terrible as some of our previous parks, so I didn't wake up sore and regret the hike the next day. If you're ever looking for a great national park to visit, you could spend days exploring CVNP and see many different types of landscape, so Barley and I highly recommend it.

I mentioned last week that we'd worked on getting ahead so that we wouldn't fall behind while I was out of town. Our weekly mileage is calculated from Friday-Thursday (so each FitDog Friday is the start of a new week). Since I missed several days at the beginning of this week, I was worried about how we'd do this week. After a few days of shorter walks in boarding, Barley was ready for adventure this week. This week's mileage: 21.46 miles

Happy FitDog Friday everyone!


26 comments:

  1. Wow, looks awesome!

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  2. Looks like a great spot to hike. We love hikes that include water of any kind.

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    1. I enjoy water hikes more than Barley does, but she likes to explore new trails regardless of what sights we see :)

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  3. That looks like a fantastic place to hike! You girls look like you had fun! I love the photos!

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    1. It was fantastic! Now I'll have to think about trying some of the other trails--but we loved these so much it'll be hard to convince myself to branch out :)

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  4. That looks like a super place to hike! Beautiful photos!

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    1. I highly recommend the hiking in CVNP if you're ever in Ohio!

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  5. Beautiful hike - love being bale to have water nearby to take a break in.

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    1. Barley only takes a break in the water on accident, but she likes to chomp at the water as long as she doesn't end up getting too wet :)

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    1. It was! We'd definitely recommend the park to anyone traveling through the area!

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  7. Pretty place to walk. Glad you found the falls this time! We'd do the same thing and get lost lol...

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    1. I'm glad we found the falls, too! Now I'll just have to work up tackling the stairs to get the better view--maybe in the fall when the park will have less people around to laugh at me taking lots of breaks on the way back up!

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  8. I like the trail with the ledges. That looks like a great place to walk!

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    1. Ledges are quickly becoming one of my favorite features of this region!

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  9. That is a gorgeous trail and so cool that you saw deer. We live in an area where there are a lot of deer, but we rarely see them.

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    1. We love deer! Barley used to lose her mind when we saw them, but they seem to have come to some sort of understanding of each other now.

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  10. Looks like a fun park! Love the pics of my girl as always :-)

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    1. It is a fun park! I think Maddux could handle the trails we went on as long as we skipped the stairs, so maybe we'll go on some visit!

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  11. That looks beautiful and like a perfect hike! Sounds like you had successful week as well.
    And you got to see a fawn too!
    Lots of wags and woofs from the crew at Wag n Woof Pets

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    1. After seeing your picture of the fawn and mommy, I was hoping we'd see a fawn soon--I was so happy when it happened last week!

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  12. I would love to try out a ledge trail! With the heat around here in eastern NC it's hard to find shady, cool spots. Love the water picture, too!!

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    1. Luckily we rarely get the kind of heat you get, but it's nice to have some good shady options nearby for our rare toasty days!

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  13. EVERY place you mentioned is my old stomping grounds! Went to college at Kent State, lived in Cleveland for 35 yrs........Ohio has AMAZING parks........simply amazing!

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    1. Ohio does have amazing parks! I never would have guessed that I'd end up in Ohio, but I can't imagine living anywhere else now.

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