One of my biggest hesitations when decided whether to buy our house or not was how far away from all of our favorite parks it was. Even though I was gaining a lot more Barley time with my shorter work commute, I was adding at least 15 minutes to our drive to most of the parks we love. During the work week, driving 45 minutes to get somewhere to adventure isn't always doable. Thankfully, our neighborhood is very walkable and we haven't gotten bored yet despite walking in our neighborhood twice a day most days for over 6 months.
We've still missed walking in parks during the week, though.
Last week, my parents were in town and while finding a church for my mom to attend on Sunday, I discovered that there's a park just a short drive from our house! I knew this park existed, but I didn't realize there was a trailhead so close to our house.
As we drove by, I noticed how pretty the leaves were over the river, so later in the week my parents, Barley, and I hopped in the car to explore a bit.
There wasn't much trail at the first trail head--only about 1/2 a mile of cleared trail that didn't require wading through the river (and it was cold, so I wasn't too excited about wet shoes)--but it was a lovely stroll through the woods and a nice place to get a mile when my senior nephew visits!
We were able to walk down to the site of the Ashtabula Train Disaster of 1876 and the leaves through the tunnel were gorgeous. If it would have been a spring day, we might have continued down along the river where there's supposedly a scenic waterfall, but I hate mud and wet shoes, so we passed on that adventure this time.
We were deep down in the gorge, so even though you could hear traffic from the nearby roads, it still felt isolated since you couldn't see the cars up above.
Since I was a wimp and didn't want to get my feet wet and we still needed to get a little more mileage for the day, we hopped back in the car and drove to the trailhead at the southernmost end of the park.
This trailhead is right below the Smolen-Gulf covered bridge, which is the longest covered bridge in the country (have I mentioned my county has the longest covered bridge and the shortest covered bridge in the country?).
|The Smolen-Gulf bridge with the pedestrian footbridge underneath.|
|Such a cute little covered bridge (but this isn't the shortest!).|
It's obvious that the city is working to make the park even more accessible with new paved trails and trail markers. I don't expect it to be easy to walk from one end of the trail to the other (not that we'd probably ever tackle a 10-mile walk anyway) any time soon, but we're so excited to have a place we can walk outside of our neighborhood without having to spend at least 45 minutes in the car.