Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discovering Indian Trails Park

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.

In October, they finished and dedicated the 19th covered bridge in our county--the Riverview Bridge--and it's for pedestrians to cross the river in the park. They're hoping to add a few more foot bridges to the park to make it easier to get from the north trailhead we tried first to this one about 5 miles away without getting your feet wet.

Such a cute little covered bridge (but this isn't the shortest!).
Across the bridge, there was a nice paved trail through the woods. We had to cross under a major roadway, so it wasn't a quiet walk, but it was a nice change of pace from our neighborhood. We were able to get in another 1.5 miles on our out-and-back adventure along the Ashtabula River. We probably could have gotten a little more mileage, but like I said, I hate wet and mud, so we opted to head home and make dinner instead.


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.

10 comments:

  1. Yay, can't wait to explore with you in a couple of weeks!

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    1. We can't wait for you to be here, either! Maddux is going to love the park!

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  2. That looks so nice - I'm glad you find some good places to hike closer to your new home.
    You need to get yourself some good waterproof hiking boots so you won't hate the mud! Of course, that won't stop Barley from getting very dirty though. Plus it's easy for me to say, because we have few paved trails around here so boots are a must in both spring and fall!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. I have waterproof boots, but I can only get boots with laces because my calves are too big for any that zip! And I've learned that while they don't let my feet get wet trudging through snow and slush, if you step in a deep puddle the water seeps in around the laces and the river is deep enough that they wouldn't have done me any good!

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    2. I understand that - I have wide calves too! What a pain, huh? :)

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  3. I love exploring new places! So glad you found somewhere nearer home. :)

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    1. We're glad we found somewhere close by, too!

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  4. It sounds like you need to invest in waterproof hiking shoes. lol It sure looks like a great park.

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    1. I do have some waterproof boots, but all of them have laces and I've stepped in some deep slushy puddles and had the water seep in around the laces! Plus, I'm neurotic about keeping Barley's whites white--she'd be excellent in a Clorox commercial ;)

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  5. It's so nice when you have something THAT close. With the cooler weather the dogs and I find ourselves heading to the woods more frequently. I've even walked Sampson up there, because, well it's just so nice walking in the woods.

    I'm glad you found something that makes your heart happy!

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