Last Thursday was a beautiful day and I wanted to go see a friend who was in the Cleveland Clinic. Since we were going to Cleveland anyway, Tom and I decided to spend some time at the North Chagrin Reservation – part of the Cleveland Metro Parks. Normally we would take the tandem and ride in the reservation, but North Chagrin has such a variety of hiking trails that we decided to leave the bike at home and use our feet in a different way.
The North Chagrin Reservation is located near Willoughby Hills just off 271 and 90. On a Thursday afternoon there were plenty of people hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the beautiful weather. There are almost daily nature hikes led by park naturalists. We started with the White Pine Loop Trail, which contains one of the few examples of virgin white pine in Ohio. There are only 15 of them left in the Reservation, and a boardwalk was built years ago to keep the ground around them from being compacted. The pines were amazing – so tall that I couldn’t see the tops. White pine was used for the main masts on sailing ships. During colonial times, suitable white pines – tall and straight – were marked and reserved for the British Royal Navy. This led to the American Revolutionaries chopping down “King’s Trees” to prevent them being used. Some of these trees looked like they could have been King’s Trees.
We walked the Scenic Loop Trail next and enjoyed seeing the ravines and ups and downs of the park. We encountered some people who had been on the naturalist walk that morning and were trying to get to Squire’s Castle (intended to be a gatehouse, but became the main attraction when the estate was unfinished). We gave them one of our maps and told them to look for the lizard signs which marked Squire’s Lane Trail. I could sympathize with them because, after a mile on the Loop Trail, I was all twisted around. Fortunately Tom knew exactly which way we were going. I’m glad he has a better sense of direction than I do!
We went to the Nature Center, which has some displays with a gift shop and cold drinks (yeah!), and then walked around Sunset Pond and Sanctuary Marsh. The Marsh is especially lovely and I was surprised to learn that it was human-made. It looked completely natural. We finished off our time at North Chagrin Reservation by hiking the short Buttermilk Falls Trail. It wasn’t much of a waterfall, but the rocks under the falls were interesting – square-shaped.
We enjoyed our visit to the North Chagrin Reservation. There are so many parks and beautiful places in northeast Ohio. We have lived here for 30 years and are glad we have had a chance to visit some of them before we head out on the road.