Tom and I continue to hike and explore the area and we have found a couple of nice walks close to the house. The first is another hike at Alum Creek State Park and the second is the loop at Char-Mar Ridge Preserve.
I wrote recently about the hiking on the west side of Alum Creek State Park. The first of my couple nice walks is the loop on the east side of the park. This hiking loop, which is simply called “Multi-purpose trail” is a five mile loop divided into several smaller loops. You can do a one mile loop, a three mile loop, or the whole five mile loop. Tom and I went on a beautiful fall afternoon with the intention of doing the five mile loop.
Ah, the best laid plans. We parked and then followed another couple to the trailhead. In order to reach the trailhead, you have to walk across one of the disc golf holes, so look both ways before you cross. But, once on the trail, the trail is very well marked. Every time we came to an intersection, there was a map showing us where we were and where we could go.
When we came to the first intersection – the cut off for the one mile loop – the longer trail had an “Area Closed” sign across the trail. Tom and I looked at it, discussed it for a minute, and then went around the sign. Within half a mile it was clear why the area was closed. We could hear several large chippers and brush clearing machines ahead of us on the trail. And the trail was wide and rutted with deep tracks. They were working to clear the trail.
We didn’t want to interrupt their work, or get yelled at for being in a closed area, so we headed off through the woods. Because all the leaves were off the trees and brush, this was easier than it would have been earlier in the season. We knew if we kept going east, we would run into the other leg of the loop. Eventually we did come to the trail, and turned north (we thought) on the trail. But, due to a small miscalculation in the sun’s location on a late November afternoon, we were soon close to the tree-clearing machinery again. So we turned around.
When we reached the next trail map, we could see where we were and continued along the loop. This part of the trail had clearly not yet been “improved” by the trail crew. It was a lovely, narrow trail through the woods. There were places where trees had fallen across the trail and we had to climb over them or weave our way around them. All of which made for a more interesting hike. We caught glimpses of the reservoir occasionally, but the beach was always filled with litter. Maybe that is another thing the trail crew was working on.
When we got to the extension for the five mile loop, we decided to turn around. With our bushwhacking and going the wrong direction for a while, we were already close to three miles and we still needed to get back to the parking lot. The walk back was uneventful.
The second of our couple nice walks is our “everyday” walk in Char-Mar Ridge Preserve. This is the park that is just across the street from our house. I usually walk on the Ohio to Erie Trail in the mornings and Tom walks the loop at Char-Mar Ridge in the afternoons. Sometimes I join him. Sometimes I extend my morning walk by adding the Char-Mar Ridge loop.
The loop is a really pretty walk with ups and downs, stream crossings, a pond, and a bird blind. Unlike the multi-purpose trail at Alum Creek, the Char-Mar Ridge loop always has lots of people on it. On the weekends it is busy enough that we take our masks.
We are thankful to be so close to so many wonderful hiking opportunities. Whether we want to stay close to home or explore new places close by, there are plenty of choices. These couple of nice walks are just two of the trails we have found so far.