Back on the Towpath

rt82bridge

Since I finished up my meanderings at Squire’s Castle by mid-morning and had a lovely second breakfast to refuel, I was eager to explore another park and enjoy a good hike. So I drove to Brecksville and found a trailhead for the Towpath.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the sole national park in my home state of Ohio. We have other places that fall under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, but none that merit the “national park” label. (When I returned home to Ohio twenty years ago, Cuyahoga Valley was then designated a “National Recreation Area.” It has grown up!)

Over the years I have occasionally hiked segments of the Towpath, the old canal towpath along the Cuyahoga River and now a well-maintained hiking/biking path, from Botzum trailhead up to Boston (4 segments, probably about 10 miles). I hadn’t hiked there in years, though, so I wanted to return today and discover a new section.

One of the treats of hiking the Towpath — if you’re into engineering or architecture or photography — is the chance to get great view of bridges over the river. At Brecksville, you get to enjoy two of them: the high-arched bridge for State Route 82 a few hundred yards down the river, and the old truss bridge that serves as passage for traffic to the Towpath. Whether you walk under or over one of the bridges along this route, you can appreciate the encapsulation of transportation history they offer.

turtles

The sun had finally emerged from its cloud cover by the time I started my walk, but the plentiful trees along the Towpath kept it reasonably shaded and cool for most of the trip. Occasionally the trees would open up to reveal peaceful views of the river or, on the opposite side of the trail, the algae-green stillness of the old canal. Cyclists and runners passed me frequently, but I was happier to give my attention to the occasional turtle I saw sunbathing on a branch in the water.

As you might have guessed, the Towpath — extending from Cleveland well past Akron — is not a loop trail, so eventually I had to turn back and retrace my steps to the Station Road Bridge trailhead. Still, it was a pleasant hike, finished well before noon, on a beautiful day.

And now I’m inspired to come back and hike more of the Towpath in the near future.

 

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