Living In a Spree World


Seeing photos on Instagram of all kinds of cool local places and hikes has inspired me to take a closer look not just at my nearby national park but also the area metroparks. While the Cleveland area parks can be anywhere from a one- to two-hour drive away, the Summit Metro Parks (Akron and surrounding cities) are a shade closer.

On top of that, the Summit Metro Parks have regular programs to get area residents to visit and explore the parks. I decided to sign up for the Fall Hiking Spree and plan to tackle at least the minimum of 8 out of 15 trails included in the Spree, dragging my close friend and hiking buddy Keith with me.

I had to start off solo today, though. I finished baking for market early and was itching to take advantage of a gorgeously sunny and not-too-hot afternoon, but Keith had to keep working. So I headed out alone to the closest park, Silver Creek, for a quiet hike.

I’d seen the signs to Silver Creek every time I’ve driven State Route 585 on my way to Akron, but I never gave them much thought. Today I let the signs lead me to this quiet rural park featuring a lake, bridle paths, and two woodland trails labeled “easy.”

Pheasant Run Trail, the one listed as part of the Spree, started with a quick walk through a meadow maintained to encourage native species before plunging back into a mixed deciduous forest. As I followed the winding trail, I passed a few trail runners (OK, they passed me) and noticed the dirt path was indeed well maintained for running.

My favorite part of the trail was so distinctly different from the rest of the woods that I noticed a palpable change in the scent and temperature of the air as well as a sudden hush even before I stepped fully into it. The mixed forest gave way to a stand of tall white pines, their lower branches broken or trimmed away and the ground below them blanketed with fragrant needles. Whether you think of it as a natural cathedral or a sacred grove, it did not fail to fill me with reverence and awe.

The rest of the trail slowly led me back to my everyday world, and I’m eager to explore more of the park again another day. And I look forward to discovering what the other trails on the Spree have to offer!


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