The forecast for today called for sunny skies and mild temps (highs in the 70s) — perfect hiking weather! So I convinced my friend Keith to meet me early (7 AM on a Sunday; I’m a brutal taskmaster, I agree) so that we could drive to Bath (north of Akron) and tackle the first of two hikes in the Spree for today.
Deer Run Trail at O’Neil Woods Metro Park is listed as a “difficult” trail, so I thought it best we start there and follow it with an easy hike. Keith brought the hiking poles for me to use, and I brought leftover scones from yesterday’s market for a fortifying tea break after the hike.
Shortly after getting started, I began to worry. We reached a set of steep-ish wooden steps that went down, down, down the hill. And then there were more. And more. And around a bend, switchbacks and more steps. We descended into the valley quickly, even more so than at my local challenging trail (Spangler), and I grew a little nervous about just how steep and difficult the ascent back to the parking area would become.
Eventually I paid more attention to the woods around us as sunlight filtered through the canopy, and I began to enjoy the hike. We emerged from the woods to cross a local road, and on the other side we found remnants of the O’Neil farmstead (namely the barn and a watering trough) as well as peaceful, lovely views onto Yellow Creek.
The trail led back across the road and gradually started to climb a slowly twisting path that turned out to be easier than I had expected. And after just over one hour, we completed the 1.72-mi loop and returned to the car for our tea break.
And then we were ready for the next adventure…!