After completing the difficult trail at O’Neil Woods, Keith and I were ready to try out an easier, gentler trail at the next park on our Spree hiking list.
Furnace Run Metro Park, divided into two sections, is tucked into a corner of Richfield (close to halfway between Akron and Cleveland) and bounded by two busy highways: Interstates 77 and 80 (the Ohio Turnpike). The park contains mostly woods, with a creek (Furnace Run, of course) running through it and meadows and a lake at the approximate center. Given its gentler terrain, it came as no surprise that this park drew more people than O’Neil Woods.
The hiking list for the SMP Spree indicated we should choose the 1.2-mile Rock Creek Trail, so off we went. Though we quickly found ourselves surrounded by trees, we could still hear the road rush of traffic from the interstate, muted though it was. But since we could also hear birdsong, the rustling leaves, and the murmur of the creek, I still thought it a fairly peaceful place.
By the end of the hike (which went quickly), I was pleasantly surprised to find I still had plenty of energy, so I proposed we check out the other (Old Mill) trail. Unflappable as ever, Keith shrugged and said, “Sure,” and off we went.
This second trail also wound through the woods and skirted the stream, but it had a slightly different feel to it. Not ominous, but not as airy and open as the first, I suppose. It did eventually take us up a small hill, around a boulder adorned with a memorial engraving (honoring the man whose family donated acreage to Summit Metro Parks in 1929, after his death), and back down again, closing the loop and bringing us back to the entrance.
I’m sure this park will be lovely in the fall, considering the mix of deciduous species in the forest, but I suspect it might not be as peaceful once the leaves fall, removing some of the protection against highway noise. But I would certainly visit this park again to see the change in seasons.
So that’s two more hikes checked off my Spree list — in one day! Huzzah!