As my enthusiasm for hiking has grown this fall, I’ve started looking for other places to hike and explore closer to home. Don’t get me wrong: I am loving the SMP Spree in the Summit Metro Parks, and I always enjoy heading to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But all of those trails require at least an hour of drive time just to get there, and sometimes I just don’t want to expend the gasoline, the time, and the energy to go hike so far away.
My online research reminded me of the Wayne County Rails to Trails program and, specifically, the County Line Trail running for just over 6 miles across farmland between Creston (the next town north) and Rittman. Though these trails seem to draw cyclists more than hikers, I thought it would be worth checking out the nearest one and working my way through the segments over the course of this fall.
Ever willing to get out and explore with me, my friend Keith agreed to start the trail with me today. After spending the morning standing around my farmers market table, I knew I needed to get out and stretch my legs a bit, so I proposed we start at Creston and walk to Sterling.
Sunny with temps in the 60s, the afternoon was perfect for a leisurely walk along a fairly level, straight trail with few other folks around. The leaves are finally starting to turn colors other than faded gold, so our path was framed with beautiful foliage fluttering and drifting on the wind. The tree line would break occasionally, giving us views of the rail tracks (and the occasional train!) on the north side of the trail or local farms on the south side.
The trail is easy, a paved two-lane path, but I should have realized that my morning at the market would leave my legs significantly more tired than on any other day. As a result, the nearly 2.5-mile stretch between Creston and Sterling — a round-trip just under 5 miles — completely wore me out. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel some serious cramps tonight.
Still, I look forward to completing this trail in two or three more segments this fall — and checking it off my hiking goals list!