Back in the CVNP

kendall-lake-sunrise-trees

Fall colors are nearly at their peak around here, and since my hiking buddy decided to abandon me for the weekend, I decided to head out on my own and explore a couple places in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park that I’ve never visited before.

I left home way too early and arrived at Virginia Kendall Park in the dark. Clearly, I knew I would have no luck finding the loop trail around Kendall Lake until dawn, but the full hunter’s moon shone so brightly that I could find my way to the dock and watch the moon set, reflected in the water.

Gradually, the sky began to lighten, revealing plenty of fall colors around the lake. I took several photos of the sunrise, the clouds, and the beautiful reflections before heading in search of the trail.

Once I located it, I followed the path up and down through the woods, along the road, and around the far side of the lake before returning to the parking area. I think the whole loop covered about 1.5 miles, but I took my sweet time completing it because, especially around the lake, I found gorgeous views and vivid colors everywhere!

I had not packed a thermos of tea as Keith always does, but I did enjoy a cookie break before moving down the road for my second hike of the morning, at Kendall Ledges. Knowing this was a nearly 2-mile moderate-to-difficult hike over rugged terrain, I grabbed my hiking poles and gathered my courage to tackle this trail solo (well, aside from all the people already out and about!).

kendall-ledges-perfect

The Ledges Trail at Liberty Park had partially prepared me for this hike, but the Kendall Ledges are just more: more hills, more sandstone ledges, more gorgeous things to see, more rugged and treacherous footing. I walked the trail slowly, not just because it was somewhat challenging physically for me, but also because every so often I had to stop, look around, and marvel at the majesty of it all.

kendall-ledges-overlook

One thing the Kendall Ledges feature that the Ledges at Liberty do not is an open area atop the ledges, overlooking the CVNP woods to the west. Apparently a popular area for viewing sunsets, this overlook is easily reached from the parking area. Obviously I saw neither sunrise nor sunset there, but there’s always next time!

brandywine-falls-wide-fall

Since I was in the area, I decided to drive a little further north to check on Brandywine Falls. At around 10 in the morning, the parking area was much more congested than the last time I visited, so I didn’t stay long. The fall colors are beautiful here, though the dearth of rainfall lately has decreased the falls’ flow for now.

I had considered other hikes for the day, but between the challenge of the Ledges hike and the swarms of people taking advantage of a warm fall day (either on the trails or at nearby farms), I hit my limit before noon and chose to find some lunch before heading home.

A good morning!

 

 

 

 

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