One hike a day just doesn’t seem to satisfy me any more. And when the weather is pleasant, I get the urge to get out.
I called my hiking buddy after lunch to ask if he wanted to hike the last mile of the County Line Trail with me. He had just started laundry and wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the trail anyway, but like the good friend he is, he told me to give him half an hour and then he’d help me check this item off my hiking goals list.
We drove to Rittman to start hiking from the east end of the trail, right in the middle of town. Directly across the rails from the parking lot, in fact, you’ll find the Morton Salt facility. In 1897, salt deposits were discovered in the area, so mining and refining became a major local industry, and the original Wayne Salt became Ohio Salt and, in 1948, Morton Salt, the one you probably know from your local grocery.
That’s probably the most interesting part of this section of the trail, though. With a population of about 6500 now after that kind of history, it’s probable that Rittman has seen better days. To be fair, neighborhoods around railway lines tend not to be the most affluent or the best maintained, from what I’ve seen in many other places here and abroad, and I can understand why. But on a mild, sunny Sunday afternoon, it seemed like a ghost town given how few people we saw in the urban section of our hike.
Eventually the trail peeled away from the city streets and followed the sheltering tree line to offer us a little peace (until a train rolled through). But I welcomed the mile marker that indicated we had completed the trail and could turn around and go back to the truck.
As a bike path, I think the County Line Trail is a great addition to a rural area and offers a safe way to travel between three small towns. For a walk or hike, though, I’m glad I can check it off my hiking goals list and move on, as it really wasn’t my favorite place to hike this fall, even though it taught me more about my home county.
I suppose that’s why we set goals: not only to explore our limits or the world around us, but also to learn. I’m still working on my list of hiking goals for next year, so I’ll have to keep that in mind as I plan.