A Friend at Furnace Run

furnace run steps-01

As most of the trails I have left to hike in the CVNP are either longer or of greater difficulty (or both!), I’m getting to the point where I have very few trails left that I feel comfortable tackling solo. And since most of my trips there tend to be on weekdays, when my best friend can’t get away from work, I’ve been stumped on how to proceed.

So let’s take a moment to give thanks for the “social” aspect of social media. The more I follow and interact with fellow NE Ohio hikers on Instagram, the more opportunities open up to meet in person and buddy up for a hike. I have enjoyed exchanges with my new friend Diane for a few months, and she has invited me a couple times to let her know when I’m in her area for a hike. Today, we finally made that happen.

We met in the parking lot near the Everett Covered Bridge, grabbed our respective hiking poles and cameras, and headed across the road to start the Furnace Run trail. The trail immediately ascended multiple sets of steps, with a couple switchbacks for good measure, to lead us to the top of the ridge. Since I still get winded easily following my recent illness, I had to stop frequently, but Diane, bless her, kept pace with me, patiently waited with me, and told such interesting stories about other hikes she has taken in the park that before I knew it, we had made it to the top.

furnace run bridge-01

The entire hike turned out like that, really. While we both spent time looking around to appreciate the views and the signs of spring popping up around us, the physical exertion of the hike just sort of slipped by me as I enjoyed the company so much. Diane told me a bit about her volunteer naturalist training, I talked about some of the other areas I’ve been exploring, we both talked about work, and so on. Not a dull moment on the entire hike! And before I knew it, we had descended to Furnace Run (the creek) and followed it back to the covered bridge to finish our hike.

After all that, this 2-mile loop trail didn’t seem nearly as difficult as I had expected, so I’m looking forward to exploring the other two trails that start from the covered bridge. And you can bet I’ll be asking Diane to meet me for another fun hike sometime!



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