When I sat down with maps to discover all the trails in the CVNP that I had not yet explored, I found a cluster of four or five all somehow connected to the Wetmore Trailhead. Though these trails are described in some sources as bridle paths, they are also available for hikers looking for longer, more challenging trails.
As I’m still not up for a long hike, I thought I would start my forays into this area with a hike on the Butler trail, a 0.6-mile one-way stretch from Wetmore Trailhead down into the Langes Run valley. Of course, to return to the trailhead, I needed to add a 1-mile segment of the Langes Run trail to my hike, but that seemed reasonable to me. So after bidding farewell to my friend Diane after the Furnace Run hike, I drove to the other side of the Cuyahoga Valley for my second hike of the morning.
Leaving the trailhead, I followed the trail alongside Wetmore Road for a short distance before turning into the woods. As the trail progressed downhill, I spotted lots of bricks and brick fragments strewn about the path. According to my CVNP trail guide, this was actually part of an old brick road in the valley. The trail continued its winding descent until it leveled out in the muddy flood plain along Langes Run.
What I had not realized before starting this trail was that the trail included two creek crossings — and not by bridge. Grateful for my boots and for a relatively low level of water in the creek, I stepped from stones to shallows to find a not-too-wet path across the current. TWICE. An adventure!
The trail soon ended at the Langes Run trail. If I turned left, I would cross the creek again and take the much longer (3 miles or more) route back to the trailhead. Turning right, I started a slight ascent that leveled out and overlooked the road, the ridge looming high above me on the eastern side of the trail. Less than half a mile down the path, the trail rose sharply around switchbacks, taking me up the ridge to an old farmstead.
At this higher elevation, the trail wandered through hawthorn groves, past meadows and ponds, and through a lot of mud. And I mean a LOT of mud. (The standing joke about this area of trails is that is was named Wetmore because “it’s wet more often than not!”) My pace slowed considerably as every step sank an inch or two into the muck and had to be pulled back out. I am grateful not to have fallen here!
Finally, the trail curved back to Wetmore Road, returning me to the trailhead. I think I will wait until later in the year, when I can hope the trail will be dry (or at least less muddy), to tackle more of the trails in this area. But at least I’ve made a start.