Cuyahoga is probably the hardest National Park to pronounce. And to tell the truth – we still aren’t entirely sure we are saying it right! We heard it said a number of ways; we stick to the kai-ho-ga… it seemed the locals almost dropped the middle “a”.
Going to the Cleveland area with my Cubs sweatshirt was probably not the nicest thing to do so soon after the World Series battle – but I had to wear it with pride. AND it’s actually the only sweatshirt I have now!
The park is interesting. This protected place is between two large Ohio cities. Some say it was preserved as a buffer between Cleveland and Akron so that the two cities wouldn’t eventually merge into one spreading metropolis. Unlike a lot of parks we have visited so far, this park’s history is a story less of preservation, and more of reclamation.
The Cuyahoga River that connects the two populations was at one point so polluted that it caught fire! After that, people knew something had to be done.
So far, this has been one of the easiest parks for our “park lifestyle”. There are picnic areas EVERYWHERE. We pulled over at a few and were able to write, edit, and get stuff done as the kitty just explored the area all around us. It was great. It is a park for picnickers!
After staring at our screen for too long, we could immediately hit the trail that started at our “outdoor office”. We really liked the accessibility of this park. SOOO convenient. Also this park is very pet friendly!
Because of the way Cuyahoga was created after civilization was already established, the park’s “highlights” are kind of segmented. One of the more popular areas is called The Ledges. There is also a cave called the Icebox nearby that we wanted to explore.
The kitty enjoyed pushing leaves over the edge and watching them hit the floor. After mocking him for being weird, I actually thought it was kind of fun too. NERDS.
The kitty was hiking along with us alright at first, but as soon as we realized that we needed to hurry in order to catch the sunset, he shut down. Cats don’t hurry. He wanted to go at his pace.
Needless to say, we missed the actual setting of the sun. Thanks Vladimir.
And even though we “missed it”, the sky still gave us some nice colors to enjoy.
This is a perfect example of the feel of Cuyahoga – a beautiful waterfall, with a highway overpass right above it. At first, I thought it was kind of lame. I thought, “eh, doesn’t really feel like a national park to me.” But the more we got to know the park, and the history, the more I was able to appreciate the coexistence of civilization and nature. I realized that with the park’s amazing accessibility, which I absolutely loved, came this feel of “nearness to man”. Ultimately, we ruled that it is worth it. These cities deserve a place where they can decompress on the regular – and Cuyahoga Valley gives them just that.
One of the cool features of the park is the old train that you can take all the way through it. Unfortunately it was only running on the weekend and we showed up on a Monday! Bummer. But all the same, we were able to see the train station and saw the tracks run down the path. It would have been fun to ride though. Next time!
The trailhead to Blue Hen Falls had a chain to keep cars from heading down the trail. It was just what I needed – an impromptu slack session.
The actual path to the falls was incredibly short. Not having a massive distance to travel, we were able to just relax and have fun. It just goes to show, you don’t have to hit the longest, gnarliest hike to have a good time. The world can use more tiny trails.
Cuyahoga Valley is a precious place. Way to go O-hi-o for bringing back such a special spot.