Saturday, January 10, 2009

Beautiful Day for a Walk

I'd been looking forward to a Saturday sleep-in, truth be told. Gourdo, aka the Gourd King and my husband, had other ideas. Today there was a winter hike scheduled along the Miami Erie Canal towpath, and he had volunteered to help. Did I want to accompany him?
What I heard from the little voice in my head: "What, are you kidding? Have you lost your MIND? Leave me alone, for pity's sake. It's raining ice, man!"
What I heard coming out of my mouth: "Sure. I'll go!"
This exchange took place at 7:30 a.m. during an ice storm. Can you believe it? Nevertheless, I was committed to the long haul, and off we went. At first, I thought we'd be set up serving hot chocolate, coffee, yogurt and granola bars at the starting point of the hike, but that station was covered. Then I thought I'd be encamped at the Miami Erie Canal Corridor Authority ( center in case visitors showed up. Just as I was settling down at the center wishing I'd brought a good book or my knitting along, Gourdo called from the trailhead asking, "Do you want to hike?" Again, there played the dissonance between mind and mouth, and before I knew it we were crunching along an icy towpath.
Ohio was divided in thirds by two canals hand-dug in the early 1800s. The Ohio and Erie Canal is on the eastern part of the state and the Miami and Erie Canal runs though the western part, where I live. At the time, the canals opened up not only the state but the heart of the settled nation for commerce by linking Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
Though canals were quickly put out of business by more efficient railroads, many of the communities that sprang up along the canals seem reluctant to let them go--and for good reason. The towpaths offer excellent hiking, and in this neck of the woods, it coincides with the Buckeye Trail, a hiking loop through the entire state ( Feeder ponds and Grand Lake, a vast manmade reservoir created to provide canal water, now provide sporting types with great fishing and boating. Wildlife enthusiasts may be rewarded with sightings of abundant birds, including bald eagles, great blue herons and ducks. Small mammals abound, as well as the occasional deer or coyote. In addition, the canal and its locks are historical treasures.
Today our historical treasure was covered in ice, though. Sleet pelted us as we hiked a short 2-mile section of the towpath, encrusting and thoroughly drenching my cheap parka. In spite of the elements, we encountered several intrepid hikers, and they all (I am not even kidding) greeted us with, "Beautiful day for a walk, isn't it?" I couldn't tell if they were being sarcastic or not, so I just agreed with them.
Due to the sleet, I kept my head down for the hike. There were lots of rabbit tracks along the trail. We saw big flocks of Canada geese. The prettiest things were the icy teasel heads and wild rose hips that grew in swaths on each side of the trail. Although I feel like my thighs might never thaw, I'm glad I went. It really was a beautiful day for a walk. Winter Walk photos by Gourdo.


  1. Even if it was cold, you make it sound like it was a wonderful walk and a place I'd like to check out myself if I'm ever out that way. Tell Gourdo I love his pictures.

  2. What a lovely avenue of trees in the first picture. I'd love to see another post with a picture after they leaf out. You're very brave going out in the sleet when you could be cosy warm at home!

  3. Wow, you even have proof! Looks like a really lovely walk. Do it again. :)

  4. Okay I need to get a sweater after reading this...I would have hidden in my bed!