Cuyahoga Valley National Park

7/21/13 Sunday at Wellington, OH (Findley State Park-$27/night)

The striking thing about Mass today was that the choir consisted of one a capella singer, who announced at the beginning that their pianist was in Boston visiting relatives, so we all will get to sing a capella. She had a beautiful, rich voice and did a wonderful job leading with no accompaniment. I would have been terrified to try it without a piano. The other interesting thing is that the entrance doors enter at the front, right next to the altar. This is a first experience finding ourselves at the front as we look for a place to land, outside of our very own parish in Spokane Valley.

When we returned, we saw our Spokane friends at the dump station. How fortunate – another chance to wish them well. At Miss Zanzibar, we packed our lunches and headed out to Cuyahoga (Kah ee OH gah) Valley National Park, around 10 am. We followed our GPS instructions. When we stopped at a red light in Medina, guess who we saw crossing on the green light? Janet and Albert (from Spokane). Now THAT is too amazing. We even followed them (per our GPS) for several miles, until we passed them on I-271. Janet & I were texting during this. Her final comment (as John was passing) was “Caution: wild WA driver”. An interesting sign I saw as we entered the Interstate: “Prohibited: Pedestrians, Farm Machinery and Animals.” Just goes to show how much farm machinery rules this world. Also, on our way out of town we saw a young boy riding his pedal powered farm John Deere tractor.

IMG_1032We stopped at the Boston Store Visitor Center. The major point of this park is that it follows the Ohio and Erie Canal, including a tow path where animals pulled the barges along the canal. It went from Cleveland to Akron, parallel to and watered by the Cuyahoga River. The canals helped the farmers ship their products to the east. Eventually, the railroads came in that were the canal’s demise. The photo is of the towpath, with the canal on the right. This place was crowded with bikers and hikers. I realize it was Sunday, yet as humid and hot as it was, we were amazed at how many came here.

IMG_1058Cuyahoga means crooked in Indian. This area was deemed neutral territory by the Indians so all might travel safely from the Great Lakes to the warm waters to the south.




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The first floor of the Boston Store (where the farmers brought their goods, had them loaded on boats that then went down the canal), they showed how the boats were built. The second floor had a model railroad, “N” gauge. I loved the checkerboard they had there and, sure enough, a couple boys were playing just before I took this picture. Instead of red and black squares, they had built up and not built up squares.


















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Our hike to Brandywine Falls took only a half hour and was well worth it, especially when you realize how few waterfalls they have in the east. We walked about halfway to the bottom of the falls, to the top, then to the River, on the Brandywine Gorge trail.
















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The other recommendation was The Ledges Trail. Wow. Some views are of the rock structure from above, some from below. It was like a slot canyon, where you could squeeze between rock to get further inside the ledges. My photo of John squeezing didn’t turn out. It was so dark I had moved, so it was blurry. Also because the camera compensates for lack of light, you don’t see these scenes as dark as they were. The CCC built these steps out of the natural stone there, “quarried from these same ledges and fitted into a natural break.”

At this point we were dripping with sweat and it was spitting rain. We stopped at the Octagon Shelter, where they have Underground Railroad Trail, but had missed the lecture, so just decided to go home. As with any National Park, there is way more to see and do, including a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (3 hr. round trip).

At home, we cooked up a batch of spaghetti, accompanied with wine. Yum!



About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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2 Responses to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  1. roberta4949 says:

    been on the ledges trail many times over my life, the octagon shelter I am famalir with and some of the tow path, we don’t walk these trails like we used to for various reasons, some which is my hubby’s work schedule leaves very little time to travel an hour to get to the cuy valley. not to mention we dont have a fuel efficient vehicle.

    • tjelser says:

      It is truly beautiful. You are fortunate to live near enough to enjoy this park. We just retired – that day will come for you too!

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