The Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" is the over-250-mile part of the Buckeye Trail in Northeast Ohio that goes through the following counties: Lake, Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Portage, and Geauga. On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at the northern terminus of the Buckeye Trail at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, I completed the loop which I had begun on Sunday, November 4, 2018.
My plan was to slowly complete, by hiking and biking, all the sections of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" over several years. With the onset of the March 2020 COVID-19 crisis, my plans radically changed, and I decided to complete the "Little Loop" this year. Below is the blog post about the Bedford Section, which is the second of five Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" blog posts.
You may find it helpful to first read the background information about the trail in the first blog post:
1 of 5: Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" - Exploring Over 250 Miles of Northeast Ohio
- November 8 & 12, 2018 - Attended Buckeye Trail Thru-Hike Presentations
- November 15, 2018 - Met with Everett Brandt Who Set Buckeye Trail Thru-Hike Speed Record in 2018
- Buckeye Trail Maps, Apps & Guides
- February 10, 2019 - Little Loop Presentation, Hike, and Trail Town Information
- Saturday, July 18, 2020 - Buckeye Trail Little Loop Challenge 2020
- Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - Buckeye Trail Podcasts
- Buckeye Trail Circuit Hikes & Patches
Here are links to all of the section blog posts, along with a list of the counties and some of the parks that are part of each section:
2 of 5: Exploring the Bedford Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" (See below)
- Lake County, Cuyahoga County
- Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, Headlands Beach State Park, Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Mentor Marsh, Lake Metroparks, Cleveland Metroparks, and more!
3 of 5: Exploring the Akron Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
- Cuyahoga County, Summit County, Stark County
- Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio & Erie Canalway, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Summit Metro Parks, and more!
4 of 5: Exploring the Mogadore Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
- NOTE: I included the small part of the Massillon Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" in this blog post.
- Stark County, Summit County, Portage County
- Stark Parks, Summit Metro Parks, Portage Park District, Mogadore Reservoir, West Branch State Park, Mantua Bog State Nature Preserve, and more!
5 of 5: Exploring the Burton Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
- Geauga County, Lake County
- Geauga Park District, Lake Metroparks, Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, and more!
Bedford Section - Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
There are 26 sections to the Buckeye Trail, each named for a town or feature within the section, and each with its own unique experiences. As you read the descriptions, you will come to realize the tremendous variety and history that hiking Ohio offers. We strongly urge you to obtain a detailed map from the Buckeye Trail Association for the section (or sections) you wish to hike.
This blog post covers my experiences on the Bedford Section from Sunday, November 4, 2018, through Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
65.8 Total Miles / 44.4 Off Road Miles (67.5%)
Map Publication Date: February 2012
The Bedford section begins in the Brecksville Reservation, a unit of Cleveland Metro Parks(CMP), at a simple sign near a parking area marked Buckeye Trail. This point marks the beginning of both the Bedford and Akron Sections and the end of the Medina Section. Although changes to the trail continue, this junction marks the point at which the Buckeye Trail (BT) was formally completed in 1981 as a hiking trail in a loop that can be said to link the four corners of Ohio.
The Bedford Section goes generally northeast from Brecksville Reservation to Headlands Beach State Park on Lake Erie, the BT's most norther extension, where the trail meets the Burton Section. Along the way, the trail follows the Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and then trails through Bedford Reservation (CMP) and South Chagrin Reservation (CMP). Although more road walking is encountered from here on, significant intervals on footpath are found within North Chagrin Reservation (CMP), Chapin Forest Reservation, a unit of Lake Metroparks (LMP), with its view of Cleveland off in the distance, Penitentiary Glen Reservation (LMP), Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve (City of Mentor) along bluffs above Lake Erie and Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve where you may see nesting eagles.
Here is information about trail towns in the Bedford Section:
The City of Mentor is proud of our status as a Buckeye Trail Town. We are a part of the Bedford Section which leads to the Northeast Terminus of the Buckeye Trail at Headlands Beach State Park– Ohio’s longest natural beach!
You’ll make your way through the Mentor Marsh – an important stop for migratory birds in the spring and fall. Enjoy the natural splendor and photo opportunities of this unique ecosystem at the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve & Marina and the Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve.
There is a lot to see and do in Mentor and neighboring communities. History buffs will enjoy the stoic tranquility of the James A. Garfield National Historic Site - home to our Nation’s 20th president and what is widely regarded as the first Presidential Library. The nearby Holden Arboretum is one of the largest arboreta and botanical gardens in the United States, with more than 3,600 acres, including 600 acres devoted to collections and gardens. And you’ll want to make sure you time your visit to take advantage of one of the great events hosted by the City each year – including their free Mentor Rocks summer concert series.
Last but not least, when you’re ready to take a break or need to replenish, Mentor is home to over 325 retailers, 170 eateries, as well as 9 hotels. Download a free Mentor Visitor Guide at www.visitmentor.com to plan your trip.
From: Northern Terminus at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve
To: Lake Metroparks Children's Schoolhouse Nature Park
Day #1 - Sunday, November 4, 2018
- 13.6 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 824.6 (Near: 41.759820, -81.285027)
- End Point: Mile Point 838.2 (41.634636, -81.316328)
After attending the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) 2018 Gathering (see 2018 tweet and 2019 tweet), I joined the Buckeye Trail Association and purchased some trail maps, since I decided to complete the "Little Loop" over the next several years. Years ago, I attended an ALDHA workshop led by a couple who were some of the earliest Buckeye Trail thru-hikers, and more recently attended an ALDHA workshop by the first solo woman Buckeye Trail thru-hiker. Learn more about the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) in my blog post about their 2019 Gathering:
- Blog Date: November 10, 2019 - From Waterfalls to Wilderness Workshops
Unfortunately, I badly sprained my ankle in the first section of the trail in Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Mentor Marsh area. Learn more about the marsh in my blog post:
Blog Date: May 15, 2018 - 9) Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 2018 Bald Eagle Fest at Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Mentor Marsh
I was able to reach the Lake Metroparks Children's Schoolhouse Nature Park on my bike.
This week, I received both my @PCTAssociation membership renewal info with a Pacific Crest Trail 2019 calendar https://t.co/QHfDlhAXLF https://t.co/W4lg8LJ8PD & also the Buckeye Trail maps I ordered from @HikeTheBThttps://t.co/CPxsXB7kxt— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) November 4, 2018
I will use the #BuckeyeTrail maps today! pic.twitter.com/gMwmUgsNOu
This was the start of my Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" journey:
.@karr_pe, last Sunday I tried something new.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) November 9, 2018
I #hiked & #biked (thx @OhioCityCycles for fixing my bike https://t.co/Je8M4yF2G0) on @HikeTheBT sections including @ohiodnr, @goCMNH’s @CmnhWildlife Mentor Marsh, @CityOfMentor Lagoon, and @LakeMetroparks. https://t.co/LL6mpo0rbB
From: Lake Metroparks Children's Schoolhouse Nature Park
To: Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Pine Lodge Ski Center
Day #2 - Monday, February 4, 2019
- 7.9 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 838.2 (41.634636, -81.316328)
- End Point: Mile Point 846.1 (41.589323, -81.369638)
In 1912, the Halle family, owners of the Halle Bros. Co. in Cleveland, bought this property for their summer estate and working farm. The farm was managed by the Burnett family, who lived here year-round. The only remaining structure is the horse barn, which now houses the Nature Center. Wise use of the land has preserved this special area for today and the future.
The Halles' lifestyle was typical of many wealthy Cleveland families who lived in the city and spent summers in the country. Sam and Blanche Halle had a deep respect for nature and wanted their children to have the same. They hired Maude Doolittle, a school teacher from Massachusetts who loved nature, as a governess for the children during the summer months.
Wander, cross-country ski or snowshoe through nearly six miles of trails surrounded by mature beech, maple, oak, tulip and hemlock trees. One of the best scenic overlooks in Lake County is found along Lucky Stone Loop Trail. Hiking in this beautiful forested park will take the park visitor to spectacular Sharon Conglomerate ledges, from which Lake Erie and the the Cleveland skyline are visible on a clear day.
Part of the Buckeye Trail, a continuous hiking trail throughout Ohio, passes through Chapin Forest Reservation. Blue paint blazes on some trees mark the Buckeye Trail.
After exactly three months of doctor-ordered rest for my sprained ankle, I was glad to be back on the next section of the "Little Loop" for a winter hike.
I hope I always remember the fun I had finding my way across the high water area in Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen Reservation -- learn about this great park in the following blog post:
- Blog Date: July 28, 2020 - Buckeye Trail Little Loop Challenge 2020 - Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen
Photos from February 4, 2019, which I shared on February 10th:
* Children's Schoolhouse Nature Park— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) February 10, 2019
Recently I #hiked in #Lakecounty #Ohio on @HikeTheBT's #BuckeyeTrail.
The best parts were in the @LakeMetroparks!https://t.co/hrS9EzxuHX
Thx @LakeMetroparks for winter #hike! pic.twitter.com/O4RWb5WYsu
Note that if you are #hiking in #LakeCounty #Ohio on @HikeTheBT's #BuckeyeTrail when the winter snow has started to melt be prepared for high water!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) February 10, 2019
I enjoyed the adventure of my winter #hike!
Thanks @LakeMetroparks! https://t.co/PT8kujRbfJhttps://t.co/kOxwEqBKrP pic.twitter.com/Wvr6a3Xadv
Be prepared! Be safe!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) February 10, 2019
You can have high water on @HikeTheBT's #BuckeyeTrail in the @LakeMetroparks’ #PenitentiaryGlenReservation.
I enjoyed the adventure of my recent winter #hike. Thanks @LakeMetroparks! https://t.co/PT8kujRbfJ pic.twitter.com/0IOb2zvsWK
On my recent hike on @HikeTheBT's #BuckeyeTrail, I was able to successfully safely cross the high water area in the @LakeMetroparks’ #PenitentiaryGlenReservation.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) February 10, 2019
Thank you @HikeTheBT, @CrookedRiverBTA @LakeMetroparks for my winter #hike! https://t.co/PT8kujRbfJ pic.twitter.com/NAvQzUoWUy
@HikeTheBT & @CrookedRiverBTA, in February 2019, I enjoyed a winter hike on the #BuckeyeTrail in the @LakeMetroparks. https://t.co/Jj0s52NUyK— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) December 31, 2019
High water made for quite an adventure. pic.twitter.com/OKYGUjGf52
From: Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Pine Lodge Ski Center
To: End of Brooklane Rd at County Line Rd
Day #3 - Wednesday, February 6, 2019
- 4.6 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 846.1 (41.589323, -81.369638)
- End Point: Mile Point 850.7 (41.562573, -81.390864)
I started my cold winter road walk at Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Pine Lodge Ski Center. On my walk, I passed by Geauga Park District Orchard Hills Park and Patterson Fruit Farm, but did not stop to visit them.
I ended my walk early -- only 4.6 miles -- to wait for better hiking weather.
FYI, I wrote about visiting Geauga Park District Orchard Hills Park in my 2020 Social Distancing blog post:
- Blog Date: March 30, 2020 - Peaceful Parks While Social Distancing
See the section about my Wednesday, March 25, 2020, visit to Orchard Hills Park.
From: End of Brooklane Rd at County Line Rd
To: Cleveland Metroparks Polo Fields Trailhead
Day #4 - Tuesday, December 10, 2019
- 12.4 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 850.7 (41.562573, -81.390864)
- End Point: Mile Point 863.1 (41.453528, -81.409043)
Wander through a dense maze of giant trees in this stunning example of an old growth beech-maple forest. A.B. Williams, Cleveland Metroparks first naturalist, embraced these woods as he conducted his doctoral studies and established the first Trailside Museum in the 1930s. This forest is home to 300 and 400 year-old beech trees, sugar maples, a rare stand of hemlocks, and a variety of other native forest species. It is a National Natural Landmark and member of the Old Growth Forest Network.
My weather app said it was 39 degrees as I started my day near the Mayfield Schools Gates Mills Environmental Education Center. I entered Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation at Rogers Road Field, and later passed near the park's historic Trailside Museum site while in the A.B. Williams Memorial Woods (a Registered National Landmark).
I then continued on a road walk where I stopped at the Cuyahoga County Public Library Gates Mills Branch before continuing on to the bridge that crosses the Chagrin River near the Gates Mills Arboretum.
I ended the day at the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation Polo Field.
From: Cleveland Metroparks Polo Fields Trailhead
To: Arbor Lane, South Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks
Picked up at the South Chagrin Arboretum
Day #5 - Saturday, January 4, 2020
- 5.2 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 863.1 (41.453528, -81.409043)
- End Point: Mile Point 868.3 (Near: 41.41312, -81.42337)
Hike the Buckeye Trail along hemlock lined streams and ridges, along the State Designated Scenic Chagrin River or visit a historic sculpture.
The outdoor sculpture known as Henry Church Rock in South Chagrin Reservation was carved by artist and blacksmith Henry Church in 1885. Church walked through the Chagrin River at night to sculpt this large sandstone boulder. Included in the carving is a quiver of arrows (with the four phases of the moon), a giant serpent, an eagle, a woman with a shell behind her (reminiscent of Botticelli's Venus), a dog, skeleton, and a baby in a papoose. While many have speculated the meaning of the work, it is not known what message Mr. Church actually wanted to convey through this piece. Other smaller carvings can be found on the river side of the rock, although it is uncertain whether they were carved by Henry Church.
The reservation is located in Bentleyville, Solon and Moreland Hills, and also features an Arboretum, Polo Field and many interesting trails to explore. Look About Lodge, a log cabin built in 1938 by the Cleveland Natural Science Club, offers year-round outdoor education programming for all ages.
This was the first of my winter hikes carrying a weighted pack in preparation for a planned backpacking trip in New Mexico on the Continental Divide Trail. When I was an Assistant Scoutmaster, I had led a group of Scouts on a hike on the Buckeye Trail from the Polo Fields going south to Sulphur Springs picnic area. It was great to be back here again.
Once in the main part of South Chagrin Reservation, there is so much to see, including Look About Lodge, Henry Church Rock, and the South Chagrin Arboretum. It was great to see the improvements of the arboretum. Years ago, when working in the Cleveland Metroparks Forestry Division for a summer job while in college, I helped reclaim the arboretum after it had become overgrown. Despite visiting South Chagrin Reservation many times in my life, on this day following the Buckeye Trail, I also explored areas I had never visited before!
Hiking on #BuckeyeTrail @HikeTheBT near @CleveMetroparks Polo Fields, and I learn that the @WRLConservancy has Forest Ridge Preserves with some trails in Moreland Hills.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) January 4, 2020
One of the trails is the Harry Potter trail. Are there wizards here?
Support from @ohiodnr and @NOAA. pic.twitter.com/Plq1TwUcG9
It is always a good day for a hike!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) January 4, 2020
Thank you, @HikeTheBT and @CleveMetroparks, for my fun day on the #BuckeyeTrail.
I explored parts of the South Chagrin Reservation that I have never visited before. https://t.co/5G2xOH5D50 pic.twitter.com/jWMuDxQ9vK
Related Twitter photos of Henry Church Rock from April 7, 2020, and October 30, 2020 -- a must-see location in the park:
Great day for a walk on this overcast spring day in the #Cleveland area, as we all deal with #coronavirus related stress.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 7, 2020
Practicing #SocialDistancing at @CleveMetroparks’ #HenryChurchRock.
A beautiful park experience! #ThisIsCLE pic.twitter.com/nZsPvS7mGw
Great how everyone in this #Cleveland area park is working to keep the park open by practicing #SocialDistancing.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 7, 2020
Great views & beautiful waterfalls at @CleveMetroparks’ #HenryChurchRock are good for your #mentalHealth!
Natures gives relief from #coronavirus related stress. pic.twitter.com/KYgHzmUiPw
Thank you, @CleveMetroparks, for the enjoyable afternoon walk in your #HenryChurchRock park area.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 7, 2020
Another great day #SocialDistancing in a peaceful beautiful park. Very good for both my physical and #mentalHealth!!https://t.co/do26WhC5IQ https://t.co/WZ7Vu67ZRS pic.twitter.com/Sgx6J7mlQu
#TimeToExplore the far side of the Henry Church Rock in @CleveMetroparks #SouthChagrinReservation.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) October 30, 2020
Moss covered one of the carvings I normally see here. https://t.co/4VfseFP4zR pic.twitter.com/8tlvCSxhnl
The @HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail goes right to the #HenryChurchRock overlook in @CleveMetroparks #SouthChagrinReservation.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) October 30, 2020
Great place to visit year round! https://t.co/4VfseFP4zR #TimeToExplore https://t.co/dEx6wDObzL pic.twitter.com/3aN2iOGppm
Related Twitter photos of Look About Lodge from July 13, 2020, while on part of the Buckeye Trail for the 2020 Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge:
I’m on the #TrailChallenge hike that starts at @CleveMetroparks “Look About Lodge” log cabin.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) June 13, 2020
Loop trail follows part of @HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail. https://t.co/s3q30bJdiC
The #trail challenge is a great way to take #TimeToExplore the @CleveMetroparks! https://t.co/BWhs0k8cBV pic.twitter.com/ekxs7920O3
The @CleveMetroparks #TrailChallenge 2020 hike on the “Look About Lodge” loop trail follows part of @HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail. https://t.co/s3q30bJdiC— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) June 13, 2020
It is a great place and #TimeToExplore the @CleveMetroparks on their #TrailChallenge 2020!https://t.co/BWhs0k8cBV pic.twitter.com/70rFQTf6bv
See all the Trail Challenge blog posts by clicking here.
From: Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Arboretum
To: Hawthorn Parkway Parking Area, Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation
Day #6 - Sunday, January 12, 2020
- 6.8 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 868.3 (Near: 41.41312, -81.42337)
- End Point: Mile Point 875.1 (41.37567, -81.49002)
The temperature was 32 degrees as I started my winter hike carrying a weighted pack.
It is always a good day for a hike!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) January 12, 2020
Today, I explored horse trails from South Chagrin Reservation to Bedford Reservation. https://t.co/5G2xOH5D50
Thank you, @HikeTheBT and @CleveMetroparks, for this #BuckeyeTrail path. pic.twitter.com/MkRJePvHSe
Related Twitter photos from September 27, 2020, as I returned in warmer weather to Bedford Reservation for the Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge:
Great to be back in @CleveMetroparks’ #SouthChagrinReservation to see the section of the @HikeTheBT’s Buckeye Trail that I walked January 2020. https://t.co/5G2xOH5D50— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) September 27, 2020
The Buckeye Trail follows horse trails through the woods and the park’s #bike trail. #TimeToExplore https://t.co/oq4cGcKIAC pic.twitter.com/2T8tHnrhZ2
See all the Trail Challenge blog posts by clicking here.
From: Hawthorn Parkway Parking Area, Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation
To: Alexander Road Trailhead, Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation
Day #7 - Sunday, January 19, 2020
- 8.4 Miles
- Start Point: Mile Point 875.1 (41.37567, -81.49002)
- End Point: Mile Point 883.5 (41.35787, -81.56878)
17 degrees -- it was so cold and windy that I didn't stop to eat lunch over concern of losing body heat. I carried a weighted pack.
It is always a good day for a hike!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) January 19, 2020
17° today as I hiked in @CleveMetroparks’ Bedford Reservation on the @HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail. https://t.co/BKyPtEw9PW
Thank you, @HikeTheBT and @CleveMetroparks, for the great day in the woods. pic.twitter.com/X4hgB9cQUl
I love the mini #snowman that someone made at the Bridal Veil Falls overlook in @CleveMetroparks’ Bedford Reservation.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) January 19, 2020
I found it while hiking on @HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail. https://t.co/BKyPtEw9PW pic.twitter.com/ulduE3zX6i
Related Twitter photos from October 28, 2020 -- return for Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge in warmer weather:
After our bike ride, enjoyed an autumn walk to where @HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail goes by Bridal Veil Falls. Great place to visit anytime of the year! https://t.co/AnG5nAC8Vohttps://t.co/lMQ1nlkqWn#TimeToExplore @CleveMetroparks Bedford Reservation. https://t.co/FANJujGmod pic.twitter.com/LHJzKWjyek— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) October 28, 2020
@HikeTheBT’s #BuckeyeTrail goes by the Bridal Veil Falls area in @CleveMetroparks Bedford Reservation. https://t.co/ul5KM0Wof7https://t.co/lMQ1nlkqWn#TimeToExplore https://t.co/FANJujGmod pic.twitter.com/cj7npTSdG3— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) October 28, 2020
See all the Trail Challenge blog posts by clicking here.
March 2020 - Start of Coronavirus Crisis - Activities Canceled!
In mid-March 2020, the whole world changed!!!
From: Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Subject: Urgent Update for CDT Thru-Hikers
Date: March 13, 2020 at 6:06:20 PM EDT
To: Stuart Smith
A notice for anyone planning a long-distance hike or ride on the CDT in 2020:
As you know, the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. While the trail can be a great place to practice social distancing, there is still a risk of transmission, particularly in high-use areas like trailheads and off-trail gathering areas, such as hostels. . . .We understand that this may be upsetting – many of you have been planning this journey for years, and we know that an opportunity to spend months on the CDT is life-changing. However, in issuing this guidance, we are thinking of the elderly man working part-time at the checkout counter of the grocery store where you will resupply, and the woman without health insurance who cleans your hostel or hotel room. We are thinking of the fact that many trailside communities along the CDT are small and isolated, and may be hours away from the closest COVID-19 testing center or, more importantly, the closest hospital equipped to treat patients in severe respiratory distress.
In mid-March 2020, the coronavirus crisis hit hard, leading to the cancellation of all the activities I had planned for the year! At the same time I was buying supplies to go on my Continental Divide Trail backpacking trip, COVID-19 related announcements to cancel activites were happening one-by-one. New Mexico's "stay-at-home-order" led to me canceling my trip for 2020.
One of the first events canceled was the Cleveland Metroparks annual Adventure University, which I was planning to attend. I had been invited to speak at the Adventure University about my 600+ mile backpacking trip in the southern desert of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019, but I had not had time to prepare a talk. I was very disappointed that it was canceled, since I had enjoyed attending in 2019. Since the event was canceled for 2020, I have used some of my now-open time (due to the pandemic) to prepare a Pacific Crest Trail Desert talk for a future year.
Learn more about Adventure University from my blog post from last year:
- Blog Date: April 9, 2019 - Cleveland Metroparks Adventure University 2019!
In April, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Opening Day for Trails Cleveland, which I attend every year, was moved to a virtual online event, and the Sixth Annual Continental Divide Trail Days, that I was planning on attending in New Mexico, became an online event called "#VirtualTrailDays." Read about these 2020 online virtual events, and the past Opening Day for Trails Cleveland events, in these blog post:
Blog Date: May 6, 2020 - Social Distancing with Virtual Trail Talks #CelebrateTrails #VirtualTrailDays
Blog Date: April 23, 2019 - Great Turnout for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Opening Day for Trails - Cleveland 2019
Blog Date: April 17, 2018 - Rails-to-Trails Conservancy - Opening Day for Trails Cleveland!
2018 was the first year this national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy event included Cleveland. It is great that the City of Cleveland is now recognized nationally, along with other locations, for our community's work to open more rail trails!
Here are tweets about preparing for my backpacking trip, and then about the many outdoor-activity related events that were all canceled this year:
I just received an email from @CleveMetroparks canceling their annual Adventure University at @BaldwinWallace.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 11, 2020
I'm sorry they had to cancel, but know it is the correct thing to do.
I look forward to attending in future years.
I enjoyed it in 2019 https://t.co/UOhiWNRqCX https://t.co/h46ctMIvUk
Tonight buy #backpacking gear & #camp food at @REI #Cleveland.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 12, 2020
Fun to see all their #camping gear.
I have a blog post about REI day at @holdenarboretum for their CLE opening: https://t.co/8SFFyZKTES
and about REI at @CleveMetroparks Outdoor University: https://t.co/UOhiWNRqCX pic.twitter.com/LA33ERFcNK
@AT_Conservancy and @PCTAssociation, I was at @REI #Cleveland tonight, and got to hear some great trail talk.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 12, 2020
I met an REI employee who was a 2010 Appalachian Trail thru-hiker (2,100+ miles), and then more recently hiked the first 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. pic.twitter.com/W5ZAzxrUyj
Hey, @HikeTheBT, I was at the @REI #Cleveland store tonight— they are doing a GREAT job in their store promoting your 9th Annual #BuckeyeTrail Fest which is happening at @GreatTrailBSA’s @CampManatoc in @CVNPNPS on April 30-May 3.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 12, 2020
Sounds like fun! pic.twitter.com/Jj6jKyuDjt
I like how the @clevemetroparks is using the notice on the top of their website to educate and inform park visitors of updates regarding #coronavirus.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 12, 2020
The notification links to: https://t.co/phU3CM2thK pic.twitter.com/NIrJ9JDEn6
The @CleveMetroparks Adventure University that I was planning on attending at @BaldwinWallace has been canceled. https://t.co/LVDXiuSOCp— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 12, 2020
Also, @CleveMetroparks “Mini Hackathon” at @CWRU had been canceledhttps://t.co/phU3CM2thK
Events in the park & @CleMetZoo are not impacted. pic.twitter.com/h4umHQNeZH
Most public activities I had planned were canceled for me.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 15, 2020
The one public activity I still had I just called and canceled for at least the next two weeks.
Please everyone, #FlattenTheCurve!
Remember to #WashYourHands and take care of yourself. pic.twitter.com/n5cxBBqnVO
With all my activities canceled, I would normally say this is a good time to get done all the little unimportant things that that I don’t normally have time to do.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 16, 2020
Instead I think self care mentally is more important.
I plan to do want ever feels calming or fun or important. pic.twitter.com/KsSdNy3naJ
“If you've hiked a long-distance trail before you know that community is a large part of the trail; right now that community needs you to think about something bigger than yourself.” — well said @HalfwayAnywhere!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 19, 2020
cc: @CDNST1 @AT_Conservancy @PCTAssociation @ALDHAeast @ALDHAWest https://t.co/nNdmgRsLnW
@AT_Conservancy, I am sad to read your tweet about Maryland State Parks needing to close their impressive areas.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) March 21, 2020
Maryland is such a great historic section of the Appalachian Trail thanks to @MDStateParks!
I love this area & have hiked it three times. I was last there in 2018. https://t.co/q64RZh1exl pic.twitter.com/84LDXW0YgK
I just successfully canceled @allianztravelus travel insurance.https://t.co/3e4QINDN3d— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 4, 2020
I am very sad to be canceling my adventure for 2020, but I am already working with @AmericanAir, @CDNST1 and others to plan for an adventure in 2021. https://t.co/oWhGfC7p02 pic.twitter.com/VK4PkkAYDg
Video:— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 7, 2020
“No Cat Holes in the Back Yard”
10 tips for frustrated #backpackers (like me) who are stuck at home today due to #COVID19!
Remember to be safe — #StayHomeSaveLives!
cc: @CDNST1 @AT_Conservancy @PCTAssociation @ALDHAeast @ALDHAWest pic.twitter.com/9m8pwFUtxZ
April 7th, I want to thank @CDNST1 for both their March letter confirming my Continental Divide Trail shuttle (which is now canceled) & the shirt I purchased— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 7, 2020
From being excited https://t.co/b2r376BRsn
To disappointed https://t.co/OsSbol5SIt
I’m now looking forward to 2021! pic.twitter.com/CbJ16asRG4
I just read an email that @ZeroDayResupply sent me encouraging #backpackers to follow trail organizations' (@CDNST1, @PCTAssociation, @AT_Conservancy) request to postpone/cancel hikes due to #COVID19.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 8, 2020
Financial loss to them for betterment of all hikers! https://t.co/B6SCMFTceH pic.twitter.com/81F138c9lr
FYI, people I meet backpacking on long distance trails don't shake hand since they know not to risk spreading germs. They do fist bumps.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 9, 2020
cc: @AT_Conservancy @PCTAssociation @CDNST1 https://t.co/ZvK5PKYpie
I have gone to @RailsToTrails #RTCOpeningDay in the past:https://t.co/DOo8UONuKR— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 18, 2020
Was going to miss this year since had planned to be on @CDNST1's trail today.
Sad that not on trail today, but at least can go to #CelebrateTrails Facebook live event at: https://t.co/DALxGwP2Xn https://t.co/32UseFMG9Q pic.twitter.com/N7XOHPwkON
I was to be in @SilverCityNM tonight #backpacking on #ContinentalDivideTrail, but canceled due to #coronavirus crisis.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 23, 2020
Glad to be able to learn more about CDT section of #NewMexico on #EarthDay via @CDNST1's #VirtualTrailDays. https://t.co/hzWGmhmckyhttps://t.co/q5glpUAKO6 pic.twitter.com/nrMYB9jsdK
2020.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 24, 2020
I received the @CDNST1 email about @GovMLG's Stay-at-Home order yesterday. https://t.co/JrYGMtfsbJ
While sad for 2020, I am now trying to stay focused on looking forward to 2021. https://t.co/78T1x6eP3b https://t.co/WdxgMriljF pic.twitter.com/58UR4Vixl9
One year ago, I was on my way to the Mexico border to start my hike of a chunk of the Pacific Crest Trail.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) May 2, 2020
Thank you, @PCTAssociation, for the adventure!
I'm thinking this morning about all the great backpackers I met last year & about all those that had to cancel this year. https://t.co/XPUvOD7OiQ pic.twitter.com/sM3CLJDImP
I had to cancel my backpacking trip this year, but with help from the @CDNST1, I plan to be on a long distance hike again in 2021 on the Continental Divide Trail. https://t.co/pin1N7EgFK— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) May 2, 2020
I had planned on starting my trip this year on April 7th: https://t.co/syMYYoyGWW pic.twitter.com/EsPritb2vB
I just watched the video message from @PCTAssociation: https://t.co/6nsoeRTodN#COVID19 has had an enormous impact on the long-distance backpackers and others that use the #PacificCrestTrail. https://t.co/dDDOUrtdpk pic.twitter.com/IYks8w6hy1— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) May 15, 2020
Ending today also thinking of adventures canceled for 2020 & dreaming of future possibilities— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) June 28, 2020
Today was the original end date that I had planned for attempting to backpack a chunk of the Continental Divide Trail in 2020
Thanks @CDNST1 as I plan for 2021https://t.co/syMYYoyGWW pic.twitter.com/5SmskUHNTe
Sad!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) July 25, 2020
I received the official email.
Another event that I’ve been attending for years is now canceled
Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) Gatheringhttps://t.co/bYnqd8OhQK
cc: @AT_Conservancy @PCTAssociation @CDNST1 @floridatrail @AppTrailMuseum @ALDHAWest pic.twitter.com/E3QgaOasrV
I read and re-read this in the email you sent me yesterday.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) July 31, 2020
Thanks, @AT_Conservancy, for this information. Well written and very useful links to resources on your website that answered questions I had. https://t.co/FhnzAbgpGX pic.twitter.com/5MHtcnd8KP
From: Alexander Road Trailhead, Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation
(The End of the Bedford Section is at the Buckeye Trail intersection near Deer Lick Cave)
To: Horse Stables, Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation
Day #8 - Tuesday, April 21, 2020
- 8.2 Miles to horse stables
- Start Point: Mile Point 883.5 (41.35787, -81.56878)
- End of the Bedford Section at the Buckeye Trail Intersection: Mile Point 890.4, Elevation: 833 ft (41.30554, -81.60860 ±16 ft)
- End Point: Mile Point 890.6 (Mile Point 0.6 on Akron Section), Elevation: 858 ft (41.30073, -81.60629 ±16 ft)
Tuesday, April 21, 2020, was the turning point in my Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" plans. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I decided to complete the rest of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" this year.
I started the day hiking in a section of the Summit Metro Parks that I had never visited. I then hiked in areas that I was very familiar with on the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Deer Lick Cave area in the Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation. I have led many five-mile Boy Scout hikes in the Brecksville Reservation, and have often visited the three-way intersection of the Buckeye Trail near Deer Lick cave. However, being here today was special, since I now could say that I completed the Buckeye Trail from Lake Erie to the Deer Lick Cave area.
The trail intersection here is significant, since it is the point where the Akron Section begins (going south). The Akron section makes the "Little Loop" possible (look at the northeast part of the Buckeye Trail map).
Note that, if I had chosen to travel west on the Buckeye Trail, I would have ended up going around the western part of the state where the Buckeye Trail is also part of the North Country Trail, and continued on to joining the American Discovery Trail (@American_Trail) in the southern part of the state.
I ended the day just beyond (approximately 0.2 miles) the Buckeye Trail three-way intersection, at the horse stables in the park. Please read on in the next blog post:
I had some interesting weather yesterday hiking on the @HikeTheBT’s Buckeye Trail.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) April 22, 2020
Windy alternating between cloudy and sunny skies.
Also, little icy snow-like balls fell from the sky.
Here is my video from when I was walking on the @OECanalway towpath in @CVNPNPS. pic.twitter.com/xtqvwogjSu
What is your favorite activity @CVNPNPS? Is yours not mentioned below- comment with your favorite! #FindYourVirtualPark #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque@CVSRR @forcvnp @countrysideohio @OECanalway @canalwaycle— Cuyahoga Valley NP (@CVNPNPS) May 3, 2020
I recently enjoyed walking on @HikeTheBT’s Buckeye Trail in @metro_parks, @CVNPNPS, @OECanalway & @CleveMetroparks.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. - sosAssociates.com (@sos_jr) May 3, 2020
I have hiked on many @CVNPNPS trails from when you used to have the Cuyahoga Challenge program.
I plan to be on @HikeTheBT again soon.https://t.co/WK3Ef7U0hS https://t.co/X4ehw1kohU
Please use these links to read more about the Buckeye Trail and my experiences completing the "Little Loop."
4 of 5: Exploring the Mogadore Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
- NOTE: I included the small part of the Massillon Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" in this blog post.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop!'