Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Miami River Scenic Trail and Greenway.

So, not being content to simply ride in circles, and very much wishing to continue my process of healing and growing, I've been actively looking for other places to ride.  I've even gone and ridden one such place, that I knew of from having traveled under it by water in Indiana.  It was just over seven miles round trip, and with the exception of  four tunnels they want you to walk through, and of course the powerplant, it's a lovely, scenic journey.  I even took some pictures of it, they are available, power-plant, tunnels and all on my Flikr page in a set called Dearborne Trail Indiana.  Tunnels and power-plant not withstanding, it's a glorious, peaceful, scenic ride along the Ohio River.

My investigations have turned up other interesting options as well.  Miami White Water Forest for example.  There's also a set of pictures from my brief field trip to explore at least part of that park, called Miami White Water Forest.  I've since been there to ride the Shaker Trace Outer Trail, which while more of a challenge physically than Winton Woods, is utterly glorious in it's simple beauty and to be honest, reminds me so much of New England that I am way less homesick.  Rolling hills, Wildlife, Wetlands and Bird Sanctuary space, the Miami White Water lake itself, Dry Fork Creek, working farmland, forested areas and abundant wildlife make this paved multiuse trail a real treasure for anyone, let alone a misplaced New England farm girl like me.  Plenty of places to set up a small grill and have a BBQ and even trail access for Horseback riding make this a real gem in the Hamilton County Park system.  And I get unlimited access to this park, Winton Woods, and all the rest for five dollars a year for a parking pass. Oh the horror!  Five dollars?  To park at the parks, all year long?  Worth it at four times the price!

Finally that brings me to my point in this post.  The Largest paved multiuse trail in the United States. The Little Miami River Scenic Trail and Greenway.  End to end it is well over 70 miles long and connects the South Western most portion of the state of Ohio with the North Eastern most corner.  It also connects to numerous East to west trails along the way.  Miles and miles of terrain through all sorts of land it covers everything.  Forests, Rivers, Farms, Cities and even takes one past Ohio's own version of Six Flags called Kings Island. Giant combination water park and amusement park.

Anyway, there exists a mountain of information about the trail online and where it goes, but precious little about where exactly one can park and how much it will cost.  Blah, blah, blah details aplenty, but precious little in terms of facts about really important things, like where to put my car and how safe is it?  So, like most things in my post Earl life I decided some controlled recon would be a good thing.  Especially since there exists a map of the trail, trail heads, and distances between points, but no real talk of parking.  So, I took a day to go exploring, looking for parking, determining threat and traffic levels and getting a feel for it before I think about taking Serenity over and committing myself to a ride.

Maps and such were no help really, because they don't really show were parking is.  I knew of only one place for certain that I could park, but that wasn't primarily a parking spot for the trail but a golf course.  My plan was to tell my magic phone to take me to the golf course and I'd snoop from there.  Except my phone wasn't co-operating.  At all.  Nothing.  GPS mapping totally not working.  Start it up, it shut down.  And again.  Fine, I don't no steenking computers!   I knew generally where I was going, turned on terrain seeking in the GPS in my head and went hunting for the river.  Yes, I have a kind of a GPS in my head, pretty much always have.  Plus it's got some of the extra features only the really complex kinds have, like terrain seeking.  Which means I can follow ridge lines, navigate based on elevation and avoid, or find, high points.  Kinda cool.

Found a wonderful little spot for meditation and a picnic over looking the Little Miami river valley called the Mariemont Concourse.  It's beautiful, so I stopped, soaked up the sun and sights, took some pictures and confirmed I was heading in the right direction since I saw one of the train trestles crossing over the river down below me.  Plus it made for a wonderful break in my day.

Once done from there, I went down into the valley heading for the river. and what should I find, right there at the junction of Newtown road and Route 50?  Bass Island parking and trail head for the Little Miami River Scenic Trail!  Woot, found one!  More on that to follow!

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