Secret Paths

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My neighbor, Ruby, has lived in her house for over 50 years. She's adorable and I love her. She wins those Beautification Awards from KAB, yet she's very supportive of my grand landscaping vision. Which, so far, just means that I tear up my yard / make things look worse. She makes her visiting son go outside and tell me to put on a jacket. She also tells her son things like, "You should see the things Michelle does! She's always working on something. And all this after she works all day! Women can really do anything these days." Hee! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and feministy. Her son also gives me the scoop on the man who lived in my house before me, what the house looked like, when he finished the basement, when he planted the shrubs that line the back yard, etc. He's a valuable resource and someday I hope to learn his name (isn't that horrible? I also don't know the name of another neighbor that I talk to all the time... after so many conversations, it's just awkward to ask). But the greatest thing he's ever told me was about a "secret" path in the neighborhood.

He remembered the path from when he was growing up here and, one day when he was visiting, decided to check it out again. It's still there, so he explored it and then let me in on the secret. OK, it's not really a secret but I've lived in the neighborhood for 3 years and driven by the spot countless times and never noticed it. So it *feels* all secret and awesome like that. It's actually just a neighborhood gateway to one of Akron's fabulous MetroParks. And I think the whole thing is quite magical. The path itself is not on any map but it's clearly a path. The entrance, on a small lot in between two houses, is marked by a chain and 3 small signs (no parking, no hunting, no dumping). I contemplated exploring it many times but kept letting it slip from my mind. But, thankfully, Ruby's son visits every weekend and kept reminding me.

Saturday I was in the mood for a hike. So I rang up (texted) my usual nature exploration partner & it was on. It was time to finally explore this secret neighborhood treasure. I was worried that it would be lame. But, holy cow!! It's more amazing than I ever could have imagined. It's a trail to the main area of the park (with more trails)!! Like, right this way, folks! Here is how you get to the park without driving. You just walk! In the woods! It's like a dream. I have always wanted to live somewhere where I could just roll out of bed and go hiking without having to drive somewhere. And I did all along (well, for 3 years).

And it's a good hike, too. It's approximately 1.5 miles to get to the main park, with a few miles of trails from there. And since that park has trails that lead to the Towpath (which leads to other parks & other trails), I can pretty much hike all day if I want! Whoa!! You cannot believe how happy I am about this discovery.

Very happy.


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