Outdoors in The 330
words by Molly Gase / photos by Natalie Spencer / Christa Allen / Andrew Keller
When you hear the phrase, “the gift that keeps on giving,” it is usually in association with something negative. However, Mother Nature has given us a wonderful gift in The 330. She has blanketed the hills with lush vegetation, towering trees and meandering paths. Dotted with glistening waterways, she has given us yet another route to explore.
Around each bend is another adventure and unlike many man-made marvels, these thrills are always changing and growing. Mother Nature is constantly creating new ways for us to experience the great outdoors. Whether it’s by foot, boat, bike, from great heights or down on the valley floor, there is so much to do outdoors. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get out there and explore.
Gliding over calm waters or rushing along with a hasty current, your kayak melds with you, becoming an extension of your limbs. Arms extend into the two-sided paddle to stretch down into the waterways you travel through. The vessel responds to your movements naturally, shifting course, directing and driving you forward along your journey. Every once in a while you stop, sit back and give in to the flow below you. Like an underwater highway, the current takes you on, continuing your trip at a slower pace. While you drift away, take in the soundtrack of Mother Nature. Insects chirp, wings of area birds flap in an effort to take flight and the leaves rustle soothingly. Whether it’s a calm afternoon on Nimisila Reservoir or a rapid trip down the Cuyahoga, take a little time to lose yourself on the waterways—away from the bustle of everyday life—even if it is just until the water returns you to the shore and life resumes again.
"Every time I have been on the river I felt like I owned it because there is no one else around." Brad McBride is an Urban Forester with Davey Resource Group, A Division of The Davey Tree Expert, Co., as well as the owner of Burning River Adventures, a kayak rental company.
Cast a line into the depths of your favorite spot and let that breath that you didn’t know you were holding escape the confines of your chest. Looking out over the water, allow yourself to relax and not worry about the on-going to-do list hanging on the refrigerator or the pile of bills waiting to be paid. When out on one of the many lakes, reservoirs, streams or rivers in The 330, there is no need to worry or compete with anyone. It doesn’t matter how many or how large your catches are. Those numbers will fade away with the passage of time. But the feeling of tranquility achieved while waiting for the fish to bite will remain. Settle in at Hinckley Lake in Medina, or Killbuck Creek in Wooster and let the fish come to you. On the water, peace of mind trumps all else.
"The Greater Akron Area is a nice location for fishing because of the great locations of lakes, and our climate produces great fishing in Ohio. There’s a huge diversity of fishing in this area." Ken Fry is an Outdoor Skills Specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Throughout history, exploration has been powered by our own two feet. Travelers have trekked across the land, constantly seeking what is just beyond that next ridge or line of trees. The desire to explore is a built-in feature of many. Follow your feet up hills, across streams and along the twisting route nature has left for you. Stepping onto a wooded trail in Sand Run Metro Park you are surrounded by tall trees, their canopies stretching overhead in a natural roof. Sunlight streams through in beams of twinkling light, setting the stage for your mind to wander. Memories stop in for a friendly visit then continue on, making room for new moments. After a while, you come upon a stream. The slow-running waterway trickles over tired feet, carrying away the worries of the day. Standing in the refreshing water mid-hike, you realize there is no need to hurry. Just slow down and take a hike.
"There are so many different agencies working together to provide great hiking trails. If you take all the trail options in the CVNP and you add all of the great hiking options that the Summit Metro Parks have, they really hit every intensity level and length." Karen Kopchak, Interpretive Ranger with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for 25 years.
There is nothing quite like a breathtaking view. Getting there though can be an adventure all its own. Hand over hand, foot over foot, you can ascend to new heights. The rocks beneath your touch provide lips and ledges, encouraging you to continue the climb. Up, up, up you go, always reaching for the next spot with your goal in view. Once there, let the scenery below wash over you. Perched upon a seat crafted by nature, you can allow the tension to leave your limbs. The challenge has passed. Breathing in deeply, soak in the world before you with eyes wide open. In locations like Whipps Ledges, look out over lush green treetops, glistening strips of water that sparkle in the sun sneaking through gaps in the canopy. The natural spectacle is complimented by the height it is viewed from. A sight worth the trial of the climb.
"Climbing is a challenge that makes a family work as a team. We give classes to whole families and parents often are educated by the kids. It ends up being the kids helping teach the parents instead of the parents teaching the kids." Jeff Boni is the gym manager at Kendall Cliffs Indoor Rock Climbing Gym.
Each day we get behind the wheel of cars, trucks and SUVs, intent on getting from point A to B as quickly as possible. However when you dust off your bicycle and take it out onto the Towpath in Penninsula or the Sippo Trail in Stark County, it is all about the journey. The stress of the highway is in your dust as you push the peddles into that familiar circular motion. Paths unwind before you, each beckoning a new adventure. As the way before you comes into view, the world falls away. The rhythm of your bicycle works its way into the ambient sounds around you, becoming one with the noises of wildlife hidden from view. Wind rushes by as you pick up speed, blowing the hair back from your face. After a while you begin to feel the pleasant strain of muscles that haven’t worked this hard in too long. Shaking them out of dormancy, you push ahead. Just you, and the bicycle below you, know the way forward and that is just fine.
"When you’re riding a bike it’s really hard to be mad. There’s something really therapeutic about riding a bike."Bob Peyak, owner of Falls Wheel and Wrench