-It had some very beautiful spots, really gorgeous. I bet it’s awesome in summer!
-It was remote – I didn’t see anyone else on the trail, and for most of it couldn’t hear any cars, etc.
-Enough of a challenge to make it interesting
-Because it doesn’t seem to be traversed often, you really gotta keep your eyes open for the Buckeye Trail blue blazes that are painted on the trees. Some are faded, and some are spread a little far apart. I didn’t have any issues and didn’t have to backtrack at all, but you DO really need to watch. I *did* check my AllTrails App a couple of times, just to be sure I was on the right path.
-Remember how I mentioned it was a really challenging hike? That’s because the first half of it was definitely in a state of thawing mud – I’ve never been on a trail like that before – where the mud took on this half frozen weirdly inflated feel. So basically every time I stepped my foot went down and in different directions. Not sure how else to describe it, but it made for slow going and really sore feet the next day. So hiker, beware! May want to wait until it’s dried out a bit more.
-Holy crap – there are two places, at either end of the loop, where you have to walk on the road for a little bit. Fairly common with the BT. Probably around a mile and a half or two miles total. Not a super big deal, but the one side for about a half miles was a VERY busy road. Semis and cars driving by one after the other at high speeds, and you have to walk about 3 feet from them for most of it due to a bridge with no sidewalk. HIKER BEWARE. It felt dangerous and I carried my dog for the duration of it.
In the end, I'll definitely do it again some Saturday. Lovely day hike. But I'll wait, for sure, until it's dried out a bit!
Have you hiked West Branch Loop or another portion of the Buckeye Trail? Comment below or email me here!
Donut Worry....Walk Happy
Last weekend I got to try out a new adventure - a 5k, hosted by Hermes Sports & Events. They partnered with Brewnuts, a local Cleveland joint that sells gourmet donuts and beer in a lovely, hipster atmosphere.
I've never done a 5k and wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I figured something hosted by a local donut shop wasn't going to have runners with the intensity of the Boston Marathon. Plus, you got a medal AND a delicious Brewnuts donut afterward. I've been following a runner on Instagram, Mirna Valerio, (themirnavator), a plus-sized runner who does crazy long runs and looks badass doing it, and I thought to myself that it looked hella fun. I convinced my husband, Bill, and friend Ben, to accompany me.
I knew I was going to have to do the 5k a little differently. I'm not supposed to run, if I can avoid it, due to my long-lasting back injury. That meant I was going to have to walk it. And so walk it we did!
It was a beautiful fall day, and once we got going it was almost too warm for the layers we wore.
- No one gave us any weird looks, and we weren't the only ones walking.
- I got a lot of pics with me in them. Usually, I'm the one taking the pictures, partly because I'm not always thrilled with how I look in them. But one of the things I'm working on this year is getting more with me in them, because the memories are more important than how my anxiety-riddled mind THINKS I look in them.
- For $30.00, totally worth it - got a neat shirt, a medal, and a donut (not the one listed below)
- I got to eat a delicious Dolce de Leche, custard-filled donut with caramelized white chocolate and kit kat bits. It was the best <insert expletive> donut I've ever had.
- There wasn't a lot of diversity in the race. There were a couple of us bigger ladies, but I didn't see anyone wearing Pride Pack (my own term for the LBGTQIA++ group), minorities, or differently abled folks. It was primarily white folks in their 20s, or middle-age white folks with their kids for the kids race. (Note: Brewnuts provides a *very* welcoming atmosphere, and are having a Drag Show there tomorrow, Thursday the 24th (2019). Part of this has to do with how the event was advertised, I'm sure, but there's also some other reasons I'll discuss in a future post after I have time to do more research.
- Hiking/Walking Poles - I'd debated taking them, but didn't. It was only "three miles" and I *knew* no one else would have them (one person did!). I should have taken them. Walking on hard sidewalks and blacktop is more difficult for the knees and back. I could have used the support, plus you get a better workout with them.
- Finally, I wish I'd spoken with more people. I don't normally go out and just talk to people, it makes me uncomfortable. But, I'd like to move out of that comfort zone a little more in the hopes of better community building and making more meaningful connections.
I'm glad I did it, despite my nervousness for doing it differently than most everyone else did. It's all about the adventure, right?
I definitely would like to do this in the future. Anyone interested in joining me to walk a 5k? Have you done a 5k? What did you like/not like about it? Let me know in the comments or contact me here!