Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Guest Post: A Beginner's Guide To Canoeing

Photos by OHventures

The following is an abridged contribution from Joey Holmes, a blogger for Cool of the Wild

To read this article in its entirety, please visit this link.

Young or old, trying something new is always exciting, and open canoeing, or Canadian canoeing, is a wonderful way to experience time on the water in a new way, whatever your age. 

Who is it for?
Canoeing is for anyone who loves being outdoors and exploring. So long as you are wearing a buoyancy aid, you don’t even need to be able to swim. The waterways often take you far away from roads and towns so it’s a great chance to get away from it all. Canoeing is also ideal for families, as the wee ones can just chill out in the boat whist you put in all the hard work. Plus, the older they get, the more they can get involved providing you with a your very own gondolier to escort you down the river!

[Editor's Note: See the photo below and the corresponding OHventures post, when we took the WHOLE family canoeing - everyone from 5 years old to 60 years old!]

Where can I do it?
Well, although this may seem like an obvious question, there are actually loads of ways to approach where to go paddling, depending on your level and intrepidity. For total beginners, the best place to learn is on a lake or a slow moving river or canal. As you progress, you can take your boat to faster rivers and sheltered ocean bays, and then to the open seas and on gnarly whitewater river descents.

[Editor's Note: Consider visiting our post on Where to Canoe in Ohio]

What to expect
Total serenity, closeness to nature and a slowed down pace of life. You can take photos, have a picnic in the boat or on the river banks, and if you are paddling downstream then you can often just sit back and let the current take you. But that’s only if you’ve mastered how to make your canoe go in a straight line! Otherwise, you should expect to slowly pin-ball from bank to bank as you overcompensate for every misjudged paddle stroke. This can be a little frustrating to say the least – especially when you see other paddlers going in a totally straight line with seemingly zero effort.

You should also expect to get a soggy backside, cold hands and a good shoulder and core workout.

[Editor's Note: Check out one of our very first OHventures, titled Tip-A-Canoe, where we certainly did NOT know what to expect!]

How to get started
Unfortunately, canoeing isn’t the easiest sport to just buy the gear and then go do. Not impossible though, and you can pick up some fun inflatable canoes without breaking the bank. But the best and easiest way to give paddling a go, is to rent a canoe. Most decent rivers will have a canoe rental outfit during the tourist season, where you can rent boats, paddles and safety gear for an hour or even a whole day. On safe rivers, you won’t need any prior experience and you’ll be dumped in your boat, have to fend for yourself and be expected to be back at base at an appointed time. Although this can be great fun for the more adventurous, it can also be a little daunting without the knowledge of how to turn or stop your boat, or the all-important knowledge of how not to capsize!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Holidays From OHventures

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all of my readers of OHventures! Thank you so much for your continued support in my quest to show everyone just how cool Ohio can be! May the next year bring you an endless thirst for adventure! See you in 2017!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hiking Haunted Ohio

Moonville Tunnel - Photo Credit: Trek Ohio

The following is a post written especially for OHventures by freelance tourism writer Jenny Holt!

Ohio is a state that has ghostly stories around nearly every corner. Haunted locations and tours abound. Here’s a little taste of dark and creepy adventures for you to take when visiting the Buckeye State.

Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Ghosts In Nature
Punderson State Park in Newbury, Ohio is lively enough during the day, offering fishing and other outdoor activities. At night, the liveliness continues. People who have hiked the grounds have reported spotting the ghosts of people who died in the lake.

There’s also a popular lodge on the lake that reportedly has several spirits in residence. Guests have claimed to see the ghosts of long dead servants around the grounds and some who have spent the night have reported invisible visitors taking a seat on the edge of their beds.

Dark Road
Staley Road in New Carlisle, Ohio has been drawing reports of ghostly nuisances ever since two bodies were found in the surrounding woods back in the 1970s. People have reported being pushed by invisible forces. They also have claimed to hear chanting coming from the woods, though nobody can be seen through the trees.

Up the road is the old flour mill built in the 1800s. Rumor has it that the owner went on a killing spree in 1905. The apparition of someone lying in the road has been seen and phantom gunshots have been heard near the old building.

Moonville Tunnel - Photo Credit: Trek Ohio

Tragic Landmark
The Moonville Tunnel in Zaleski, Ohio has a dangerous history. The tunnel was built just big enough for one train track to pass through it. This made it very dangerous for men whose job it was to keep the track clear of debris. People have reported seeing a mysterious light in the tunnel, thought to be the ghostly lantern of an engineer who was struck by a train.

There have been many deaths reported near the tunnel including a teen-aged girl who was hit by a train. People have reported hearing her crying as she searches for the boyfriend she was trying to meet up with.

Ohio has many haunted locations including several that can be found by hiking through the dark woods and down long, windy roads. Are the accounts of ghostly specters real, or are they just stories? The only way to be sure is to take a road trip and become part of the state’s haunted history.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Northeast Ohio WaterFALL Hikes

Chagrin Falls - Photos by OHventures

The roar of rushing water echoing throughout the wilderness is a welcoming sound when hiking through Ohio’s parks and trails. Whether manmade or created by Mother Nature herself, waterfalls provide an element of excitement and wonder to any outdoor adventure. Add to that the changing colors of autumn’s leaves, and you are bound to take your scenic adventures to an entirely different level.

Growing up in Northeast Ohio, my friends and I loved to explore the woods throughout the year, but nothing would compare to the times when we’d hike in autumn. In our expeditions, we sought out many notable waterfalls, which have become some of my favorite landmarks. Here are some of my top picks for Northeast Ohio waterfall hikes:

Chagrin Waterfalls – Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga County
The waterfalls in the quaint city of Chagrin Falls can be easily found, and they don’t require any hiking boots or gear! These impressive 20-foot high falls are located right in the heart of town square, and can be accessed via a series of staircases. I always take a pit stop to see the Chagrin Falls after having dinner or shopping at the many establishments lining Main Street. The leaves turn golden yellow and fire red during autumn, which provides a beautiful frame for the cascading waters. Just hurry and catch them before they freeze for the winter!

Gorge Metro Park – Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County
The Gorge Trails at the Gorge Metro Park in Cuyahoga Falls are full of remarkable rock formations along some slightly rugged terrain. A boardwalk and wooden staircase were recently installed to make the hike less advanced. The unmistakable sound of crashing water can be heard while on the majority of the 1.8-mile path. The falls you see are primarily due to a manmade dam, but you can also spot some natural cascades, known as the Big Falls (pictured above). You can take a detour out of the woods and spot the Little Falls, located in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. These waterfalls is how the city received its name.

Cascade Falls – Nelson Township, Portage County
As a teenager, my friends and I often visited Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park, located along U.S. Route 422 in Portage County. The rocky cliffs proved to be a challenging endeavor, and the nearby quarry gave us a place to cool off in the summer. When the leaves changed, color, we would still head to the park, but stick to hiking. We’d explore the exciting rock formations, like Devil’s Icebox and Indian Pass, and we’d always uncover the gorgeous Cascade Falls. Surrounded by mossy rocks and russet leaves, the 50-foot tall Cascade Falls is a slender, less robust waterfall than the others on the list, but is striking nonetheless.

Brandywine Falls – Northfield, Summit County
By and large, the most picturesque and the most breathtaking of all of the waterfalls I have visited in Northeast Ohio is Brandywine Falls (pictured above). Located in northern Summit County (in between Akron and Cleveland), Brandywine Falls are approximately 65-feet tall, with rushing waters encapsulated by bright orange leaves in the autumn. When frost and ice form, the flow of the water changes as well, making for an interesting sight to see. These falls are a very popular spot for photo shoots, be it for a wedding, engagement, or just because (which is exactly what I did with my dog this fall). There is a small 1.5 mile hiking trail that leads to the falls, as well as a wooden observation deck, which is always bustling with visitors.

Lanterman’s Falls – Youngstown, Mahoning County
As a student, we took countless field trips to Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, where we could go see Lanterman’s Mill and its accompanying waterfalls! Our teachers would take us here so we could learn how the water from the creek is used to power the gristmill to grind grain. We would always tour the mill and take home some grain products that were made on site! The waterfall next to Lanterman’s Mill is only about 15 feet tall, but it works in conjunction with the mill and a nearby covered bridge to create a beautiful backdrop.

There are countless other waterfalls in Northeast Ohio (and the state as a whole) to check out in the fall (or any time of the year). Some other good ones to check out are Buttermilk Falls in Brecksville, Cuyahoga County, and Paine Falls in Painesville, in Lake County.