Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Deer Of The Scioto

Photos by OHventures

Genoa Park
303 W. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215

Genoa Park is a beautiful park on the Western bank of the Scioto River, right behind COSI Columbus: The Center of Science & Industry in downtown Columbus, right off of Broad Street. At the center of the park, you'll find a set of large amphitheater steps, alternating with grass and concrete, which overlook the river, and provide for a great view of the iconic Columbus skyline (including the Riffe Center, Huntington Tower, and the Ohio Supreme Court Building). The park lies directly across the river from the Scioto Mile.

Plenty of people head to Genoa Park to have picnics, bike, run, and check out the fountains atop the amphitheater. But, now, as of late 2015, there is a new reason to come to Genoa Park: statues of giant bronze deer. Yes, you read that right. Giant bronze deer.

You can find two bronze sculptures of "humanized" deer at Genoa Park, one sitting upright on the stairs, and the other lounging nearby in the grass (a third deer can be found at the nearby Rich Street Bridge, leaning against the railing, looking out on the river). But why?! Well, apparently, the name of the Scioto River is derived from a Native American word that means "hairy water." Legend states that Shawnee tribe members found deer hair floating in the water when they migrated to the area. Hence, hairy water. Hence...deer statues?!

Artist Terry Allen came up with the concept and design, which is meant to represent how deer used to be prevalent in this area along the Scioto River, but now it is populated by humans, who often are running, biking, and lounging along the riverside. It is meant to be thought provoking and engaging to the public, to show a cross between when the deer once lived here and how humans currently do. Whatever it is, I think it's pretty cool - although a bit strange. 

Gold Jacket 5K Recap

Photos by OHventures

We're pretty luck to have the iconic Pro Football Hall of Fame right here in Ohio. After all, football is one of America's greatest sports of all time. So, it's pretty great that since 2014, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up to celebrate another one of America's greatest sports: running!

For the past two years, I have tackled (no pun intended) the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon (check out the recaps from 2014 and 2015), but this year, not having ample training time for 13.1 miles, I opted to run in one of the newest events: the Gold Jacket 5K, which takes place the day before the marathon and half marathon, right in Canton.   

Not only does the Gold Jacket 5K take place in Canton (the home of the Pro Football HOF), but the goal is to eventually also hold a Gold Jacket 5K event in each of the 32 cities that are homes to NFL teams! This includes Cleveland and Cincinnati in Ohio, for the Browns and Bengals, respectively. There are also events planned for Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Chicago (see the event calendar here), and former races in Detroit and Buffalo.

Matt and I met Captain American himself at the finish line!

My friend Matt and I took on the Canton course on Saturday, April 23 (a rainy, gray, COLD morning). The course started and ended at Don Scott Field (located next to the Hall of Fame), making a loop from Helen Place to Harrison Avenue to 4th Street to Broad Avenue (see a fellow runner's Garmin map of the course here). It was a relatively flat course, which I was rather fond of!

I really enjoyed the final portion of the course, which allowed you to run around the Don Scott Field track to the finish line, where you got to high five Gold Jacket recipient, Marcus Allen, Pro Football HOF inductee who formerly played in the NFL as running back for the Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. It's awesome that at every Gold Jacket 5K, there is a famous football star that gives you a high five at the finish line - a huge perk and incentive to run faster!

And of course, it's all about the bling! The finisher's medal that everyone receives is a GIANT gold ring that is meant to resemble a Superbowl ring, or a Hall of Fame ring! This medal automatically trumps all my others in terms of appearance, and is way heavier than any I have seen or received before! If you too want to join the gold ring club, find an upcoming Gold Jacket 5K near you and start your training!

Berlin Lake Trail

Photos by OHventures

Berlin Lake Trail
Kirkbride Road
North Benton, OH 44449
(southern trail head)

The Berlin Lake Trail is a multi-purpose trail that crosses Berlin Lake, located in the Southwest corner of Portage County. Parking is available on north trail entrance on SR 224, approximately 1.5 miles east of Deerfield Circle. Parking for the south trail entrance is located on Kirkbride Rd. off of SR 14, approximately 2 miles southeast of Deerfield Circle.

The southern entrance off of Kirkbride Road is where me and my two hiking buds Matt & Greg started and ended our hike (see our previous hike at Quail Hollow State Park). We were seeking out a hike that would be full of great scenery - and one that wouldn't be too difficult to navigate. Nothing seemed to fit that description more perfectly than the Berlin Lake Trail.

This limestone trail is just 2.2 miles in length, and is a straight shot north-to-south across the lake (making it 4.4 miles both ways). Because of this, we were able to get some really great views of the lake, on a brisk Saturday in April. It was more of a rigorous walk than it was a hike, due to the completely flat and straight terrain. 

You could tell that this is a "rails to trails" project - former locations of railroad tracks that are transformed into a trail. We learned that it was built on what was the former Lake Erie, Alliance, and Wheeling Railroad, and that the trail was opened to the public in 2011. 

We spotted several other folks utilizing the trail while we were out that morning: people running, pushing strollers, relaxing on benches, and walking dogs (we brought my little pup Slider along, knowing it would be good terrain for him). Dogs are permitted, as long as they remain on leashes. We may have broken that rule here and there (just a little bit), but only when no one else was in sight. The only animals we encountered (other than dogs) were geese along the trail.

In addition to people on the trail itself, we witnessed many folks fishing and boating on Berlin Lake, especially around the bridge (see photo below). The waters were calm and crystal clear, perfect conditions for a day out on the lake to fish.

While certainly not a challenging trail, it was great to get outdoors now that the snow has finally melted and the leaves are beginning to sprout on the trees. If you are looking for a very relaxing trail fit for everyone in the family (baby to grandma), the Berlin Lake Trail is a great place to go.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Donate To Pawsibilities

Photo by Pawsibilities

It's Pawsibilities time! Bark in the Park is happening May 7 from 11AM-2PM at Springfield Lake Park in Akron, and we need your help to raise funds for PAWSibilities Humane Society of Greater Akron.

The keystone event of Bark in the Park is the Pledge Walk. The easy walk (paved one-third mile route) serves as a celebration of all of the animals that have warmed our lives with their wagging tails, cold noses, and cozy snuggles while supporting the vital services provided to the community by PAWSibilities®. Leading up to Bark in the Park, registered walkers gather pledges from family, friends, and community members in support of their participation. Pledge donations provide second chances to the animals in our care.

Throughout the duration of the event, enjoy the Pet Expo! A wide variety of vendors, food trucks, activities, demonstrations, and raffles will be showcased for the entire family to enjoy!

Registration is only $5 and includes admission! Children under 12 are free. Click on the link to register:

I hope you will consider donating to this worthy cause. As you may know, I adopted my little 5 year old chihuahua mix, Slider, nearly 4 years ago from a shelter in Columbus. He is a wonderful pet and companion, and together we hope to raise money to help all pets get forever homes they deserve!

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.