Trail towns are the communities along the trail where you can plan your outdoor recreation. This is where you could park your car, spend the night, refill your water bottle, eat a meal, see some of the local tourist spots.
The Buckeye Trail Town Program is to connect hikers and communities along the 1444 mile Buckeye Trail. The coordinator will be the liaison between the Buckeye Trail Association and the contacts at the local community level. My duties as coordinator, overall, is to improve and enhance the Trail Town Program.
18 Buckeye Trail Towns
The BTA currently has 18 trail towns, in a program that began in 2016. Since this is almost entirely a volunteer organization (paid executive director & a few office-type people) the program has had some starts and stops. In some respects, I am starting a bit over to rejuvenate relationships-and form new ones-with our trail towns.
Time for a Redo and Restart
I have many items to tick off my to-do list. I’ve written my own job description for the position. I’m stoked to take this on, because I think I will be doing much more travel around the state of Ohio visiting our current and future Trail Towns.
What information would you want to have, as a hiker/biker/tourist about local Ohio towns? Hit me up in the comments.
Adventuring-is that a verb?- in 2020. Here are some of the adventures I have planned out for 2020. I have small plans and big plans. Some are occurring on set dates, others are wide open to time frames.
Bike Route north of Steubenville
This is a 26 mile route. This would be good to ride to get out of my comfort zone and off the rail trail.
Erie to Pittsburgh Route
It’s not that far. I don’t think I would do it as a loop. If I did it as a loop, I would do something like this route and take different roads. That is some hilly country in western Pennsylvania. I have a friend interested in riding with me. More planning needs to happen for this route.
270 mile race in Virginia. The date changed from April 18 to May 2. I’m already signed up for the Outrun 24 Hour Race. Since I paid the registration fee for the footrace, I will probably be sticking to that event.
Outrun 24 Hour Race
This is a timed event, a one mile loop May 2. I plan on walking a 50K. I would like to complete 50 miles in 24 hours. I need to start walking more to train for this!
Wabash Cannonball Trail
I found out about this rail trail in my program planning for Buckeye Trailfest 2019. I’m planning on biking this in the spring in time for the bird migration. This is a 63 mile rail trail. The trail follows two former rail lines forming a North Fork and South Fork, which converge at Jerome Road in Maumee, near the Fallen Timbers Battlefield.
Biking the Buckeye Trail
50 percent of the Buckeye Trail is on roads. I mapped out the first 200 miles of the BT on the Ride with GPS app, from Lake Erie to Salt Fork State Park. This is looking extremely do-able. I could start at Lake Erie and bike home.
Allegheny Mountain Loop
This is the BHAG. I don’t know if I will be in good enough shape to bike it this year.
The Allegheny Mountains Loop is a 400-mile bicycle route created and mapped by the ACA. The route begins and ends at Virginia Tech’s War Memorial Chapel in Blacksburg, VA. A “Grand Depart” of Individual Time Trials is proposed each year on the last Friday in APRIL at 6:00am EST. The April date doesn’t work for me. I’m actually thinking of tackling this in sections, then go for the big enchilada at a future point.
These are just some of my plans. When you declare your goals out loud-or on a blog post-you are far more likely to go out and do them.
The Buckeye Trail crew successfully took more of the Buckeye Trail off road and back on trail-trail that they BUILT.
Trail Building is Hard Work
Other than some mechanized tools such as the Dr Mower and chain saw, trail building is done by hand.
Tools of Trail Building
There are several steps to trail building. The first step is the mapping out of the trail. There there is both art and science involved in trail building. (The first step is actually getting all the permissions to move/build trail from all the involved regulatory entities, but that’s a blog post all by itself.)
There is consideration of the slope, you don’t want to exceed a certain grade. You want to the trail to be fairly level, the hiker doesn’t want to walk on a cambered area. There might only be a limited area that the trail can be built.
Big Stuff Out
First you clear big trees, and logs. Yep, the volunteers dug that tree completely out of the trail.The area might need to be brush hogged. Loppers are used to cut away vines and brambles. A leaf blower may be used to blow large loose debris and leaves off the area to be worked.
McLeod or Fire Rake
The fire rake is to rake all the vegetation off the area. We want to get down to dirt! You can also turn the fire rake sideways and hack away roots with the rake.
Some areas of the trail may need to be benched. A bench cut is the result of cutting a section of tread, or shelf across the side of a slope.
Diagram from http://traildesign.tripod.com/benching.htm
If you look at the side profile of this cut it looks like a bench, hence the name. Every rock, stump and woody plant must be thoroughly dug out, and the ground leveled off, with just enough slope that water can drain off.
What is everyone doing? Digging out every root and rock in our way!!
Our new section of trail leaves the woods and goes thru the power line. In this section, we were removing the heavy vegetation to get down to the dirt. This was harder than benching! We quickly became aware of a certain plant that grew in clumps that would require several whacks with the Pulaski or mattock to get it out of the ground.
The finishers are the volunteers who follow the benchers and rakers to you guessed it “finish” the trail. They rake any big berms of loose soil off the trail so the water won’t pool on the trail. They might remove roots and rocks. There are many different opinions on what the “finisher” should do.
What Do You get for your Effort?
A few of the Sunday volunteers who stopped working long enough for a picture snap! Others were still working!
Besides tired legs and an aching back? The satisfaction of seeing trail that you created, you built! A sense of pride when you hike through the woods, knowing this trail would not have existed without your hard work.
Next time you are out hiking in the woods, pause and admire the trail that volunteers built!
I was lucky enough to have Sunday free to join Jerri and Karen on their hike on the Buckeye Trail in southern Ohio. This was on the “Whipple” Section. The Buckeye Trail is divided into sections, and it always feels good for a hiker to complete an entire map! (News flash: Karen and Jerri finished the Whipple Section on this hike!)
Circuit Hiking the Buckeye Trail
Karen and Jerri have less than 50 miles to go to complete circuit hiking the Buckeye Trail. What is circuit hiking? It’s another word for section hiking. Few hikers have the time to complete the entire 1440 mile Buckeye Trail in one effort-in fact, less than 20 hikers have done so.
How to Circuit Hike
One of the best ways is to find a friend who wants to hike with you! That way, you can stage a vehicle at each end. Shuttle one car to the end of your planned section, then drive back to the other. Sometimes there will be planned hikes. . The Buckeye Trail Association usually has some circuit hikes going on, you can check the website or on the Meet Up website. A group just finished up their circuit hike of Ohio, which took place on one weekend a month which took about five years! Sometimes you can get a shuttle from a “Trail Angel”, someone who may live in the area, and be willing to give you a ride to the trail head, eliminating the double car shuffle
Electronic Maps Available
It’s becoming easier to follow the BT these days! The Buckeye Trail maps are available on paper and electronic versions, two of them! We hiked with both. I was using the Avenza application, Jerri and Karen had the Guthook guide. (I actually didn’t take mine out of the backpack this day.) Between “following the blue blazes” and double checking with the Guthook app, we were easily able to follow the Trail.
Scenes From the Trail
A criticism I hear about the Buckeye Trail is: “There’s so much of it on roads.” Yes, about 50 percent of the current BT is on roads. But here are some views of the road hiking:
Have you hiked the roads of the Buckeye Trail? What’s your favorite section?
Highly recommend the stop! If the donut shop is closed (they are only open to 1pm) there is also a chocolate shop and a pizza/chicken restaurant right on the trail!
We leave Hartville, heading into the countryside. The skies are still cloudy, but there is not much wind. The road does not have much hiking friendly berm to it.
We found it easier in spots to just hop off the road and hike in the fields. The fields could be pretty soggy after the rains.
I always like seeing the animals on the hikes. The cows didn’t really get up to say hello. The pigs seemed to be pretty content in their pen.
The skies did clear up a bit and we got to see blue skies for the rest of our hike.
This was a nice sign to see on the Buckeye Trail.
The Buckeye Trail crosses Interstate 77. We had less than five miles to get to our stopping point.
This was another handsome barn seen on trail today.
We did it! We made it over to Nemisila Reservoir. Just one last turn, and we’ll be back at the vehicle. The hike clocked in a bit long at 17 miles.
We stopped at Point 7 on the Massillon Section.
It was very nice hiking with Jerri and Karen. When hiking this section, I would recommend doing it off summer if possible. It was pleasant hiking in the open spaces today in November. I think this could be pretty hot and miserable with full sun on the asphalt road.
I have never been a Black Friday shopping person. For the remainder of my Christmas shopping, it will be done on a week day early morning when people are not shopping yet.
I joined some friends up in the northern Ohio area for a “Burn your Buns” run. My friend and I walked. It was lovely outside, just a bit cold.
I stopped at a local bike shop to get some new front brake cables-not on sale, simply because I need to replace the brakes. The bike shop is located in a big mall area, and holy COW! I’ve never really been “out” on a Black Friday, I’m usually working.
Mall parking lots FULL. Strip mall parking lots FULL. Box store lots FULL. I guess I’m not reporting any original news here, just how astounded I was, that so many people went out to buy STUFF in search of an alleged sale.
I did buy stuff too! Stuff to make my bicycle safe, so I can go places and buy memories!
National Take a Hike Day was Saturday, November 18. Did you get out for a hike?
I ticked over some Buckeye Trail miles with Cheryl, We hiked the Bowerston section 8 through 13. This covers my Leesville Lake South section of trail I have adopted, so I can also count this as a trail maintenance hike. My section of trail is looking really good!
As many parts of the Buckeye Trail, we hiked on trail and off trail.
This was the site of the New Hagerston Academy.
The lower old barn picture is from October, when I first attempt to walk from Points 9 to 13. It’s a good story to tell you on the trail sometime!
Off Trail means road miles. Our last section of road, there were no cars on it. Is it terrible to walk on a road like this?
The Buckeye Trail goes through this tunnel, under the railroad tracks.
Then around the back of the Nolan’s building.
Every day should be “Take a Hike Day”!
Did you get out for a hike on National Take a Hike Day?