Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beaver Creek State Park

Today Brian told me about Beaver Creek, a state park he found online located in East Liverpool in Columbiana County. We decided to go explore the park since the map showed multiple trails throughout the park.

On our way there, the small towns seemed very creepy and run-down. To get to the park office, you have to drive on this small two-lane road which has steep drop-offs with no guard rails. The road is very uneven with bumps and some loose asphalt and gravel.

We were both surprised how pretty this park was when we got down to the creek and parked. A steel bridge crosses the creek and on the other side is the park office, Gaston's Mill (which looks alot like Mill Creek's), an old wooden covered bridge on display, a few nature center houses and multiple historical displays. The area is meant to resemble a pioneer village.

Beaver Creek contains part of the North Country Trail which is a premier footpath that stretches for about 4,600 miles linking communities, forests, and prairies across seven northern states including NY, PA, OH, MI, WI, MN, and ND. The NCT has been developed by the Buckeye Trail association and runs portions of it on the Buckeye Trail. The area we ran on travels 6.25 miles along the Little Beaver Creek. The goal is to have the trail entirely off roads, but this will be a long time coming due to highly populated areas and private property. To read more about the NCT in Ohio click here.

We decided to try out the Vondergreen Trail which runs along Little Beaver Creek. There is a lower and upper trail; we took the upper trail of course! This made its way up a huge ridge on the north side of the creek. The view was amazing when we reached the top!

Along the way, there were markers that talked about the abandoned canal locks (like the Cuyahoga Valley). The trail was in pretty good condition. There was a good mix of rocks, mud and hills. The technical parts never lasted too long and the hills seem to go by quick. I was surprised at how fast we gained elevation at multiple times during the run. We made it to Hambleton's Mill and then tried the Fisherman's Trail. However, this was pretty muddy since it looked like it was more of a bridle trail.

A couple surprises during the run included a dead dear carcass on the trail with hair spread everywhere. This startled Brian when he looked up and saw it. I thought he had just seen a ghost. On the way back, I got just as startled by it since my head was down focused on the immediate trail ahead of me. Also, one of the locks we came across was named Gretchen's Lock. The park marker read:

Gretchen, for whom the lock is named, went to her death with fever and hallucinations. It is said her spirit still wanders these hills crying, "I want to be with my mother."

This brought back great memories of our adventure at West Branch with the witch.

The way back to the car seemed alot faster since I think we did more uphill going out. We got back to the car with 7 miles and called it a day. I had a great time! I love exploring new areas and can't wait to go back to check out the other trails. I forgot my camera today, but Brian had his and took a bunch.

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