The eastern shore of Furnace Run creek looked a lot easier to run from the opposite side. Venturing through the brush and dodging slender trees as if they were shovel handles sprung up like those in a Three Stooges skit, the craggy rocks and sand bar in the riverbed offered an easier path.
When the water blocked the path, a fallen tree provided a ridge to clamber up the bank. There, a clearing provided a route to cut off the corner of the creek bend. Reaching the water's edge again, an old trail started to emerge from the underbrush.
The path became more distinct as the Everett Road covered bridge approached. Perhaps fishermen still used the trail to find better waters to cast their lines.
Returning back to the parking area, my legs started to itch and I realized that I'll need to learn what poison ivy and poison oak and poison sumac and poison whatever else look like if I'm going to bushwhack again.
The idea first hit me as I was running the connector trail from the covered bridge parking area to the Riding Run trail in the Everett Village. This area was bought out by the government and mostly abandoned during the 1970s and '80s, when the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was created, and is sometimes associated with some of the stories about "Hell Town." The covered bridge is haunted, obviously.
As I was running up the long, initial incline of the Riding Run trail, I encountered some broken up asphalt. Considering the history of the area, I wondered if the trail was once a road or a residential driveway. Sure enough, farther up the hill, I came across the stone foundation of a house that once stood there. Clearings in the otherwise wooded area portended the remains of someone's backyard.
The first half of the trail, while mostly a steep hill, didn't offer much else in the way of intrigue. And so I started to wonder if there were any other interesting landmarks off the beaten path.
I came upon a ridge, and I wondered, what if I just ran down there? I had my phone. I knew where I was, and was familiar with the two roads bordering the the northern and southern boundaries of the area. I had come from the east. Just as long as I don't go too far west, I'd be fine.
Ultimately, I decided against bushwhacking, as a three-mile run could easily become a 10-mile run if I got a little lost or had to backtrack. But when I got back to that connector trail at the beginning of the run, I decided to explore my curiosity on the far shore of the creek.
Have any of you trail runners tried bushwhacking?
No Back Talk today. This post is already long enough.
Happy Hour is nearly upon us, teammates! Have a finely brewed weekend. Run well and drink well. Cheers!