Rocky and I have been working on a hiking challenge over the last several months. It is called the Every Trail MetroPark Challenge sponsored by the Five Rivers MetroPark system. The goal of the challenge is to hike every trail in the 19 Metroparks in the Dayton, Ohio area. The challenge involves a little over 116 miles and the thru-hiker has one calendar year to complete the task. Rocky and I finished our last trail just this past Sunday, but I am getting ahead of myself. Last time I posted we still had four parks to complete, so let me back up and share some details of our adventure, beginning with Taylorsville MetroPark.
Our plan for Taylorsville was a two-day experience. Instead of trying to hike 14 miles in one day, we decided to walk the 6.8-miles of blazed trails on Saturday, March 10th and leave 7 miles of estimated unmarked trails for another time. We started our hike on the far side of Taylorsville Dam by hiking the yellow (1.2 miles), orange (3.2 miles) and green (0.4 miles) loops. The weather was below freezing when we started which maintained a firm path despite the moisture on the trail. The beautiful hike took us through stark but lovely forest and down along the Great Miami River. The moderate elevation change made the journey fun with some ups and downs to navigate. Our legs and lungs got a little work-out which really felt good after being somewhat cooped up over the last few winter weeks. I failed to read the maps very well on this outing and we found ourselves missing key turns twice during the hike, adding some mileage to our walk as we backtracked to get on course.
Once getting back to the parking lot, we drove to another part of the park east of the dam to complete the violet (0.8-miles), the blue (0.9-mile), and the white (0.3-mile) loops. The loops on the map looked so easy and they shared so much of the same terrain that it looked like a very simple excursion. However, we found the trails very confusing. The path had several maps along the way, but they were all the same and only one indicated where we were on the map. We hiked as best we could around the trails spending close to two hours trying to figure it out. We went around in circles, through parking lots and along roads looking for clarity. I estimated that we trekked about 5 miles but it might not have been the exact 2-miles outlined on the map. This is one area that really needs some blazing and better signage to help the hiker understand the trails.
Despite the frustration of walking without the confidence of destination, Rocky and I enjoyed the beautiful day and the beginning sights of spring. Little did we know that snow was on the way and that March would both come in and go out like a lion.
Next Post: Day Two at Taylorsville