For those who know me know that I preach to explore that places you live. It is incredibly easy to find something special with any location whether it be a rural town or a big city. With the lifestyle I have adopted over the last couple of years I have made it a point to explore my temporary home as much as possible. The weird thing is, however, I never did that with my hometown. I always took Ohio for granted when I was growing up. I always assumed in order to go on fun hikes or beautiful places outdoors you had to go out west or south. However, in recent years I am figuring out how great my home state is. Not only do we have the best baseball team in the world and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame we also have some lowkey pretty amazing parks! I have been making it my mission to explore as many as them as possible when I’m at home for however long I’m here. My most recent hike has been at Whipps Ledges in Hinckley, Ohio which happens to be only 30 minutes away from home! This area is one that seems to be a really sacred spot. This ancient spot features some crazy caverns, climbing spots for all levels, and trails that will keep you occupied all day.
I know the area a little well and am familiar with the trail, but my friends who I hike with and myself always seem to get a little turned around. The trail blazes can at times be a bit misleading and it is super easy to get distracted with all of the things calling to be climbed. My last trip to the ledges was a solo trip. I wanted to get out by myself, immerse myself in nature, and just breathe for a minute. So I packed up my backpack with a couple of books and a notebook and hit the trail. Knowing myself a little too well I opted not to take off on the full trail. I knew I would probably get lost so I allotted myself a couple of hours and explore a bit of the trail and the caverns all while leaving a semi “bread trail” to find my way back. I spent my time enjoying complete silence. I perched myself on the top of one of the formations overlooking a section where the trees touched the sky and felt completely at peace. In that moment I felt so thankful to call myself an Ohioan. My few moments in the wilderness reminded me how it is important to listen to your body and get away from the stuffiness of buildings.
The ledges are an amazing way to spend the afternoon. When considering parks in Ohio it is easy to get distracted by Cuyahoga Valley National Park (which is wonderful) or Wayne National Forest in southern Ohio. I encourage you to take a chance on the ledges. You will find yourself looking up at rock formations that seem completely random and out of place in what is normally a suburban area. It is a place that you can easily lose yourself for an afternoon. The cliffs are screaming to be climbed and the trails to be explored. Whether you are a nature nut or looking to get away from the city for a minute you can find happiness within this park.