Hitting The Trail

Abandoned rail signal on Little Miami TrailThis weekend, I start riding the Little Miami Trail, a different section each weekend. I began this ritual in 2007 when I would walk part of the trail. Took a lot longer since I could only walk so far, so I had to walk shorter sections. One afternoon, after walking into Loveland took longer than in previous years, I realized I’d be gone until evening if I walked back. There was a bike rental place in Loveland along the trail (which is one of that town’s biggest attractions), so rented a bike, through it in the back of our Santa Fe, and drove it back.

The trail is kind of a mental reset for me. I start in Newport, Kentucky, across the river from downtown Cincinnati. This is actually part of the Ohio River Trail, which has come together rather quickly. The completed section extends from the Levee, an entertainment and dining complex right on the Ohio River, to Lunken Airfield. In recent years, Lunken’s five-mile hiking loop has been extended to a park on the far side of the Beechmont Levee and also into a nature preserve across the Little Miami River.

There is a gap between Lunken and trail itself. I’ve improvised a route along the highway that runs between the trailhead and the airport. From there, the trail is 76 miles from suburban Cincinnati all the way to Yellow Springs, near Dayton.

The old Jeremiah Morrow BridgeIt’s been a year of change for the trail. One section is detoured in rural Warren County due to flood erosion. One of the trail’s most spectacular attractions, the 300+-foot Jeremiah Morrow Bridge, is being replaced with a new concrete bridge. One span is finished, and the trail was closed between Morrow and the tiny hamlet of Oregonia when the original northbound span was demolished. On a more upbeat note, Hamilton County has begun to extend the trail from the Newtown end to connect with another trail in nearby Anderson Township. Unfortunately, the date of construction on a section that would connect the existing trail to Lunken Airfield and the Ohio River remains “someday.”

I like being out on the trail. At one point, I would load up the iPod and ride all day. Last year, I was happy just to ride without sound. Normally, I start my ride on Easter Sunday. This year, the weather did not cooperate.It was not warm or dry enough until well into May. So naturally, I waited until this weekend, when temperatures are predicted to top 90 degrees and scattered thunderstorms are forecast. Hey, life is nothing without an adventure. My goal this year is to get all the way to Yellow Springs. However, in two years, I plan to start in Yellow Springs early in the morning and ride all the way to Newport, all 76 miles, part of a birthday week celebration I hope will include the Flying Pig Marathon.

With maybe a stop at the haunted factory near King’s Island.

Peters Cartridge Factory