Clancy and I got back to our Travels project last weekend by making a trip to the Sharon Woods Gorge in Sharonville, Ohio. The Sharon Woods park is north of Cincinnati, and is one of the largest parks in the Hamilton County, Ohio park system.
I'd never heard of this Gorge, which seems crazy since it is only about 40 minutes away from where I live. But that is part of the fun of this project, as I've already discovered several nearby places that I was not at all familiar with prior to starting my Travels with Clancy.
As we seem to have skipped spring and jumped right into the dog days of summer, Clancy and I got up early Sunday morning so we could walk the Gorge before the intense midday heat. Due to his thick black coat, the afternoon sun is not Clancy's friend.
We got to the park and, after asking directions from the man at the gate, parked in the shade near the start of the Gorge Trail.
The trail is .7 miles long each way, so it's an easy 1 1/2 mile walk to complete. It starts in the Buckeye Falls area of the park.
Clancy and I started down the trail, and quickly came to another waterfall.
This area of the trail is simply beautiful, and there is a nice overlook with a bench where walkers can sit and enjoy the falls. It's quite peaceful to sit on the bench and listen to the sounds of the rushing water, and the morning songs of nearby birds.
Clancy wasn't interested in sitting for very long, but he did agree to have his picture taken at the overlook.
As you can see from the picture, the drop is steep. Since Clancy and I are both as clumsy as you can get, we had to be extremely careful near the edge.
Not far from the falls, we came upon this "Blueprints of the Past" sign. The sign informed us that the Gorge used to be covered by the Ordovician Sea, which was a tropical body of water.
Apparently, the Ordovician time period was more than 4 million years ago, and is considered part of the Paleozoic Era. It is named for a Celtic tribe called the Ordovices. According to the sign, the Gorge is filled with fossils from this era, and I would imagine it is a great place for geology students to visit.
The trail continues along the limestone creek bed, and I was struck by how lush and green everything was.
While it was a very bright and sunny morning, the trees were so dense that they functioned as a canopy, only allowing peeks of sun to get through. As a result, the trail was quite cool regardless of the day's temperature.
We kept walking, and eventually came to a quaint wooden bridge.
After crossing the bridge, the trail makes a fairly steep ascent, and the cliffs reach a peak of about 90 feet.
Once again, my partner in clumsiness and I needed to be very careful.
I was surprised to come upon yet another waterfall, probably the tallest of the three.
Not long past the final waterfall, the trail ends at Kreis Dam and Sharon Woods Lake.
There is a paved trail that circles the lake, but the sun was a bit much for Clancy by this time, so we returned to the shade and headed back the way we came.
The Sharon Gorge is an absolutely beautiful trail, and feels like stepping into a forest in the middle of the city. I intend to return to the Gorge in the fall, as I have no doubt that the foliage will be stunning.
As we left Sharon Woods, we passed a few mastodons near a "Mastodon Crossing" sign, a cute nod to the geologic history of the area. Fortunately, we didn't have to stop for any mastodons crossing the road.
Clancy and I had a fantastic morning at the Gorge, and enjoyed meeting other dogs and walkers along the trail. It's safe to say that our second Travels project was a success, and we're looking forward to trip #3 this weekend.
We hope you'll continue to follow us on our adventures!