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  • Writer's picturePete Stoller

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Day 1

This marks the beginning of my work-from-home travel! As my work can be done remote for at least the next 6 weeks, I decided there isn't much use staying in my apartment, doing nothing, and slowly losing my mind. After all, remote work can be just as easily done from a hotel room or coffee shop. Unlike my normal travel, I don't really have a plan for this trip. I'm just gonna wing it and reserve hotels last minute. The end goal is to eventually make it to Florida, but I'm going to take my time in getting there.

I spent the morning packing up the car with everything I will need for the next few months. From clothes, toiletries, and other necessities, to scuba gear, camera equipment, and an inflatable kayak! Goal: be ready for any adventure that comes my way.

It was about a three-hour drive from Troy to Cleveland, but I made plenty of stops along the way. I quite enjoy bourbon and I received a tip that Ohio gets a lot of Weller, a rare bottle of bourbon. Before I left I did some research on the Ohio state liquor website and found 5 stores that I thought had potential to have the rare bourbon in stock. I got lucky at every stop and sit happily with five bottles of Weller Special Reserve!

I arrived at Cuyahoga Valley National Park at about 5pm and set out on the first trail I could find. First impressions weren't the best. My first thought was that I definitely have to come back in summer and fall. After a short hike through muddy grasslands, I figured I wasn't on a very good trail and drove in the direction of the visitors center where I was hoping better trails would be.

After a short drive, I found another trailhead with many more cars and many more hikers. This was a much more scenic hike! There were actually a couple evergreens, which was a nice change of scenery from all the sad leaf-less trees (see first picture).

I must add, there is no better feeling in the world than a good hike after a long (ish) drive! Getting out and stretching my legs after sitting for the first half of the day was wonderful! After hiking across the river I walked a while on a trail the climbed the edge of the valley. Once at the top of the ridge, it had nice views of the river below.

The good news is I spent some time at the hotel researching the best trails, so tomorrow hopefully I will be able to post better pictures of more than just sunsets over dead trees. Nonetheless, sunsets over dead trees are still beautiful!

My favorite thing about visiting national parks has to be the diversity of wildlife. From the second I entered Cuyahoga Valley, I encountered the same intense nature I have become familiar with my other national park visits. You can hear more birds than normal and even little things like the number of squirrels you see running around increases. As I just got a nice new camera I took the opportunity to take pictures of some of the wildlife around me. Needless to say I need a little (lot) more practice with focusing the image and I certainly don't have the steadiest of hands, but here are some of the least-blurry, most-centered pictures I took!

Pictured: a squirrel judging me for not being able to focus the camera

Best squirrel pic so far! If you look closely it is holding a little berry and I think that's adorable!

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