For 180 years the foundation of this path has provided a conveyance. Little Miami Railroad until 1981, then rails turned into trails.
Today, bicycles, hikers and a horse or two follow the same path as Abraham Lincoln on his route to inauguration and Confederate General John Hunt Morgan escaping prison.
Two sets of mile markers measure distance. Little Miami River distance markers are measured from the mouth of the Ohio River. Bike Trail markers are measured from Xenia Station to Cincinnati.
Hikers, bikers and walkers with their pets, enjoying the trail or kayaking on the river, are they thinking about the history of this scenic place? Are they thinking of all those who came before to create it?
There was a time when people feared the conversion of abandoned railroad beds into bicycle and walking paths. The fear was that crime would increase. Adjoining properties would be impacted by lower property values. How wrong were those naysayers.
Photo: Little Miami Recreational Trail, Morrow, Ohio. The LMRT is 75 miles long connecting multiple small and larger cities—all paved.
Just north of the hamlet of Oregonia, Ohio, along the Little Miami River, there is a nature preserve and a parking lot that accommodates maybe a dozen vehicles. The entrance to Little Miami Caesar Creek State Nature Area is on Corwin Road, and also sits next to Caesar Creek, fed by the Corps of Engineers reservoir project, Caesar Creek Lake.
At the other end of the parking area is a groomed path that follows the creek, winding eastward back up through the gorge to the tail water area of the dam, and another park area with access from the state park. It is a wonderful hike through hardwood forest along a pristine creek, deep enough for good sized fish. Peek over the bank at the right spot and you will see the fish swimming about in the water, waiting for food to wash down the creek into their waiting jaws.
The hike to the dam seems to take forever, even though it’s probably less than a mile. Maybe it’s the wonderment of nature and the stopping to smell the flowers that makes it seem like a farther distance and a longer hike, but I don’t mind.
The rains came frequently last year, producing a record year of precipitation nearly twice the annual average.
Flood warnings and watches were the norm every time a storm rolled up the Ohio River Valley flashing lightning and pouring rain into the watersheds.
Water ran off the fields into the streams and creeks and eventually made its way to the tributaries and rivers which themselves empty into the mighty Ohio.
As the rivers rise and fall, the precious banks that define a river, come under forces that only nature can deliver—real hydro power to cut and dig.
Earlier this winter, while crossing our local bridge over the Little Miami River, I looked up river as I usually do and saw the most massive tree laying on its side, stretching out nearly to the middle of the river.
The flood waters took its toll and undercut the tree from its foundation. Where once it held the river bank in check, it is now an obstacle for canoeists and kayakers, and shelter for the fish.