Rediscovering Your Own Backyard

Some people travel the world to learn or experience new cultures. Some travel to find themselves. Some never leave home. But like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz said, “There’s no place like home.”

There is nothing wrong with expanding one’s horizons. It is good for the soul and personal growth, but what about exploring one’s own backyard? For me, it started with a presentation at a fly fishing club dinner meeting with a topic that renewed my interest of “rediscovering” the Little Miami River near my home.

Hall Creek Access 9-26-2022-2

The Little Miami Wild & Scenic River “has the distinction of being the first river in Ohio to be included in the National Wild & Scenic River System (1974), and the first to be added to the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program (1969).” Little Miami Conservancy.

IMG_20221021_150505421 (2)

Alongside the river is the Little Miami Scenic Trail, a Rails-to-Trail route that is 78 miles long and connects with other recreational trails.

IMG_20221001_152949858

I am sure that I am not alone in overlooking what is in my own backyard. We dream of places far away. Adventures into the unknown. Testing our limits. And yet, here is this incredible, river in my own backyard, and I want to know more about it. To enjoy its stream and the communities that it flows through. This is not a tall order, for it is truly in my backyard, just a hike down a hillside path through a nature preserve, or a quick drive down the road.

MC Ride 04-19-2021-2

One of my favorite motorcycling roads follows the river, and I am always on the lookout for river access to wet a line with one of my fly rods. This year, I am going to spend more time fishing the river, and visiting the communities along its banks. Places like Clifton, Ohio, where the river passes through a spectacular gorge, and one can visit the Historic Clifton Mill for a meal and to step back in time.  And then there is Yellow Springs, Xenia, Loveland and Milford, and others all ripe for exploration.

Clifton Mill 9-11-2021-3

Maybe, just maybe, I will finally use one of the river canoe and kayak companies to canoe down the river. To see the wildlife and the river from a different perspective.

MC Ride 05-13-2021

An incredible site to behold, even from the convenience of your home, is the Little Miami Conservancy Eagle Nest Cam. It is mesmerizing to see a pair of eagles build the nest, lay an egg or two and watch the chicks grow into maturity and then leave the nest after testing their wings. January is when it all begins.

Eagle Nest 01-16-2023

This nest can be seen from the road along the river where I wander. It’s huge and most visible when the trees are barren of their leaves, but you have to know where to look.

Even though I have lived near this river for nearly 16 years, there is so much more I want to learn and experience. It’s going to be a rediscovery of my own backyard.

MC Ride 04-19-2021-4

Halls Creek Access 8-31-2022-5

What’s in your backyard?

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Walk on the Little Miami Rec Trail

Spring has arrived. At least the weather finally says so.

Trees are budding out. Wild flowers are popping up. Trillium is nearly ready to bloom, and it’s all along the Little Miami Scenic River and its partner, the Little Miami Recreational Trail.

LMRT_4-15-2017-1

LMRT_4-15-2017-2

LMRT_4-15-2017-3

LMRT_4-15-2017-4

LMRT_4-15-2017-5

See you on the highway.

Brent

41.0

41

41.0

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?

Brent

Little Miami Conservancy: Little Miami National Wild and Scenic River
Friends of the Little Miami State Park: Trail Maps

Rails to Trails through the countryside

LMRT-15Apr2012--1

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.

Brent

Photo: Little Miami Recreational Trail, Morrow, Ohio. The LMRT is 75 miles long connecting multiple small and larger cities—all paved.

The Hiking Trail

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.

Brent