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 quick ride on the V-Strom

We have had an incredible warm up. The temps reached 65+ and I have been lusting for a motorcycle ride. So, I aired up the tires, checked the chain, and fired up the V-Strom for a ride around the block. Okay, it was a long block, but much needed.

MC Ride 02-24-2021-2

And of course, I found a church for a photo in Goshen.

See you on the highway.

Brent

New Burlington Cemetery

New-Burlington-Cemetery_06-02-2020-3

I have traveled down New Burlington Road many times while out for a leisurely ride on the motorcycle, and have passed this cemetery without much notice. But, the other day, I noticed and turned in to the New Burlington Cemetery, wondering what I might find on the hillside. Curiosity was my guide.

It appears that the cemetery began as the Jenkins family plot circa 1806. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 opened up the Northwest Territories and pioneers began settling the land now known as Ohio. Many old cemeteries began as family plots.

I pulled to the middle of the cemetery, noticing more recent burial plots and modern headstones. But there in the middle was an unexpected memorial. It was a tribute to the men and women of the armed forces who are buried there. The names on the list was extensive. Both sides of the memorial gave honor to those who served. Army. Navy. Air Force. Marines. I noticed that the U.S. Coast Guard was omitted, perhaps an innocent omission.

New-Burlington-Cemetery_06-02-2020-1

A cemetery that began in 1806 must certainly have an older section, and I found it at the very back in the corner of this peaceful piece of land.

New-Burlington-Cemetery_06-02-2020-2

I walked amongst the headstones looking at the records of birth and death. I also noticed the recognition of military service with the placement of small American Flags. Such is the final resting place of so many, and buried with them their family history.

I wandered back to my motorcycle, and rolled out of the cemetery pausing to take another picture of my curious adventure into history.

IMG_20200602_152247945

Be well. Travel safe. See you on the highway.

Brent

Hiking at the Caesar Creek Nature Preserve

Sometimes, I just have to combine two of my favorite pastimes—motorcycling and hiking. And so I found myself on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, motorcycling one my favorite roads to a favorite hiking spot, Caesar Creek Nature Preserve.

G10--11

I entered the trail and wound my way along the creek, observing how high the water is and how fast it was running. Clearly, the Army Corps of Engineers has increased the output at the dam, just a couple of miles up creek.

G10--5

There was only one other car in the parking lot, it’s occupants nowhere to be seen. It’s like I had all the trails to myself. How serene!

G10--8

See you on the highway.

Brent