I resumed my section-hike of the NCT today by returning to Ohio and hiking from Valley View Foundation to the Spillway Trailhead. It’s so good to be back on the trail!
I was aided today by Diane West, who is in charge of this portion of the Buckeye Trail. What an amazing trail angel! In addition to shuttling me, she gave me some BT stickers, a blaze-orange vest for the road walks and is even going to pick up a backpack rain cover for me because I forgot mine at home.
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Heading for Spillway Trailhead
For some reason I assumed the trail would be flat, as it has been since I entered Ohio last year. I neglected to check the elevation charts. Oof! There were some pretty steep climbs today. But that was fine. I enjoyed perfect hiking weather, with temps that started out in the low 40s F. (4.4 C.) and ended in the mid-70s F. (24 C.).
The first few miles were along Round Bottom Road, where Diane pointed out the almost nonexistent shoulders and wealth of trucks roaring past. That’s why she gave me the orange vest. The traffic was steady, although not constant. When vehicles came by and I had almost no room, I flattened myself against the guard rails. It wasn’t too bad. The BTA is looking into moving the route onto private property if they can get the landowner to agree.
Beyond Round Bottom
Once off Round Bottom, the path is still mainly roads, albeit much quieter ones. I passed an interesting spot where someone put bicycles on a fence. I also passed one of those Bigfoot cut-outs. Ohio is ranked something like #2 or #3 in the nation for Bigfoot sightings. Interesting!
I enjoyed one off-road, downhill section after passing behind some large homes. Not too long after that, I ran into another BT hiker. I think we’re some of the first ones out here this year.
With just a few miles to go, the trail went off-road again, and I somehow lost it. I ended up on a mowed field with concrete drainage chutes for rain, then bushwhacked back to the trail, which involved a TON of uphill climbing.
Day Is Done
After that, I got one of my first glimpses of the East Lake area. I’ll be camping the next few nights in East Lake State Park. It’s a clean and neat campground, and I’m using my new Big Agnes tent for the first time. Thrilling! It’s pricey, but worth every penny.
Oh, I also tried my first homemade dehydrated meal – chili. It turned out GREAT. So glad my kids gave me an Excalibur dehydrator for Christmas two years ago.
Last remark. The BT app says my hike should have been 16.2 miles today (26.1 km). While I did go off-trail a bit, it couldn’t have been more than a half-mile (1 km), if that. Yet my Garmin said I went
NCT Miles Today: 16.2 (26.1 km)
Ohio NCT miles to date: 281.7 (477 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 2,235.2 (3,597.2 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,364.8 (3,805.8 km)
Last night I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Cincinatti-Northeast Milford. Like most in this chain, it was clean, comfy and great!