Roads Rivers and Trails

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Tag Archives: Guide to the Outdoors


Outdoor Adventure Clubs

The Green Umbrella, The Ohio River Way, and Paddlefest

In 2011, RRT became corporate sponsors and donors for the Ohio River Way. At the time, the Ohio River Way was also the organizing group behind the Ohio River Paddlefest. Paddlefest is the premier paddling event in the Midwest and sees over 2,000 people paddle their way down the Ohio River. RRT remains a partner and financial sponsor for Paddlefest still today. The Ohio River Way was also the leadership behind the Tri-State Guide to the Outdoors, a yearly free publication that highlights the areas outdoor recreation.

Later, the Ohio River Way would be operated as part of the Green Umbrella, a not-for-profit that aims at making Cincinnati one of the 10 most sustainable metro areas by 2020. RRT continued their financial support for the Green Umbrella and their sponsorship of Paddlefest. In 2014 and 2015, RRT donated their efforts to help make the Guide to the Outdoors publication possible. RRT owner Emily became one of the largest content contributors and organizers for the magazine and would see it reach new heights. The Green Umbrella would also host the Great Outdoor Weekend across the tri-state providing over a 100 free opportunities to get outside and experience something new, look for this years details here. Since 2012, RRT has sponsored the event and often hosted a free event for participants.

Meanwhile another organization was getting started: the Outdoor Adventure Clubs were formed in 2013 with RRT being one of their very first cooperating partners. The OAC is directed at getting more underserved students into nature by providing free school-based outdoor recreation, education, and conservation opportunities for urban teens. RRT immediately started working with the group, showing up to schools to promote the new club and travelling to different schools to present to club members and get them excited and prepared for outdoor events. RRT has also helped to lead local hiking trips for the inner city youth in the club. Starting in 2017 we’ve began co-sponsoring WVXU radio spots with OAC to raise awareness and fundraising efforts.

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Working with Columbia we were able to secure a grant for the OAC in early 2017 totaling $5,000 of equipment and financing. In April of 2017 we hosted our first annual Fashion Show Fundraising event with Fifty West Brewery to benefit the OAC and raised almost $1,500 and our efforts were doubled in 2018 to raise $3,000!  Today, we continue to be financial sponsors, but also help with gear donations for the club’s events. If you have old outdoor equipment or clothing, please consider donating it to the club through RRT. Any donation is rewarded with a 10% discount on any same day purchases. Look for RRT to join with the OAC through out the year for some significant raffle donations as well; Support the OAC and test your luck with a different outdoor package every month including RRT packages worth hundreds of dollars!

The OAC also adopted Paddlefest for 2016 and looks to expand their outreach and programs. The OAC continues to improve the lives and outlook for hundreds of area youth. Please consider supporting their efforts anyway you can. For more information visit them at the link below.

Outdoor Adventure Clubs

Read “The Ohio River Way Paddlefest” Blog

Back to Community Involvement Page

Reconnecting Children with Nature

In today’s technologically driven world, children are spending more and more of their time in front of screens and less time in nature. Children’s pastimes are spent more with video games, TV, laptops, iPads, iPhones, etc. This means less time kicking the ball, running around, climbing trees, and less time spent in what many consider a quintessential childhood experience.

“We’ve gradually allowed exploratory experiences outdoors to be traded for indoor, largely sedentary experiences that depend on learning tools imagined and manufactured by humans.” Evan McGown, author of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature.

The term Nature Deficit Disorder, coined by Richard Louv (author of The Last Child in the Woods), describes the physical and mental consequences of a lack of exposure to nature, particularly in developing children. These consequences include obesity, anxiety, depression, ADD, and ADHD, among other mental and physical disorders. Exposure to and the understanding of nature is vital to a child’s developing mind. Nature is a source of primary learning, and there are many skills and character building attributes that one acquires through exposure to the outdoors.

Children learn both self-reliance and teamwork, stillness and a sense of adventure, self-awareness and compassion from unstructured play in nature. It bolsters their imagination, confidence, resourcefulness, sense of scale, mental and physical strength, and respect for the world around them.

These are not skills that children typically learn hunched over on a couch, staring into a screen. Yet it is these attributes that create well-rounded, happy people.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “Play, especially free play, is essential to development, as it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth.” Yet free play hardly exists in a child’s day to day life. Nature is the best place to allow a child to play freely, and unstructured in a way that inspires their imagination and growth.

But what if you’re unmotivated, scared or just unaware of being outside? This is the reality for many children nowadays. Going outside can be foreign, uncomfortable, and scary. It’s not air conditioned and there are too many bugs. They need strong role models to push them to turn off the screen and go outside. It is best to expose children to the great outdoors early and often. But if it’s too late for you to do this, then consider other options. First, be excited yourself. Plan family trips. Go for walks. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose backpacking expedition; any outside time is valuable. Let your kids bring their friends, so that they can run off with them and have fun.

Encourage them to explore and to have unstructured play. Try to relax and let them explore and be rambunctious.

Consider changing your blogphoto2routines. Could you do what you’re already doing outside? Homework, dinner, reading, relaxation: all of these things can be done comfortably outside in decent weather. Start small. Incorporating nature into your daily life requires a fundamental switch in how you prioritize your time.

“You should sit outside for 20 minutes a day… unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.” – Zen Proverb

Many children, and their parents, teachers, family members and other adult figures, no longer know how to delegate and spend time in nature. It is essential to prioritize time outside every day. It’s as if it is wired in our brains that we do not have time for nature in our routines. In reality, you probably have more time than you think. If you have time to watch Netflix for an hour, then you have time to go for a walk through the local woods. You don’t have to sign your child up for a wilderness summer camp or Scouts if you’re not ready for these commitments. There are plenty of local, more convenient options.

 There is no shortage of activities to do and places to go outside. There are many programs, activities, places and things to do with your children outside in Cincinnati, as well as within a several hour radius of the area. Southwest Ohio is rich in parks and green spaces, as well as miles upon miles of rivers and lakes to explore. Go somewhere new, find places you love to return to over and over again.

Places to Go:

The Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford is a great place to start. 1,025 acres of Eastern deciduous forests with fields, streams and ponds in Rowe woods is an excellent place to hike and spend the day with family. They also have events, a playscape, and a Nature Preschool. The CNC Nature Preschool is for children ages 3-5 years old, where “direct experience in nature is the foundation for our curriculum that is based on Early Learning Content Standards and developmentally appropriate practices.” For more information and rates, visit cincynature.org.

There are many great parks around Cincinnati as well, and to find an unexplored park near you, visit cincinnatiparks.com.

The Little Miami River is a great, calm river to explore with children. There are many liveries in the area which rent out canoes and kayaks as well as providing shuttle services. Check out Mariemont Livery, Loveland Canoe and Kayak, Scenic River Canoe, Morgan’s Canoe or many others for information and rates.

For longer trips, check out Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio, Red River Gorge in Kentucky, Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee/North Carolina, sections of the Appalachian Trail, and countless other options just a short drive away. If you ever need help with trip dreaming and planning, visit the shop and any of us would be more than willing to help you out.

Book Recommendations: 

For more information on local trails, check out the book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Cincinnati, by Tamara York, which we always have in stock in the shop.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv is the inspiration for this blog and is a great book for understanding the fundamentals and importance of nature to a child’s development.

Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown is an excellent resource which features specific nature activities and games to inspire connection with nature through free play and sense-oriented activities. Richard Louv said, “this is good medicine for nature-deficit disorder. Coyote’s Guide should become an essential resource for anyone who wants to revive their sense of kinship with nature but needs some help.”

The Best Tent Camping in Ohio by Robert Loewndick and The Best Tent Camping in Kentucky by Johhny Molloy have many good examples of good tent camping for the whole family.

Resource Guides:

There are several comprehensive outdoor guides for the Cincinnati Area. Check out Green Umbrella, a National Sustainability Alliance that seeks to organize events in one comprehensive place.   They promote many outdoor events that are fun for the whole family. For more information, visit greenumbrella.org.

Meet Me Outdoors is a place to find year-round outdoor recreation and nature activities in the tri-state area. They publish an annual magazine which features local activities including places to hike, fish, swim, paddle and backpack. We also always have this in stock (it’s free) at the shop! Meetmeoutdoors.com.

Ohio Leave No Child Inside, ohiolnci.org, is a movement dedicated to getting children outdoors every day.

For a list of local day camps for children, visit cincinnatifamilymagazine.com/family-fun/summer-camp-2015-preview for a list of summer camp opportunities created this year by Sherry Hang.

Resource Link List:

Childrenandnature.org

Cincinnatiparks.com

Cincynature.org

Greenumbrella.org

Meetmeoutdoors.com

Ohiolnci.org

These resources are just the start. They are meant more to inspire and help start you upon a connection with nature and outdoor play. There are many more opportunities left unlisted, places to explore and things to do out there. It’s time to turn off the screens, step outside and explore!

“We don’t intend to simply provide more ‘recipes’ for nature connection – instead we want to help you learn how to cook.” – Evan McGown, from Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature.

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Eli “Shinbone” Staggs as a youngin’ with his father.

The Ohio River Way Paddlefest

Let’s Paddle
The Largest Paddling Event in the Midwest
Written by: Bryan Wolf

This weekend it is happening again, a tradition like no other, Paddlefest. OK, so I totally stole that slogan, but for almost everyone that walks down the boat ramp Saturday morning they feel it is exactly that. Paddlefest has a huge sense of tradition behind it. The entire event continues to grow with 2,200 paddlers simultaneously on the river in 2012. Paddlefest hasn’t just captured the local paddling community though. It also includes two days of events and celebrations before a boat even hits water.

I think this is one of the most understated and most missed opportunities in the tri-state. The week kicks off with an amazing opportunity for tri-state kids. The Kids Adventure Expo is a free to the public event at Coney Island the Thursday before Paddlefest. This year’s expo sets up 4 villages: “Let’s Move”, “Let’s Explore”, “Let’s Splash”, and “Let’s be Green”. Events like this change not only our community outlook but also our world’s future.

Friday night takes a 180 degree turn and turns up the speakers. A free concert featuring acts like “Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band” and “Jake Speed and the Freddies” promises to please. Both food and beverage are available featuring delicious local brews from Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. The event draws several local specialty shops with goods available and there is a Gear Swap for cheap finds on used gear. RRT sets up a booth and donates the grand prize for the raffle, a brand new Liquid Logic kayak! Hamilton County Parks brings in a climbing wall and Camp Joy utilizes a climbing tree.

The mist is barely lifted off of the Ohio when the first boat hits Saturday morning. People have traveled from afar, many from several states over for the event. Once everyone hits the water, it is an 8 mile float from Coney Island to Sawyer Point. You might be thinking, “Why is there so much passion for a slow Ohio River paddle?” Well, I’ve got to be honest; the Ohio does not have a single rapid, there is not a single cove or stream on this section to float down, the water as we all know is anything but pristine and I have yet to see any whale or puffin splashing around. All that aside, I have a blast each and every year!

PaddlefestI get the same sensation during Paddlefest as I do from a big race. You are surrounded by people with a common cause and purpose. You also are physically exerting yourself, perhaps not to the limit but to the point of bonding. You are all equal and together, you are no longer strangers, but partners in a grand event that may near 2,500 strong this year. Looking far in both directions and all you can see are colorful kayaks sprawled across the Ohio River. We are after all in the paddle capital of the U.S.A.

Go out to the Ohio River this weekend, tip your head back and let the sun warm your face, relax, and appreciate the life force that a river provides. Thank you to the Ohio River Paddlefest and the Green Umbrella for all you do to share our resources for opportunity in exploring and protecting what we have.

Get Outside Cincinnati!

 

Book Review: Born to Run

Secrets of The Copper Canyons
Book Review: Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
Written by: Bryan Wolf

I seldom have the time to read, but a nine hour car drive was looking me in the eyes and promising to be every bit as boring as you’d expect Pennsylvania toll roads to be.  About a month ago, I decided that the first step to reading a book was buying it: so after many recommendations I picked up my own copy of Born To Run.  Despite my obsession with minimalist running and countless conversations on the topic I had not yet read the book that turned so many people onto natural running.  So I bought the book and immediately put it on the shelf next to the others.  Glancing over my collection of half-read books I realized that step one isn’t my problem, nor is step-two where I open the book.  I needed to commit to finishing one of them, and stubbornly I chose the one that had not yet been started.

I’m somebody who enjoys short stories, and I’ll jump into one after another every day.  Born To Run captured me with just that; I read this book one story at a time. The author captured me in not just one place or one period but in stories that travel the globe and date back to our early evolution as a species. Instead of drifting off in neck-twisting sleep or playing pointless games on my smartphone, I sunk myself in what I would now call my new favorite book.  When we first stopped for a bathroom break, I was several chapters in and couldn’t stop talking about it.  I searched for a placeholder and found only some thin fast food napkins tucked in the van console.  Chapter after chapter I proudly shoved the napkin back into the book.  I’d set the book at my feet to marvel at the story I had just been told.  When I had replayed the entire story back in my head I was drawn to the book again; “What happens next?!”

So how is this a gear review? I think that this may be the best gear review yet, because we already have the needed gear: It’s your body. This book is about the very fantastic and complicated make-up of our bodies, our evolution, and our history as a running people.  I wrote an article before reading this book, already exclaiming my passion and love for running in minimalist shoes, and I’ll attach it at the bottom of the review.  The book didn’t help me discover being barefoot, nor did it help me discover running, it did, however, help me identify why and how I embraced minimalism.

The author, much renowned, travels in search of the “White Horse” or “Caballo Blanco”.  His journey takes him into the Copper Canyons of Mexico and close to peoples that have been nearly untouched by modern civilization; the Tarahumara.  His friendship with this ghost of a man, Caballo, not only opens his story but it opens his world up to one of pain-free and natural motion. Through this journey the author himself becomes twisted in a world of ultra-marathons and ultra-marathoners where he discovers what propels each of us to run both physically and mentally.  He follows leads to interview lead biologists, anthropologists, doctors, runners, coaches, corporations, and Olympians.  All signs point in one overwhelming direction: we were born to run.

If you enjoy running but suffer from injuries (like the vast majority of runners every year), or if you are looking for the passion in running and can’t seem to find it I would seriously recommend this book.  For those of you that have found the thrill of minimalist running I have formed a facebook group under the group name “Raramuri” for sharing minimalist insights, suggestions, and posting group runs.  Or on Meet-up.com under “Raramuri Minimalist Running”.  Raramuri means “the running people” and was the original name of the Tarahumara.  You can pick up your copy of “The Guide to the Outdoors” free publication or your own copy of Born To Run at Roads Rivers and Trails in downtown Milford, Ohio.

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Backcountry Safety

Backcountry Safety
Tips for Staying Safe in the Great Outdoors
Written by: Chris Broughton-Bossong

There is an endless list of reasons that people feel motivated to get back to nature. Whatever it is that brings us to venture off the beaten path, it is generally to find some kind of reprieve from our daily grind and escape the worries of the week.  The best way to enjoy our outings as much as possible is to stay as safe as possible.  Whether we are veteran backpackers or getting ready for our first day hike, we all need to keep safety in mind and remind ourselves that we are out of our element.

Even though it is bears and broken bones that seem to get the most attention with regards to backcountry emergencies, they comprise a small minority of the backcountry emergencies responded to each year in the US.  In general it is injuries related to exposure that pose statistically greater risk to us when we are in the outdoors.  Dehydration, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyper and hypothermia (elevated and diminished body temperatures), superficial burns, sprains, and blisters are not only some of the most common conditions we can face but are also some of the easiest to avoid.

Dehydration is an easy pitfall to avoid but we often don’t realize how effortlessly our bodies consume water.  Of course, everyone realizes there is fluid loss through perspiration. But think about exhaling on a mirror; the fog that it leaves behind is our exhaled water vapor.  So the more we breathe, the faster we can dehydrate.  Coupled with our body’s consumption of fluids, is our management of critical nutrients and electrolytes. Our body does not store natural spring water, but rather stores and uses water mixed with sodium (salt) and other electrolytes and nutrients.  So, the activity that is causing us to breath heavier is also causing us to burn more fuel and thus use up more sugars, which will eventually cause us to “crash” or become hypoglycemic. It is not only important to make sure that we are well hydrated before and during our excursion but that the fluids we drink are actually helping to replace some of the nutrients we are using up (salts, sugars, vitamins, etc.).  In short, if you’re not drinking regularly, you’re not drinking enough.

As most of us already know, sweating is our body’s primary method of cooling down or thermoregulation.  As effortless as this function may be, it is still something we need to pay attention to during our treks.  As we discussed above, if the fluids and nutrients we sweat and breathe are not replenished, this will eventually cause us to “crash”. This also increases our chances of facing an inability to cool down (heat exhaustion and heat stroke, respectively).  On the opposite end of this spectrum is hypothermia or a decreased body temperature.  Although adequate heed to the weather and proper layering are the best ways to avoid this, one slippery slope is when we begin to exert ourselves on a chilly day. We are bundled up, start hiking, start warming up, feel ourselves start to sweat, peel off some layers and are now damp and more exposed.  Remember, it is much easier to retain body heat than it is to regain it.  If it’s hot, stay hydrated.  If it’s cold, stay insulated.

While we are thinking about thermoregulation, consider the most common first-degree burn suffered outdoors: the sunburn. As with any burn, sunburn means it is more likely that our body’s surface temperature is increased as well.  Thankfully this is perhaps one of the most easily avoided injuries. The simple solution: keep covered with clothing or protective lotion.

Lastly we come to the sprains, strains, and blisters. We are most commonly predisposed to sprains and strains when we are traversing rough or uneven terrain and push ourselves too far (too fast or while fatigued), especially if we are not in properly designed footwear.  Remember, you are there to have fun.  Slow your pace a bit and pay close attention to both footing and handholds. Blisters can be avoided with footwear designed for the task at hand.  The great thing about blisters is that they don’t sneak up on you.  We will almost always feel a rubbing or chafing that leads to the blister forming.  When you feel that you are getting a “hotspot,” take a second and loosen your boots if need be. Increased pressure (shoe tied too tight) + motion (hiking/walking, etc.) = more friction (blisters). Apply moleskin, duct tape, or nail polish, prior to the blister forming, to reduce friction on the skin.  Treat the blister before it’s even there.

So in conclusion, when we take the time to listen to our bodies when we feel thirsty or worn down, chilly or starting to heat up, soreness or aching setting in, we are able to prevent or inadvertently treat many of the most common back country calamities that we are faced with.   Although there some schools of thought that toughing through it is what it’s all about, I believe preventing incidents and injury so that we can make the most of our valuable time spent with nature is what will keep us coming back.  The safer we can stay, the happier we will be and the longer we can enjoy our outdoor adventures, whatever they may be.

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Barefoot Running

Barefoot Running
How I Fell into Barefoot Running
Written by: Bryan Wolf

Why do I barefoot run?  There is one good answer and it is the one that is most important.   I barefoot run because I would not otherwise run.  It is the only running I’ve ever enjoyed. It can be called a trend, a fad, a dangerous endeavor, or whatever you’d like to call it but what I experience is a freedom.  Barefoot or Minimalist Running from the very beginning has enlightened me to another set of awareness and senses.  I can hardly remember what made me start minimalist running. I have no idea why I bought a pair of Vibram Fivefingers more than 5 years ago.  When I put them on though I noticed a mental difference, I had the confidence to move.  I also noticed the physical differences; I could feel the ground that I stepped on, the textures, the temperatures, they fit more like a glove, I could move with full dexterity and control. I felt good, I felt barefoot.

What barefoot enthusiasts will tell you is that they feel connected, light, balanced, natural, and healthy.  Having a sense of awareness in motion and in correspondence with the ground beneath you has benefits of both body and mind. What is the first thing you do when you come home? Chances are you take off your shoes.  Besides a housemate angry about the mud you tracked in you took your shoes off because it is the most comfortable. Despite thousands of designs and attempts at correcting a “problem” there is no modern footwear that is more comfortable than simply being barefoot nor is there footwear that has stood the test of being injury free or even preventive.  You wear a cast on your foot everyday!

Vibram Fivefinger slogan is “You are the Technology”.  It is the first and only footwear that can protect you and allow for full utilization of our human engineering. When you first switch however minimalist running requires a patience and dedication that allows for your body to prepare for its new journey.  Through exercises and a slow but purposeful integration you can experience a transformation that ready’s you for running.  We have 52 bones, 66 joints, and 40 muscles in our feet, make no mistake that each one has a purpose and a place.  As a perfect creation there is no better mechanism for movement than that which we were given; remember “You are the Technology”.

I trained and transitioned slow, working my way to the hills of Clifton; up Ravine or MLK (does anyone feel my pain there?), to the Little Miami Scenic Trail where I would increase distance and speed.  I ventured out to our public parks for trail runs in East Fork or Mt. Airy Forest to discover a whole new sense of awareness and joy carefully bouncing down the muddy banks, through soft pebble creeks, and up grassy hills. I find myself now signing up for regular 5k and 10k events and the Cincinnati Flying Pig half marathon.  I run now, and I enjoy it.

I have been injury free through Appalachia to Cincy streets.  I have to say that if you can abandon your misconceptions or fears you too can find this same joy in running.  This type of running style or footwear may not be for everybody so start with the proper education. There are lots of resources and I’ve included a few here.   Your feet are beautiful, get to know them!

Online Guides/Resources:

Vibram Education: www.vibramfivefingers.com/education/index.htm

Meetup Group: Raramuri Minimalist Running

Harvard Study:  barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu

“Born To Run” best seller: borntorun.org/

“Born To Run” best seller: Blog Review

Fall Campout Festival

Fall Campout Festival
Mischievous Adventures at Lake Loramie State Park
Written by: Robby Hansen

Whether you’re at the foot of a mountain, your favorite trailhead, or in your backyard. Camping is camping, and any chance to lay under the stars, unplugged from the world, sounds good to me!

The best thing about camping is that anyone can do it. I’m reminded of this idea every year when I make my journey up to Lake Loramie State Park in Minster Ohio. Lake Loramie is absolutely beautiful! From hiking to camping, and canoeing to fishing, this park has it all. On one side of the lake there are campgrounds that you will find occupied year round, and on the other side you’ll find beautiful woods accompanied with hiking trails. The campgrounds are easily accessible, and you’ll find many RV’s accompanied with boats and kayaks. I’ve visited many campgrounds, and I have to admit that Lake Loramie beats out the rest.

Loramie-1

Every fall they have a Fall Campout Festival, and I cannot image a better way to enjoy the great outdoors with family, friends, and a bunch of crazy country folk. With traditional festival foods, tractor pulls, and chainsaw art, the festival is guaranteed to entertain. Sure, you will find that most people are RV camping that weekend, but if you’re daring enough like me then a tent is all you need! The fall festival is what tops off this hidden treasure each year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the mountains and I love the wilderness. But, taking the effort out of (What some people describe as “real”) camping, and waking up to bacon and eggs over the fire is my idea of a great weekend. Not to mention the craft show on Saturday and Sunday, where you will find some of the coolest trinkets and treasures around! If you have the chance to camp with some family and friends in September, remember Lake Loramie. The deep fried oreos combined with hiking trails will not disappoint.

Climb On!!

Climb On!!
Climbing in the Tri-State
Written by: James Mobley

My wife will tell you that I’m obsessed with climbing.  I say I’m passionate about climbing.  Either way it is a key part of my life!  I’ve been climbing for over 13 years and continue to get more involved in the climbing community.  It challenges me to grow my mind, body, and spirit every time I climb, all year long.  I fail more times than I succeed but when I do achieve a particular goal it is very gratifying and I grow as a person.  I enjoy going to climbing areas and meeting new people in the climbing community.  I meet people from all over the world and we all have a common bond, our passion for climbing.Amarillo Sunset 5.11b

Bouldering At Springfield OhioSo where do I go to fulfill my passion to climb?  I moved to Cincinnati mainly to be closer to The Red River Gorge in Slade Kentucky.  The Red is a worldwide destination for climbers.  Gritty sandstone, pocketed lines, and steep roof routes make it the mecca of Midwest climbing.  Climbing guides for the Red River Gorge are available at Roads Rivers and Trails, located in downtown Milford.  The guide will give you ideas for climbing, camping, and restaurants.  My favorite place to find all three is Miguel’s PizzaMiguel’s Pizza is an icon around the world for supporting the climbing community.  Their dedication to climbers is evident through their business; gear shop, food, climber camping, and their ongoing support in all the yearly climbing events that take place in the area.  On top of all of that, they make the best pizza on the planet, no joke!

But wait, there’s more!  Living in Cincinnati gives me access to a number of other great climbing destinations.  You can urban climb right in Cincinnati, at Eden Park.  The New River Gorge in West Virginia offers features, such as, splinter cracks, ledges, horizontal cracks, and clean lines.  On a hot summer day the New also offers great places to jump into the water to cool off after a day of climbing!  All this is available within a short drive. Just north of Cincinnati, in Springfield Park, you can boulder limestone rock.  Just west of Cincinnati, in Muscatatuck, Indiana, you can boulder along a creek bed.   A southeast day trip offers bouldering in Athens, Ohio. In summary, amazing climbing surrounds the Cincinnati area.

Funkadelic 5.10bIf you’re looking for a new way to get fit and meet great people I encourage you to try climbing; be it in one of the local gyms or one of these outside locations! I feel lucky to live in a place with so many great options!

River of Dreams

River of Dreams
An 86 Mile Journey Down the Little Miami River
Written by: Kara Lorenz

Water is wild!  It falls from the sky, crashes to the Earth, and races to the ocean only to repeat the process.  I’m not much for falling from the sky and crashing to the ground, but I sure will join in on the journey to the ocean!  When enough water comes to visit, I enjoy grabbing my kayak and taking it down the river.  Every trip I take is an adventure, no matter the length.  My favorite local paddle has always been on the Little Miami River.  Last year, my friend Vince and I decided to paddle the whole length of the Little Miami, but in a very different way.

When I say different, I mean in a way that has never been done before.  We were not the first to make this journey, nor were we the fastest.  What made this trip unique and record book worthy was our means of transportation down the river, stand up paddle boards, or two Liquid Logic Versa Boards.  For those of you who are not familiar with SUP boards, they are basically a longer and wider surf board motored by what looks like an extremely long canoe paddle.  Stand up paddle boarding is very prevalent in the coastal states and is gaining more and more popularity here in the Midwest.

Our four and a half day, 86 mile journey began at the northern most access point, located near John Bryan State Park.  The first 17 miles of the river were difficult, cluttered with fallen trees and debris.  We found ourselves dragging gear loaded boards through the woods and around large damned up sections of the river.  Gratefully, Liquid Logic was nice enough to include a tag-along wheel on the Versa board making portaging slightly more enjoyable.  It felt like we spent more time walking alongside the river than paddling the river those first 10 miles.  I fell off by board twice on the first day, and that was two times too many considering it was late March and 50 degrees.  After persevering through the most challenging portion of the river, Vince and I got more comfortable on our boards and fine-tuned our SUP skills.  I came to appreciate the different perspective that the stand-up paddle board offered me.  I was able to read the river clearer than ever and see so much more of the river and what lay beyond its banks.  For the next three and a half days, the river meandered across the northern farmland, cradled us between the hills of the ancient Hopewell Indians, and drifted us by an old Civil War Encampment, through the historic river towns of Loveland and Milford, and eventually delivered us to the Ohio River.

The river taught me more in the first 15 miles than I had learned in the first 15 years of my life.  I learned you can never have too many sets of dry clothes and that the northern Little Miami River geese are not as friendly as the southern Little Miami River geese.  Most of all, I learned that every river holds adventures within its banks, and if you let the river guide you for a little while, life becomes a whole lot simpler.  What makes a river different from any other journey is that you can embark upon the same river fifty times, and each time you will walk away with a different experience and understanding.  My challenge to you is to take a journey down a river, whether it is by canoe, kayak, board, or inner tube.  Water is not just for drinking, GO PLAY!