marshes, sweet corn, a river and locks along the trail

b2009_0823Towpath0010 For a welcome change, it was in the 50s when we left Mustill Store and Cascade Locks for a day of cycling in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Today, Brett and I were joined by Susan and Chris who attend our weight loss support group. Brett and I were doing a round trip to Peninsula. Susan and Chris were going to continue north to the Canal Visitors Center and catch the CVSR train back to Akron.

b2009_0823Towpath0034 I bike at least once a week in the evening on our first leg to Portage Trail. It is a pleasant shaded section with little traffic. I have never ventured north of Portage Trail. The first few miles past Portage Trail was very nice. Until… we passed the Akron sewage treatment plant. We picked up more traffic on the trail once we hit the Ira and Bath Roads area.

b2009_0823Towpath0080 The Beaver Marsh is a popular stop on the trail just above Ira Road. A boardwalk with lookouts cross the marsh. The blue skies reflected beautifully in the water. This area has some very photogenic wetlands in the canal, locks and marsh. It’s a nice midpoint rest area on your way to Peninsula.

b2009_0823Towpath0052 Our friend Dave talks a lot about Szalay’s Farm Market. It sits along the trail and was mobbed with people. The market was full of local produce at good prices. We would have loved to pickup some stuff but decided it was too much of a hassle. Checkout the wagon of corn. The pickers had just finished and filled 3 of them for the day. It’s also a nice place to grab a drink and a snack.

b2009_0823Towpath0035 Traffic on the trail was very heavy from this point on to Peninsula, about 3 miles. If you want to ride the trail on weekends, be prepared for a lot of families with small children on the Towpath for the few miles north or south of Peninsula. Outside of that area, the crowd dissipates considerably.

b2009_0823Towpath0060 As usual, we ate at the Winking Lizard. It’s the best choice for food in Peninsula and adjacent to the trail and Century Cycles. We parted ways with Susan and Chris who headed north. Brett and I headed back south to Akron. It was very quiet and the crowds were noticeably less in the afternoon. The ride back had slight incline up. Why is it that I can’t have a downhill return leg on my ride? I guess I need to plan better.

b2009_0823Towpath0048It was our longest ride yet, 28 miles. It was pretty easy. The cooler weather made it very enjoyable. We like riding with a group. We talk and stop to take photos. Although we average around 10 mph, these rides take us 5-6 hours. We enjoy nature, socializing and having a fun lunch at our midpoint. The question is, “Where to go next week?” We have some ideas. Stay tuned.

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