June 9 - Eden Park - 115 Miles To Dayton

Captain Blue at Eden Park in Cincinnati.

Today I hiked 25 miles to Eden Park in Cincinnati. It was another hot day with temperatures near 90. The route was on roads, bike paths and sidewalks. The day started out as a rural hike and ended as an urban hike.

I am finished with the Williamsburg section. I am now in the Loveland section. I am on map 25 of 26. I have 115 miles to go to get to Dayton!

Jenny dropped me off at the United Dairy Farmers in Batavia at 7:30am. I had breakfast and coffee there. The roads leaving Batavia were quite scenic. The trail followed an abandoned portion of Ross Road for a short distance. It felt like hiking in the woods.  Near Perintown I took a break at the UDF there. It felt good to sit inside the air conditioned store. It was an enjoyable walk from Batavia to Milford.

The trail goes through Milford. Milford is home to "The Junction" where over 22,000 miles of hiking, biking and paddling trails come together. Upon reaching Milford I felt like I had successfully made it through the Buckeye Trail in southern Ohio. In Milford I stopped in at the Roads, Rivers and Trails outfitters. I met Emily, Joe and Brian who are the new proprietors. They were very nice to me. They bought me a cold drink. I chatted with them about the Buckeye Trail and their new store. Trail Angel Suzanne stopped by with some frozen treats.

At "The Junction" the Buckeye Trail meets the Little Miami River bike path. The Buckeye Trail goes in two directions here. The northern route goes on the bike path up river towards Springfield on the main circuit. The southern route is a 13 mile spur trail to Eden Park. The southern terminus of the Buckeye Trail is in Eden Park. This is the direction I hiked. The route to Eden Park went on the bike path for a few miles but then turned into an urban walk on side walks in Cincinnati. All of a sudden I felt out of place. A backpacker in an urban area is not at common sight.

I have been to Cincinnati many times. But none of the roads or intersections looked familiar to me. It was all new territory to me.

I saw lots of people walking and jogging despite the hot weather. There was a pregnant lady across the street speed walking. I tried to keep up with her pace but she was too fast for me. I was quite impressed that she could walk so fast. She was the only walker faster than me that I saw.

The Buckeye Trail goes along Victory Lane on the way to Eden Park. There were lots of people hanging around outside in a less than desirable neighborhood. I kept my head down and kept hiking. A couple on the sidewalk ahead of me were having an argument. The lady was walking away from the man. The man was very upset and followed her. He was yelling at her, kept saying "F this" this and "F that" and was swinging his arms in the air. I decided to walk in the street around them to avoid any confrontation.

At Eden Park I was greeted by Christine Pelpys. Christine and I are backpacking friends. She live across the Ohio River in Newport, KY. She wanted to catch up with me on my journey while I was in Cincinnati. She photographed me at the sign indicating the southern terminus of the Buckeye Trail. Bob and Brenda Schwieterman, my cousins, were there too. Christine brought me three "home brew" adult beverages to enjoy. Bob and Brenda brought me soda, ice water and food.

The view from Eden Park is beautiful. From the overlook you can see the Ohio River, parts of Cincinnati and into Kentucky. We posed for photos. This is a fitting place for a terminus of the Buckeye Trail. I thought about Brent and Amy Anslinger who started and ended a Buckeye Trail thru hike here in 2003. What a great place.

Bob and Brenda took me to their home in West Chester. I will spend the night with them. I got a shower and did laundry. Brenda made a feast with chicken, rice, watermelon and salad. For desert we had ice cream. A perfect dinner for a hungry hiker.

I remember the feeling I had when I finished the Appalachian Trail for the first time in 1998. I remember cresting the summit of Katahdin in Maine and seeing the sign on Baxter Peak. Baxter Peak was the end of the Appalachian Trail and the end of a long journey for me. But getting to Baxter Peak did not feel like the end of anything for me. I kept telling myself that this is the beginning of something not the end of something. I went on to hike the Appalachian Trail end-to-end two more times.

I feel this same way about the end of my Buckeye Trail hike. Yes, this hike will end. But the end of this hike marks the beginning of something for me. Something begins when something ends.