16 July 2011 Columbiana County
We always enjoy a visit to Columbiana County. For the last few years, our summer visits have been driven by the Ohio State Parks geocaching series. This year there is no series so we went to different places. Our first stop was along the large bike trail in the county. We hiked about four miles on the bike trail and were able to grab a few finds along the way. The old rail bed is a hot spot for wild life. There are a few ponds and some wetlands which attract wild life.
Moo! The calf standing just at the edge of the barn door was mooing so much finally mom stuck her head out to see what was causing the commotion.
This area had all the makings of a great geocaching stop. It is located on reclaimed strip mining land and had some high terrain caches. The caches hadn't been found since last fall so there was extra incentive. We had a lot of fun with the first two hides. When we were going from the second to third hide, we were walking across the bare dirt in the flat bottom area of the lower photo. We had both just commented on how soft the ground was when I sunk over my knees in this grey muck. I was really worried about getting out since the stuff acted like quick sand. I didn't want Ali to sink in trying to assist so I struggled and finally freed myself. My pen was gone, my new hiking boots were trashed, and my clothes were covered in some unknown slime. I have no idea what chemicals are used in strip mines so I was really concerned for chemical exposure.
I didn't want to go back to the car with the wet grey muck and contaminate the car so we stayed on the trail in as much sun as possible to dry off. The rest of the caches didn't deliver. It seemed like any cache hidden in tree cover had terrible coordinates. We ended with at least as many dnf's as finds. I was happy to get away once the slime on my pants had dried.
We ended our day with a nice walk along the NCT. The North Country Trail gets a lot of attention in Pennsylvania and is a nice hiking trail under the name Finger Lakes Trail in New York, but the Ohio stretches are just basically there. There appears to be little traffic and the section we were on appeared to have damage from the ever present ATV riders. Too bad, it's a wonderful county and this section of trail could be a gem.