Guide: Gorge Metro Park

The abnormally warm weather we experienced in Ohio called for a spontaneous hike last weekend, so my roommates and I packed into my Jeep for an day hike at Gorge Metro Park in Cuyahoga Falls.

The Gorge Metro Park has three trails: the Glens Trial, the Highbridge Trail and the Gorge Trail. We chose to hike the Gorge Trial, which takes you to Mary Campbell Cave, above the Cuyahoga River, through stunning ledges and past a small, drippy waterfall. It’s a 1.8 mile hike roundtrip, perfect for our afternoon adventure.

The Gorge Trail is the yellow blazes

It’s been a while since I went on a good hike, and I was reminded of a handful of hiking do’s and don’ts. Here are just a couple lessons learned at Gorge Metro Park.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Gorge Metro Park
DON’T wear Chacos

It’s February. It was 60+ degrees outside. The trail was exceptionally muddy. By the end of our hike, my feet were pretty gnarly. Enough said.

DO bring a nice camera

As I mentioned before, my roommates joined me on this hike and two of them were photography minors! All the photos in this post are from Ally and Emma. You should check out their Instagram accounts for more wonderful pictures: AD Productions and Emma Chu Photography. Needless to say,we have a lovely collection of pictures from our hike, including this one of me looking just like “the Snoop Dogg dog.”

Haley makes a funny face that looks like Snoop Dogg

 

DON’T forget to bring snacks

We left a little after lunch and hiked into the evening, so we were very hungry ladies! I almost always bring a granola bar or small snack but totally forgot to pack something for us that day. We were all a little hangry on our drive home.

DO have a good grip on your phone

This was probably the hardest lesson learned. The Gorge is full of beautiful rocks and ledges and although they’re made of soft sandstone, phones don’t stand a chance. I took out my iPhone 6 to snap a picture and proceeded to drop it on an exposed rock, shattering the screen. One week and $107 later I have a new screen, with a shatter resistant screen protector.

DON’T climb the rocks if you can’t easily get back down

If it’s hard to get up, it’ll be even harder getting back down. I climbed up into a cave which was super cool to see, but I definitely struggled with getting back down again. Thankfully I had my tall roommate as my spotter. Think before you climb!

Haley climbing into a cave Haley sitting in a cave

What to Wear

If you’re going on a spring hike like we did, I highly recommend wearing clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty. We climbed all over everything so I was covered in sandstone, mud and moss when we left. As always, proper footwear is the most important part of a good hike. Tennis shoes, hiking boots and Chacos are all good choices to me. You’ll want something with extra traction for this hike, especially if you plan on exploring the ledges!

Dara, Ally and Haley's shoes

What to Bring

SNACKS. Like I said, we forgot to bring a trail treat which was a sad mistake. I also suggest bringing a water bottle, camera and phone, with a phone case and screen protector of course. Maybe bring a couple baby wipes too if you plan to play. My hands were very brown when we left.

The National Park Service Goes Rogue

I don’t want to get too political here, but this is something worth talking about: our national parks are going rogue and Cuyahoga Valley National Park employees are part of the resistance.

Quote about park rangers leading the resistance

Why They Went Rogue

Okay let me back up- rogue Twitter accounts didn’t pop up just because they want to. Here’s a little background about what happened that led to alternate accounts.

On inauguration day, the Trump administration released alternative facts regarding the inauguration attendance, causing yet another controversial discussion about the legitimacy of his leadership. Twitter users responded, sharing comparison photos of Trump’s inauguration crowd next to Obama’s 2009 crowd, debunking the administration’s false claims. The National Park Service account jumped in and retweeted the photo, fueling the fire.

National Park Service Retweets inauguration post

The new administration followed up with an email to thousands of employees in the Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service, stating that all Twitter accounts are to be shut down “until further notice.” The administration now says the shutdown was to ensure the security of the accounts. Below is a quote from the email, originally reported by The Washington Post:

“All bureaus and the department have been directed by incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice,” said an email circulated to thousands of Interior employees.

By the next day, the National Park Service account was back up and running and issued an apology for its retweet, but new accounts like the Alt National Park Service and Badlands NPS Fans were also on the scene, sharing sassy posts and starting heated conversations.

The Parks Fight Back

Trump has made plenty of offhand comments about climate change and other issues relating to the parks, but his order to shutdown the National Park Service Twitter account seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Employees from Cuyahoga Valley and eight other national parks created the Alt National Park Service, a growing coalition of park employees speaking out against the Trump administration. They even have a website for people to join their movement to preserve the environment for future generations. Below is a photo of a beach in Acadia National Park, originally posted on their Facebook page:

Resist written on a beach in Acadia National Park

Individual parks also went rogue and nine national parks now have alternative accounts, but my personal favorite is Badlands NPS Fans. Although the Badlands account isn’t run by park employees, it still contributes to the conversation with its tongue and cheek posts about climate change and politics. Below are a couple of my favorite tweets, published on their feed:

Badlands tweet

Badlands tweet

Buzzfeed called this “the one protest no one saw coming,” a perfect description of the situation at hand. I mean, who would’ve thought that park rangers would lead a resistance against the President?