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Land of the Lost

As many of you know, Jeff and I are avid hikers. We have traveled all over the country, hiking everywhere from Acadia to the Grand Tetons. We have hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail and rappelled down cliffs in Moab.

So you would think we would be just fine on a ‘quick’ hike closer to home, right? Apparently not.

Last weekend, we decided we needed a day together. Life is crazy, you know? I have been busy at school – running from 6th grade camp to parent-teacher conferences. Jeff decided to tackle tearing down the basketball hoop at the edge of our driveway, and he has had some…interesting Uber pickups lately.

We just needed to reconnect. So, naturally, we decided on breakfast, followed by a hike.

Our regular breakfast place closed abruptly this summer. That threw us for a loop, as we’ve been regulars there for nearly 20 years. But we’ve discovered a new favorite – Eye Opener on West Market Street in Akron, Ohio.

Basic Menu

This quirky restaurant has an urban vibe and some of the best breakfast/brunch we’ve ever tasted. Jeff loves the Red Eye Hash (which sells out super quickly), while I can never decide between their Morning Sunshine omelette with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, spinach & cheddar or the Rubber City Cake Stack. Their pancakes are delicious and fluffy and thick and… well, you get the idea.

After carb-loading (yes, I decided on the pancakes, but I ate them before thinking to take a picture), we hopped in the car for the 15-minute drive to Sand Run Metro Park. The park covers nearly 1,000 acres, right in the heart of Akron. Locals are aware of the importance of the Portage Path to the Indian tribes in the area, connecting the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas Rivers.

We had decided on the Mingo Trail, a 3.3 mile hike, rated as moderate. We figured it would take a couple of hours, giving us a somewhat challenging hike on a cool, fall-like day.

On our way!

Yeah. That didn’t work out so well. Here is a picture of what the route is supposed to look like.

And here is the D’Annolfo version.

Yes. You’re seeing that correctly. We got lost. I have no idea HOW we got lost, but there you go. We somehow added two miles to our hike.

Anyone who knows me can guess the difference between how Jeff reacted to our unexpected detour and how I reacted. At one point, it looked as if the trail crossed the river. No worries, it was more like a creek at this time of year, so I carefully crossed. No trail.

Jeff started laughing. I started pacing back and forth along the road, trying to figure out how in the heck I could have missed the trail marker. I mean, seriously, these trails were SUPER well-marked. Way better than half the trails we’ve hiked.

How do you miss a marker like this?! I still don’t know. So we’re going back. Soon. Because I refuse to be conquered by a trail in my own backyard. It’s the Irish in me.

Regardless, the trail was beautiful. Stretches of well-cleared paths mixed with more wooded terrain. Interesting bridges and water were everywhere.

At one point, we entered the Seaberling Nature Realm. The notice that we were on the Seneca Trail should have clued us in that we had gone off route, but trails sometimes overlap, you know? Hindsight….

We ended up spending an extra hour hiking. But did it really matter? No. Because we had an adventure together. There was no where else we had to be – other than napping. There were no kids to meet or pick up or shuttle around. It was just us.

We solved world problems and began planning next summer’s trip to Iceland. We held hands. We laughed. And we just enjoyed being together.

To travel means to make a journey. And even though we didn’t get on an airplane or cross an ocean or spend five hours in the car, that’s exactly what we did.

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