Franconia Ridge and Beyond

Coming down off of the Appalachian Trail the other day, I walked up to the highway and hitched a ride to the Flume Visitors Center where I needed to pick up a re-supply box that I had shipped to myself. Now with my pack fully loaded carrying several days worth of food, I find my way back to the Appalachian Trail to begin the trek up to and over the Franconia Ridge…

The Liberty Springs Trail is a well maintained trail that the Appalachian Trail uses to get up to the ridge. This 2.5m stretch of trail is rated as strenuous with an elevation gain of 2,700′. A rocky trail with a few stream crossings at the beginning, you gradually climb. Near the top of the ridge, the Liberty Spring Campsite/shelter is available for the overnighter. The trail becomes steeper as I make the final push for another 0.3m, finally reaching the Franconia Ridge Trail.

July 29th, 2012 … Four Thousand Footers … Mt Lincoln & Mt Lafayette

First views of the Northern Franconia Range

Known as The Summit House on Mt Lafayette which was built around 1860, it served as a shelter for the horses that had traveled from the Hotels below. Little has been documented about this structure and only a fragment of its stone foundation can be seen to this day. This stone wall is often used by hikers to shield themselves from the weather and winds on top of this mountain. I have climbed this mountain on three different occasions, once sitting below this stone wall to escape the winds as I sat to eat my lunch.

Journal Entry
“Slept in Garfield Ridge Shelter ~ Did work for stay ~ Sifted poop”
Descending Mt Lafayette

Yes…you read that journal entry correctly. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), maintains the numerous shelters/campsites and huts within the Whites and if you stay at any of them there is a fee involved to be paid. However, one can do what is called “A work for stay”…you work so that you can stay for free. The fee at the shelters that year was $8.00pp. I, being the one who likes to try new and different things, placed my backpack in the shelter to claim my spot, found the caretaker and asked if I could do “A work for stay”. “Why sure”, he said as he handed me a pair of leather gloves and a shovel! Taking me down to the local lovely privy, I was instructed on how to shovel and sift out any trash from the decomposing human waste. Shovel, sift and dump, shovel, sift and dump…into another pile. Now don’t freak out and say “yuck”. The decomposing of waste goes through several steps in order to get it to this point where it looks just like dark brown dirt.

July 30th, 2012 … Four Thousand Footer … Mt Garfield

The caretakers living accommodations at the Garfield Ridge Shelter
Journal Entry
“Tough climb down Garfield Mt ~ Zeacliff Hut work for stay ~ Knees hurt BAD”

Mt Garfield is the fourteenth highest among the four-thousand footers at 4,501′. From Mt Lafayette via the Garfield Ridge/Appalachian Trail it is a mere 3.5m to Mt Garfield where it is a very steep and rocky climb to its summit.

The last photo above was taken while descending…I remember a male thru hiker coming up fast behind me, cussing and mad at those who would dare build a trail so “Treacherous and dangerous” and that “This is Not hiking”! Yes, you do need to take your time.

July 30th, 2012 … Four Thousand Footer … South Twin Mountain

Who can forget the climb up the South Twin Mountain? Of course I don’t have any photos at this summit! I did however take the photo below of the Twinway/Appalachian Trail just beyond South Twin looking over toward Mt Guyot. At 4,580′ the top of Mt Guyot consists of two broad domes about a tenth of a mile apart. Mt Guyot is part of the Twin Range and is not considered as one of the AMC Four-Thousand Footers. With panoramic views of unspoiled mountains it is one of the more remote peaks within the White Mountains.

The Trail …

July 31st, 2012

The U-shaped valley, known as the Zealand Notch, lies between the Whitewall Mountain to the east, and Zeacliff, an eastern arm of Zealand Mountain, to the west. The photo below shows a distinct horizontal line across the lower cliffs of the Whitewall Mountain…an old railroad grade through the notch that is now the Ethan Pond/Appalachian Trail.

These railroad lines built by the logging companies that stripped much of the 800,000 acre White Mountain region of timber in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, were eventually dismantled. James E. Henry was one such developer that was known as the “Wood Butcher”, because his logging crews used a method called clear- cutting. The waste wood from the clear-cutting operations caused massive forest fires that burned for years. Henry owned 10,000 acres in the heart of the White Mountains with an 11 mile railroad to move the logs from forest to sawmill. Once the fires destroyed villages and valleys…many of these abandoned railways became our current trails.

Within the Crawford Notch State Park
Willey Range
Whitewall Mountain ~ 3,405′
Directly behind on the Left ~ Mt Willey ~ 4,285′

August 1st, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footer … Mount Jackson & Mount Pierce

Signage at the Route 302 road crossing in Crawford Notch

This mornings hike began on the Webster Cliff/Appalachian Trail…soon crossing the Saco River, the trail begins its upward climb toward the rocky ledges of the Webster Cliffs. When I reached the ledges, I remember just standing in awe as I looked westward, back down through the Notch, over to Mt Willey and beyond. It was amazing and probably one of my favorite moments on the entire Appalachian Trail.

View from Webster Cliffs
(L to R) Mt Willey 4,285 **
Mt Field 4,340′ **
Mt Avalon 3,442′
Mt Tom 4,051′ **
~~ Summits on the Appalachian Trail
** Summits that qualify as a New Hampshire Four-Thousand Footer
The summit of Webster Mountain ~ 3,911′
Formerly called Notch Mountain, is named after Daniel Webster
Journal Entry
“Lakes of the Cloud Hut ~ Did a work for stay”

Even though I hiked up and over two more of the four-thousand footers today, I was totally unaware of the fact that there was even a peak bagging list and that these summits were a part of it. Of course no pictures…The day began as warm and sunny and by mid day the clouds had begun to roll in. Passing Mt Eisenhower on my left, those clouds opened up and a downpour had begun causing the trail to become a gushing stream. By the time I rushed myself to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut, I was drenched, my boots and feet are soaked and I was chilled. Time to strip down and get some warm clothes on, I inquired about a “Work for stay”. and I also asked if I could place my soaked boots under the stove in the kitchen so they could possibly dry out a little…The Croo was very accommodating to all of the long distance hikers that day and allowed all of us to stay the night. When you do a work for stay, you help out cleaning dinner pots and pans, sweep the floors, tidy up the kitchen and do whatever is asked of you. Once all of the payed hut customers have retired for the night into their separate bunk rooms, we hikers are then allowed to bed for the night. I pushed together two of the long dinner table benches to create a bed for myself before laying my sleeping bag on top of them. The dinning hall becomes our living space for the night…

Known as “The Dungeon”, this room directly under the dining hall upstairs, serves as an emergency shelter for hikers who may get caught in unexpected bad weather. The Hut itself can house 90 individuals who have paid the grand fee of around $165.00 per night, but if there isn’t room for you upstairs to do a work for stay…guess what…you get sent to “The
Dungeon”, for a mere $10.00 fee. Notice the little critter on the floor next to me!

August 2nd, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footer … Mount Washington

Looking back at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut and of Mt Monroe as I begin my trek up the slopes of Mt Washington
These lakes form the source of the Ammonoosuc River, a tributary of the Connecticut River

I arrived at the summit of Mt Washington so early that the main building wasn’t even open yet. I did however wait around until all the buildings had opened so that I could go in and look around…kinda like being a tourist! The small wooden hut on top, which houses a gift shop, is chained down because this grand mountain is notorious for its erratic weather. At 6,288′, Mount Washington, called Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States.

Pictured above is the 3 mile Mount Washington Cog Railway. The world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway (rack and pinion railway) is still in operation.

Journal Entry
“Madison Hut”

From the Lakes of the Clouds Hut to the Madison Spring Hut, you are above tree line for the duration of the day. With blue skies and amazing weather, I trekked across the rocky trail where I could look deep into the Great Gulf Wilderness always to my right. I was so taken by such grander, calmness and ease. Once I reached the Madison Spring Hut, my destination of the day, I did my final “work for stay” at the huts. The Croo was a bit more strict here at this hut, having to wait outside all day and into the evening before I was given permission to stay. Once the hikers could come indoors, we had our usual cleaning of the dining room and kitchen before we ourselves could retire for the day.

(L to R)
Mt Eisenhower 4,760′ **
Mt Adams 5,799 **
Mt Madison 5,366′ ~~ **
~~ Summits on the Appalachian Trail
** Summits that qualify as a New Hampshire Four-Thousand Footer
Looking down into The Great Gulf Wilderness
Rock cairns marking the path of the rugged Gulfside/Appalachian Trail in the Presidential Mountain Range

August 3rd, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footer … Mount Madison

Journal Entry
“Climbed Mt Madison … loved it ~ White Mt Hostel in Gotham ~ Got a shuttle from Pinkham to Gorham, NH”
Mamaw B
Princess Doah
Mount Madison
Due to high winds and low temperature, hypothermia is a danger even in the summer. With wind gusts that would knock me over a few times, the early morning sunrise as we trekked across her summit was stunning!
Mount Madison
Leaning into the signage so that the winds would not knock me over, the only way I could describe this day and this summit…exhilarating!

August 4th, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footer … Wildcat Mountain Peak D, Wildcat Mountain Peak A, Carter Dome

The photo below is looking back towards Mount Washington and down into Pinkam Notch. Only picture taken for the day!

Journal Entry
“Shuttled back to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center ~ Hiked over the Wildcats & Carter Dome ~ Tough hike! ~ Tented at Zeta Pass”

Oh Boy do I remember climbing Carter Dome. Out in the distance I could hear the rumble of thunder as I trudged upward towards this summit. Your heart begins to beat a little faster as the sounds of the clashing thunder grows closer all while you pick up your pace so to get up and over this mountain! I was in a running pace and as I reached this bare dome I naturally crossed over to the other side only to not see any of the white blazes which mark the trail. For a brief moment I circled around back and forth viewing my options for what may look like a trail only to hurriedly find the trail making a sharp left. Gone I was, done the trail to what is known as Zeta Pass. When I arrived, there were a few other hikers who had pitched their tents quickly so to get out of the pouring rains. I luckily found a little flat spot, pitched my tent and flew inside!

August 5th, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footer … South Carter Mountain, Middle Carter Mountain, Mount Moriah

Over the years I have gotten better at taking more pictures! Maybe not so much as writing more in my daily journals…but here you have it! The first 17 summits of the New Hampshire Four-Thousand Footers.

Journal Entry
“Made it into Gotham ~ Stayed at the White Mountain Hostel again”

Stay tuned…I have 31 more summits to write about and post!

Gods creation is amazing,

Princess Doah

Oliverian Notch to Franconia Notch

Hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine or summiting all 48 of the four-thousand footers of the New Hampshire 48, had never been a goal of mine…they weren’t on any so-called “Bucket List”. The idea of pursuing and accomplishing each of these adventurous challenges was not something I dreamt about…that is until I stepped foot on the trail.

I had begun backpacking in 2007 and with a few weekend trips under my belt I felt comfortable enough to set out on my own…after all, you are just walking with all of your gear strapped to your back. My first solo backpacking experience began on the Appalachian Trail early in 2008. With work and family, I quickly became a section hiker taking every vacation and every long holiday weekend to hike my way north. I fell in love with the Appalachian Trail, her strenuous mountain climbs, her flowered meadows, her rocks, her roots and her mud. I desired the unfolding of nature that poured itself out with every turn. I learned to appreciate the physical challenges that my body would experience…step after step. I reveled in my own solitude as I whispered quietly to my heavenly Father praying for strength, guidance, and protection. For the next five years, I would make my way east to the AT and as a purist, I would begin where I had left off…not missing a step till I completed the last near 900 mile stretch to Mt Katahdin in 2012.

That 900 mile stretch would eventually take me across the state of New Hampshire and into the rugged White Mountains. The Appalachian Trail passes over the summits of 17 of the 48 four-thousand footers: Moosilauke, South and North Kinsman, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, South Twin, Jackson, Pierce, Washington, Madison, Wildcats D and A, Carter Dome, South and Middle Carter and Moriah.

When I begin any backpacking trek…I carry in my pack a 3×5 spiral notebook so that I may record the days date and how many miles I hiked that day. I might add the camping location for the night, wildlife I encountered, trail magic I received, mountains I climbed…things like that. So I dug out the navy blue notebook of 2012 and focusing on the days prior to and just after hiking through the Whites I noticed very quickly how vague I was in my daily journaling. So vague I am reluctant to share the contents with you. Each entry will be written as I originally had recorded it and will include pictures I had taken of the day. I will then expound a little…I still have a good memory of some things.

The large rock slabs to the summit of Mt Cube is just a taste of what lies ahead as I soon will enter the White Mountains. Following the numerous white blaze’s towards Route 25 (also known as the Oliverian Notch), I soon reach the road and walk down to the Hiker Hostel where I had shipped myself a re-supply box of winter clothing, toiletries and food to be picked up. I didn’t linger around and walked back to the trail and headed north to the first shelter…the Jeffers Brook Shelter.

I met two women thru hikers that evening at the Jeffers Brook Shelter…Mamaw B and Rainbow. In the picture above you can see my boots and gear just right of the steps and then Mamaw B and Rainbow already settled down for the night.

I set off early the next morning making my way to the summit of Mt Moosilauke. Descending, it had begun to rain as I approached the next campsites at the Beaver Brook Shelter. Mamaw B and Rainbow caught up at this point and we all decided to continue our trek to the Eliza Brook Shelter. Being a newbie in these mountains, I soon realized that a 16 mile day is pushing it. I arrived to the full and crowded Eliza Brook Shelter in the dark where everyone squeezed together so that I could fit in.

July 26th, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footer … Mount Moosilauke

July 27th, 2012 … Four-Thousand Footers … South Kinsman & North Kinsman

With her cascading waters all covered in moss, the Eliza Brook tumbled beside me as I made my way to the summit of the South Kinsman. Hiking through the fog and clouds, the views were minimal.

Summit of South Kinsman – 4,358′

The first Appalachian Mountain Club hut that you will encounter while hiking northbound on the AT in the Whites, is the Lonesome Lake Hut. Directly behind the Hut spans the glaciated Lonesome Lake. I don’t even think I stopped to go inside this hut but passed on by the hut and the lake marching towards the Franconia Notch. Somehow I had gotten a ride into Lincoln, NH where I stayed the night at Chet’s Place Hostel, This hostel was crowded with hikers, sleeping everywhere on the floor and on bed mattresses. I had taken a shower in the outside, downstairs shower stall and later examined tomorrow’s weather report…rain, rain and more rain. I had heard and read that the Franconia Ridge was spectacular and I decided I was not going to summit those mountains in the rain. I spoke to Mamaw B and Rainbow and it was decided to take a zero day and wait out the rains. It turned out to be the right decision.

Journal Entry
Zero miles
“Econo Lodge – T-Storm”

Yes, it did rain all day and yes this is the only picture taken that day…I must have been suffering from hiker hunger by the looks of the picture. We had moved ourselves to the next town over, North Woodstock, to the Econo Lodge for the night and ate at a nearby restaurant.

Sweet Dreams,

Princess Doah

Peak Bagging the New Hampshire 48

Peak bagging or hill bagging is an activity in which hikers, climbers, and mountaineers attempt to reach a collection of summits, which have been published in the form of a list. This activity is very popular around the world but even more so within the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Year round, hundreds flock to these mountains to bag another peak!

The goal of climbing New Hampshire’s 48 mountains over 4,000 feet in elevation has a history dating back to 1931 when the original list was made by Nathaniel L Goodrich, a librarian at Dartmouth College, a mountaineering enthusiast, and a renowned Appalachian Mountain Club trail man. At that time the proposed list was merely thirty six peaks…

From the summit of West Bond – 4,520′ – Looking over to Bondcliff – 4,265′

New England offers some of the best hiking within the United States! Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states in New England that have official 4,000 Footer Mountains. A 4,000 footer mountain is one that has an elevation of at least 4,000 feet and a minimum of 200 feet prominence. All criteria is determined by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). There are 67 mountains total in New England that are considered 4,000 footers…this post is of the New Hampshire 48 (NH48).

The New Hampshire 48 List

As of April 2019, 14,413 people have reported finishing the White Mountain 4000 Footers. I was one who did not report my finish. In order to do that you need to become a member of the Four Thousand Footer Club and submit an application upon completion. The basic rule is very simple – you must climb (on foot) to and from the summit of each peak on the list…

View of Mt Monroe ~ 5,372′ from Mt Washington ~ 6,288′

One who completes the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire has already climbed and summited many of the 4,000 footers on the list. I accomplished this in 2012 while making my way to the northern terminus of the AT…Mt Katahdin. Since 2012, I have repeated many of those summits.

View of Mt Lafayette ~ 5,249′ from Mt Lincoln ~ 5,089′

Join me as I trek across these spectacular mountains …

Majestic Mountains & More,

Princess Doah

The OTET . Final Thoughts

For the last several years I had pondered on what it would be like to get into bike touring. Talking to other’s and reading reviews I headed to the local bike shop here in town the first of this year. I entered the International Pro Bike Shop with many questions and came out with the purchase of a Bianchi C-Sport 3.

When she arrived, I was properly fitted for this bike. Eventually we changed the seat and handlebars. They installed the back rack, wrapped the handlebars and even though she is a basic bike, it was all I needed to get started.

Around the same time as I was getting adjusted to my new bike, I kept having terrible pains in my neck and shoulders, down my arms and numbing my fingers as I rode. A Dr visit with x-rays showed that I have degenerative bone disease in the T7 region of the neck and up with a few bone spurs on T5 & T6…So…any bike riding for me going forward was going to be short 10 to 20 mile rides. Well not quite! Having constant pain was not going to determine my bike riding!

I had met Linda a few years earlier and I knew that she was and avid bicyclist and motorcyclist. She has served in the US Army for several years, drives a semi truck for a living and loves to hike and be outdoors. I knew she would be the right person to teach me the ropes of riding!

I had purchased the OTET maps last year and done very little research on this route but I knew I wanted to attempt it in mid October. Contacting her and only giving us each two weeks to prepare…she said “Yes”…with a promise that she could ride 30 to 40 miles per day. I was only hoping to be able to keep up with her!

I had purchased a pair of waterproof, back-roller free Ortlieb panniers from REI and a front five liter Ortlieb handlebar bag. Using pipe insulation, I made and attached a water guard to the back rack, extending it to underneath my seat. Rearview mirror, water bottle holders, lights, tools, two tire tubes, patch kit, bike lock, single person tent, sleeping gear, clothing, food, toiletries and maps…I began preparing myself for the ride.

As you can see I wore a pair of KEEN Newport sandals for the entire ride. Linda had given me a pair of bike shoes but I shipped them home after carrying them for the first four days of our trip. Bike shorts didn’t work for me either so I wore my usual leggings.

I truly enjoyed the entire Ohio to Erie Trail and would do it again. Next time I would take more pictures and stop more often to visit some of the attractions along the route.

The month of October was ideal with the changing of the seasons. We experienced all sorts of weather from freezing temps, to rain, sunshine and cloudy days.

The ride through towns and on the roads was a first for me and is something I will need to get the hang of. From the onset I was not a steady driver on my bike with all the weight. I did not feel comfortable riding close to the right side of the trail and chose to ride more in the middle. Linda was great in teaching me the verbal commands necessary for a successful ride when you have others with you…Breaking, Slowing, Stopping, Heads Up…Got It, were words that we constantly communicated to one another.

My favorite parts of the OTET were the Ohio to Erie Canal Towpath, the Alum Creek Trail into Columbus and the Little Miami Scenic Trail. The entire trail is well maintained with numerous trailside parks, rest areas and sights to explore. There could be a little more signage in some areas but for the most part it is fairly easy to follow. A few more campsites along the way would be good for those of us who do not ride those long miles each day. It was a fun experience that I would do again!

Nothing can compare though to the surprise I had as I finished along the Ohio River at the Roebling Bridge. I have backpacked many a trail and have completed many a thru hike but had yet to experience a finish where my family was there to greet me. I was so excited and full of joy I had a hard time keeping back the tears. No trip has ever brought me such triumph and delight as being with my children and grandchildren at the finish. Their presence meant the world to me!

Thank you Linda for being such a trusted team player that I could count on…you had my back and I appreciated it all. You are an inspiration!

And to my girls…I can’t thank you enough for taking the time on such a rainy, cold day to come out and find me as I completed this journey.

With much love to my family…


The OTET . Day 8

Sunday, October 18th, 2020

Orgonia, Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio . 48.3m

We quietly broke camp and were on our way before the sun rose. With headlamps and bike lights we walked the first two miles of the trail towards Fort Ancient. Once light peered through the leaves of the trees and we had a glimmer of sun we pursued the final day riding toward Roebling Bridge…it is a surreal day just knowing that you have just biked near three hundred miles.

It is a beautiful day with many runners, walkers and bikers on the trail trying to get a few miles in before the drenching rains were upon us.

Riding into the quaint town of Loveland, we were on the lookout for a cafe. Actually, I was on the prowl for something sweet to eat! Being gluten and dairy free, sometimes my choices are far and few between. As Linda found a cafe (nothing GF/DF here for me), I made my way further down through town eyeing for that one place! And I found it! Mile 42 Coffee is a coffee shop right over the railroad tracks in town. I didn’t hesitate to order for myself two GF/DF brownies…warmed! Rain had already started but I didn’t mind as I stood there getting wet eating my delicious sweets before turning around and heading back to look for Linda.

We always carried our rain gear on top in waterproof bags for quick and easy access. Standing underneath an outside restaurant umbrella, I put on my rain pants, rain jacket and extra gloves. I secured the rain pants at the calves with hair ties to keep them from getting caught on anything as I rode. I already had my waterproof socks on and my phone was in plastic. Off we rode…slow and steady in the pouring rains.

We have followed the Little Miami Scenic Trail since arriving in Xenia yesterday and at the Newtown Road Tunnel, the OTET splits off, crosses Route 50 and for the next five miles I don’t remember much because it was all sidewalk, road riding and traffic through Mariemont on Wooster Pike.

I think at this point we are both riding faster with the end near. Nothing can stop us now as we begin our ride on the Ohio River/OTET where we see our first views of the Ohio River…feeling the surge of success, we shout out our “WhooHoo’s”

Before I had begun this bike packing experience, I had invited my children and grandchildren to join me and Linda as we crossed the imaginary finish line at Roebling Bridge. I had hoped that they could be there and when I turned on my phone to look for any messages from them I saw that they were going to try to get there! I was so excited, I had tears in my eyes!

The finish was quick as I looked for my family and as Linda was viewing the landscape for her daughter and granddaughter. We eventually found our loved ones and with lots of hugs and kisses, we had finished the 326 mile Ohio to Erie Trail. We had ridden from Cleveland to Cincinnati.

With excitement and feeling accomplished,


The OTET . Day 7

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

London, Ohio to Orgonia, Ohio . 50m

Well guess what…we survived the night and I only took one picture all day!

A friend of Linda’s had contacted her last night and made arrangements to ride out with us in the morning. Paul, arrived promptly at 7:30am ready for the morning. I checked the weather and it was 35deg when we started out.

The trail from London to Xenia is called the Prairie Grass Trail…passing farmland, countryside, silos and barns.

When we arrived to the village of South Charleston, we did not hesitate to find the first open cafe to go inside just to warm ourselves up. I was wearing two pair of leggings, two pair of gloves, a fleece hat and face covering, a wool sweater, down jacket and two other layers on top…I felt fine but there was a chill to my fingers. Paul was only riding to this point with us and turned around to ride back to London. It was a pleasure to have him along with us this morning.

Onward to Cedarville, Ohio…home of Cedarville University. My mother and father attended this college back in the early 50’s. Here is where they met and later married!

Cedarville also has a few nice cafe’s which we stop at, but this time we order some real food! Before going inside I strip down a layer of pants and a layer on top…it is starting to warm up a bit.

We knew that after leaving Columbus and entering the village of London, the trail was going to be flat without any road travel. We were cruising…right into Xenia and the Xenia Station Depot.

Today the railroads are gone and this junction is now a cycling center. The Xenia Station, a replica of the railroad station is the hub for five regional rail trails. The crossing of these three railroad rights-of-way created six spokes on a wheel with Xenia Station in the center. Of these six spokes, five have been coverted to rail trails. The one exception was the B&O line to west Dayton.

The original brick railroad station was built in the 1880’s. This replica, complete with a history museum, classroom and an observation tower called the Hub Lookout, was built in 1998 by the city of Xenia.

Leaving the Xenia Station we were both in very familiar territory. I frequent the Little Miami Scenic Trail weekly either for running, biking or walking. From Xenia to Spring Valley, through the edge of Corwin and on to Orgonia, we bike along the Little Miami National Wild & Scenic River.

The Little Miami River is a tributary of the Ohio River that flows 111 miles through five counties.

Arriving in Orgonia we had yet to find tent sites. The trail passes a small local church which has a sign out front that welcomes the riders to visit their shelter for some rest and relaxation. When we arrived, there was a family neighborhood birthday party going on under the shelter, so Linda and I politely waited out front until they began to clean up their cookout. In the meantime, we scouted some land across the street for possible tent sites. Mt first reaction was a “No”…why? First, we did not know who owned the land nor did we have permission to tent on it. Second, the trails were wide which indicated to me that they were used by mountain bikers, etc…not wanting to get run over…and third, there was a popular biker bar and grill just across the path. Too close for me on a Saturday night. I had already called the church and left a detailed message as to us tenting in the back for the night…so back we went.

We returned back to the church and while I was scouting the property for where to pitch my tent, Linda was out front already with her tent set up in full view! Naturally when the local sheriff drove past he stopped to talk to Linda. She explained our plans. For our safety, he said we would be safer on the church lot than across the street in the woods…so here we stayed!

Tomorrow is our last day!


The OTET . Day 6

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Westerville, Ohio to London, Ohio . 46.8m

Columbus…here we come! I had read that it would take approximately two hours to get through town and most have difficulty following the route. From the beginning of this OTET trip, Linda has up on her phone the Google Maps bike route for just in case we do get off route. Which we have! It has helped us a few times to get back on track!

As soon as there is a tiny bit of light, we left the Hotel making our way to the Alum Creek Greenway/OTET. With the rains yesterday afternoon and through the night, it makes for a very wet and potentially slippery trail.

With the many wooden bridges and boardwalks that we ride upon, I ride slowly and cautiously as we cross the Alum Creek several times.

For the next eleven miles, and with all of its beauty, the Alum Creek Trail will take us into downtown Columbus.

Oops…wrong turn! The Scioto River is suppose to be on our left! We were so taken by its beauty we didn’t notice.

But we don’t mind the pretty views of downtown Columbus…time to turn around and head back a short.

This is better…Now biking, for the next three miles, on the Lower Scioto Greenway/OTET. We are not out of Columbus yet! The OTET is making its way to the Hilltop Connector where it joins the Camp Chase Trail.

Looking back from the Scioto River Trail near the North Bank Park…

I thought for sure I did a panoramic view of this building…I guess not! The Camp Chase Trail is a 15.9 mile, asphalt trail. This trail will take us into the Georgesville, Ohio village and traverse the Battelle Darby Creek Park.

London, Ohio was our final destination for the day. We have plans to tent at the Trailside Campsites.

All week the weather has been ranging from the 40’s into the upper 60’s…tonight it is dropping down into the mid 30’s for a bitter cold night in the tents.

These popular tent sites are home for the night for many hundreds of riders as they pass through London. With wooden tent pads, several boxed in tent pads, a picnic shelter, electrical outlets, a very clean and heated locked (only riders receive the code to get in), restroom and an outdoor shower, no wonder it is so popular.

Bracing myself and wearing almost every piece of clothing to brave out the cold…Brrrrr,


The OTET . Day 5

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Centerburg, Ohio to Westerville, Ohio . 23.7m

Today’s post is going to be a short one because today was a half day. We had known for several days now that on Thursday we would experience rains throughout most of the day.

The Heart of Ohio Trail stops just beyond Centerburg where we begin a 10 mile road journey into the village of Sunbury. More road biking of 2.5 miles from Sunbury to Galena and to the start of the Galena Brick Trail before it joins the Hoover Scenic Trail.

The Hoover Dam, near Westerville, Ohio, dams the Big Walnut Creek to form the Hoover Memorial Reservoir. This reservoir is a major water source for the city of Columbus. You can see that we are riding through a cloudy day. We are both relieved to have finished the road riding portion of the day before the rains set in…

I had contacted an individual through “Warm Showers”, a bike community that extends a place to stay, or tent, shower, etc…the night before. He quickly accepted our request to stay but upon reaching Westerville, we decided to go forward for a little longer after looking at the weather report. plus it looked like we had already passed by his location.

We stop to look at the upcoming town route, and take off…

We are now on the Westerville Bike & Walk Route which goes behind businesses in this very populated northern Columbus town.

Once we reach the heart of Westerville, we ride to a nearby Red Roof Inn where we agree this is the best decision due to the rains approaching.

With everything secured in the room, we gather our rain jackets and walk 0.4m to the Chipotle Mexican Grill we had passed earlier. With dinner in hand, Linda walks back to the Hotel while I make a side trip to Kroger looking for more FOOD!

Great to be indoors while the cold rains pour outside,


The OTET . Day 4

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Millersburg, Ohio to Centerburg, Ohio . 54.5m

Across the street from the Hotel is a Carriage Connector Trail that leads you straight to the Holmes County/OTET. The morning is early as we begin to watch another day unfold. Daylight quickly creeps upon us as we approach the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area and onward to the small town of Killbuck. Here we have an 8m stretch of road making our way to the village of Glenmont where the OTET once again connects you to the Holmes County Trail.

Taking a small break in Glenmont, Ohio…

Outside of Glenmont, this newer section of the Holmes County/OTET, begins with a slow gradual climb for approximately two miles before the short steep climb up to the Baddow Pass, through a tunnel under US 62 and onward to the Bridge of Dreams.

Riding through the Bridge of Dreams, this 370 foot covered bridge crosses the Mohican River. It was originally built in the 1920’s as a railroad bridge, and was covered in 1998. It is the second longest covered bridge in Ohio and the third longest covered bridge in the United States.

Soon we follow the Mohican Valley Trail for 4 miles into the village of Danville where a street route takes us to the Kokosing Gap/OTET. The Kokosing Gap Trail is a paved 14 mile recreational trail built on a former Pennsylvania Railroad.

Between the villages of Howard and Mt Vernon, we ride beside the Kokosing River. Kokosing translates roughly to “River of Little Owls”.. We didn’t see any owls today…

Stone bridges are the most durable and strong bridge type. The Stone Arch at Howard, Ohio is no exception. Built in 1874, this arch bridge is for U.S. Route 36 which travels over the old Cleveland, Mt. Vernon, and Delaware Railroad bed. We take a nice lunch break here.

We enter the city of Mt Vernon and after some street riding we join the Heart of Ohio/OTET. The Heart of Ohio Trail begins at the beautifully restored Cleveland, Akron & Columbus (CA&C) Railroad Depot, which dates back to 1907. 

One of the most unique vantage points in Mount Vernon, Ohio is the Rastin Observation Tower at Ariel-Foundation Park.

The observation tower is a steel, spiral staircase that coils around the tallest structure in Knox County, PPG’s industrial smoke stack built in 1951. The historical chimney served Pittsburg Plate Glass (PPG), from 1951 until its closing in 1979 and was constructed of reinforced concrete by the Slip Form Method.

The former Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company’s Mount Vernon plant sits on seventy acres which opened in 1907 and was operated by PPG, or through one of its divisions, until 1976. Abandoned and scheduled to be demolished, this site was recovered and is now the home to the Ariel-Foundation Park. A park I would like to visit again someday and take more time exploring the grounds.

Riding through the Ariel-Foundation Park are many earthen terraces.

Today was a re-supply day for us when we reached the half-way point of the Ohio to Erie Trail in Centerburg, Ohio. A week earlier we had compiled four days worth of food for each of us and mailed it out to ourselves for pickup at the Centerburg Post Office. Before arriving, we knew already that we did not have any plans of where to tent for the night.

The PO clerk was very helpful in filling our water bottles, throwing away our trash and helping us to pack up our items we were shipping back home! We had gathered those gear items earlier and had them ready to be boxed and shipped. The PO is open till 4:30pm and it was already after 4:00. Like any re-supply box you pick up…you quickly get the new food items packed to go and the 4.56 pounds you are shipping home done, done and done!

Having backpacked extensively over the last several years, it is common for me to find a church and tent behind it..I went back inside the PO one last time to inquire about any local churches close to the OTET. The clerk again was helpful in suggesting a large church about a half mile away and close to the trail. Now I’m not one to just stealth camp anymore in some locations. I will always call or contact someone from said church to ask permission first. While I walked the grounds scouting out tenting possibilities, I mentioned to Linda to keep an eye out for anyone leaving or entering the building. Just then, a old pickup truck drove up to where Linda was standing and she asked if it would be ok…he then went in and asked the pastor and came back out and said, “Go for it”…

Awesome! This church has a large property with swaying pine trees, a playground and a picnic shelter. We opted for the shelter where the morning dew would not soak our tents and we could sit and eat at the tables.

We are thankful for God’s provision each and every day…and as I was scouting…I was praying. Thank you Father for answered prayers.

Full of gratitude,


The OTET . Day 3

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

Massillon, Ohio to Millersburg, Ohio . 42.6m

The Rivers Edge Campsite is sandwiched between the Ohio To Erie Trail and the Tuscarawas River. With thunderstorms passing overhead throughout the evening, we knew that the trail would be wet and slick this morning as we completed the 70 plus mile portion of the Ohio to Erie Towpath and made our way to the Sippo Valley Trail.

Following a portion of the former Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad corridor, the Sippo Valley Trail spans 10 miles between Massillon and Dalton.

Riding through the town of Dalton, we quickly come to the part of this trail that we knew would be more challenging. The next 17 miles would take us down the rural roads in Holmes County and would be a day filled with the beautiful Amish countryside. Holmes County has one of the largest Amish communities in the world. With horse drawn buggies, children playing in schoolyards at recess, laundry hanging out to dry on the clotheslines, farmers bringing in the crops out in the fields where corn stalks and hay were lined up in the sun to dry. It was a sunny day, warm and pleasant and we were either flying down a steep hill or slugging our way up one. I am not embarrassed to say that there were a few times that I dismounted my bike and pushed my bike up…and up again!

We had planned on stopping in Fredericksburg to decide the outcome of the remainder of the day. Not fully knowing how strenuous the rural roads may be we thought it best to stop at a corner cafe to rest up, eat up and look over the map. We decided to continue on towards the Hipp Station in Millersburg for another 10 miles.

Picture above is an abandoned schoolhouse on our route.

Just outside Fredericksburg, we hop onto the Holmes County Trail. This is the only trail designed to accommodate Amish buggies, having a separate buggy lane.

When we reached the Henn Station it was closed. We knew the closest primitive tent sites in the area were at the Turkey Hollow campground which was 2.5 miles away off trail. To get there the owner, Matt, described it as “All up hill on a very steep road”. Matt was helpful in suggesting a hotel down the trail! All of our electronic devices needed complete recharging, I wanted to do some laundry and a good nights sleep were on its way. Thank you Matt!

A lovely day for a ride in the country!

Feeling energized and accomplished,