I come from a country where winter snow is something more often seen in seasonal films and Christmas specials than actually on the ground; this is generally a good thing, as the merest dusting has the tendency to make the nation grind to a halt. In contrast, my first visit to my new hometown of Kent, Ohio last February coincided with some moderately heavy snowfall, and within two weeks of my arrival following AGU the area was once again blanketed in white. In recent days another 6 inches or so has fallen, but in the interim between the first snow and the latest storm we had a couple of clear, cold days that were perfect for some winter explorations; and a fairly new section of the Portage County Hike and Bike Trail starts close to our house was just begging to be explored.
The trail follows a couple of railway lines, and is itself following the old path of another. Signs at some points in the trail showed photos of the extensive rail yard that covered the whole area we were walking through in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – a scene of steam and bustle far removed from the much more peaceful landscape of today, although remnants of this past abounded.
We got as far as where the trail crossed Breakneck Creek. I thought the name was appropriate considering the fast-flowing meltwater-fueled waters, but the sign at the overlook informed us that the name was actually a reference to the result of an unfortunate fall from a horse during one of the early explorations of European settlers in this region. A bit morbid, if you ask me.
Nonetheless, as we returned home under the low winter sun, we were happy with our discovery there is at least one easily accessible, pleasant walk for when we need some fresh air or thinking time.