Day One: Hello Cuyahoga!

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The first day of my road trip is in the books!  After bidding a fond farewell to Vermont on Sunday morning, I dropped my third child, my son Chris, off at Hobart College in Geneva, New York to begin his Junior year (my daughter Amy had been delivered to Yale the day before to begin her Freshman year, and sone Jon, had driven himself to Syracuse earlier in the week!) So, this is how I came to be in Geneva, NY this morning with my jeep loaded with all the essentials to camp, hike, paint, handle the heat of the desert and cold of the mountain nights and anything else I may encounter.  At 7am, I pulled out onto NY HWY 90 west and the journey had officially begun!

My only stop for the travel day west working my way toward South Dakota was an afternoon break at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  A small park nestled between Akron and Cleveland, it did not disappoint in its scenic beauty and quality people.  It was the perfect driving break and launch of Postcards from the Parks!  Home of the famous 65 ft. Brandywine Falls, as well as the beautiful Cuyahoga river and Towpath Trail that follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal, it is a dense oasis in between two urban areas with many historic buildings, incredible flora and fauna, trails, bike paths, kayaking and more. With only a couple hours to stay, I walked, sketched, took photographs and even saw a couple Peregrine Falcons!

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Peninsula, Ohio

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Peninsula, Ohio

The highlight of my short stay at Cuyahoga was visiting with a dedicated and extremely knowledgable Park Ranger named Sage.  After giving me some pointers of things to do and see during my afternoon, she flagged me down on the path as she was leaving for the day and we had a great conversation about my project, my shirt (RESIST!), her own concerns about the current political situation and social climate, past marches we attended, etc... She also took the time (remember, she was already off the clock) to fill me in on more of the history of the area including the 1969 river pollution crisis that caused the Cuyahoga River to catch on fire!  This spurred the community to grassroots environmental action to get it cleaned up and protect the water for both humans and wildlife alike.  48 years ago, this was a ground breaking movement and a great example of what people can do when they ban together for a cause.

Park Ranger Sage and I having a chat on the path

Park Ranger Sage and I having a chat on the path

As I made my way down one last path that seemed a bit less travelled than others in hopes of getting closer to the river for a couple more photographs (inspiration for a painting later on) I came across this quote written in black charcoal and easily smudged or washed away in a passing rain.  Obviously it was recently written and in my mind, meant for me to see today on the start of my journey in that place at that moment.  I think I am on the right path for the next 40 days....More soon from South Dakota!

Anonymous quote on the bridge support in Cuyahoga - "Be the change you want to see in the world!"

Anonymous quote on the bridge support in Cuyahoga - "Be the change you want to see in the world!"