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America’s Trails

Four Friends, Five Days, and 372 Miles: A Journey on the Ohio to Erie Trail

By: Laura Stark
July 30, 2018

Ohio to Erie Trail adventurers (left to right)- Marty Cader, Eric Oberg, Eli Griffen and Willie Karidis | Photo by Eric Oberg
Ohio to Erie Trail adventurers (left to right)- Marty Cader, Eric Oberg, Eli Griffen and Willie Karidis | Photo by Eric Oberg

It was an epic journey for an epic pathway: This summer, three friends from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and another pal pedaled the length of the Ohio to Erie Trail, which runs right down the middle of Ohio at a diagonal from the shores of Lake Erie to the mighty Ohio River. Although still a work in progress, most of the expansive project is complete, linking more than a dozen trails and Ohio’s three largest cities on a rolling tour through the state’s quintessential landscapes.

The Buckeye State adventure, covering 372 miles (including on-road connections), took five days (and a couple flat tires). “It was a truly pleasant variation of long, deep tree-lined canopies, rolling hills, farmers’ fields, city scape and fantastic bridges,” said Willie Karidis, one of the adventurers and RTC’s project manager for Wisconsin’s Route of the Badger trail network (an RTC TrailNation™ Project). “The corn and soybean fields were amazing—some of the corn was already 8-feet tall!”

Taking care of the logistics was Eric Oberg, director of trail development for RTC’s Midwest Regional Office, who had been thinking about such an undertaking for years. Joining Oberg and Karidis was Eli Griffen, RTC’s manager of trail development resources. Rounding out the quartet was fellow trail enthusiast Marty Cader, a retired bike/pedestrian coordinator for Cleveland.

“Just do it!” advises Oberg to other trail tourists who might be curious to give the Ohio to Erie Trail a try. “Plan it out, take proper provisions—repair kit, tubes, WATER and high-energy snacks—but this is very doable; it is just a grand adventure and pretty accessible. You do not have to be an uber athlete to do this!”

Laura Stark | Photo courtesy Laura Stark
Laura Stark

Laura Stark is the senior editor for Rails to Trails magazine, responsible for highlighting trails and the people working hard to support them across America.

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