Community Impact Meets Personal Impact Projects

Take a Break…for a Trail Adventure!

Written by: Kyle Lukes, PLA, ASLA

Adventure is an interesting concept. It can loosely be defined as any new experience, but really, can only be determined by the adventurers themselves. To a child though, adventure is an out of this world experience. In some cases, it is learning how to crawl or walk, and in others, it’s viewing the world completely unfiltered. The cardboard box is more interesting than the toy that was just in the box.

Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail
Making new friends on the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail

Many of us can agree that trails provide the opportunity to meet people, enjoy nature, decompress or simply get somewhere. To a child, trails offer so much more, like the excitement of encountering the unknown, with distractions and discoveries at every turn. For example, I bet you didn’t know that besides walking, running or biking down a trail, you could skip, scooter, dance, cartwheel and make new four-legged friends! Allowing yourself to see the world unfiltered, enables you to rediscover the endless possibilities of everything around you.

Biking the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail

Trails, by their winding nature, provide an unending series of revealing moments. While I strive to enhance and create moments when designing trails, I find that my children remind me of how the world appears without our lifelong collection of filters. They inspire me to create experiences, from the subtle (that bench under the dappled shade of a grand tree) to inspirational (a 360-degree view of downtown Cleveland), to provide a sense of awe at every turn, to give users that “wow” moment that we all enjoyed growing up. After all, the ability to see things others “filter out,” is what makes the world one perpetual adventure.

Towpath mounds
The Bluffs on the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail offer a 360-degree view of Cleveland

While I have been fortunate enough to have been personally involved in sculpting many of the over 650-miles of trails designed by Environmental Design Group, I hope the end result creates this sense of adventure and wonderment for others. Trails connect people and places, but the experience along the way can be much more.

Bath Nature Preserve
Bath Nature Preserve

So, take a break. The next time you pencil in an hour from your busy life to walk, run or bike on a trail, channel your childlike sense of curiosity, slow down, see the world from a different perspective and discover the adventure all over again. Treasure the unseen, because you never know where it will lead!

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