Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fast Facts: Alms Park

710 Tusculum Ave.
Cincinnati, OH  45226

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Kids Will Like
  • Scenic Overlooks of Lunken Airport and Ohio River
  • Playground and Swings
  • Cement Slide
  • Stone Shelter to Explore
  • Portions of the Trails (see Trail Tale)
  • Possible Deer Sightings
Good to Know
  • No Admission Fees
  • Plenty of Parking Along Park Driveway
  • Picnic Tables
  • Shade Trees
  • Water Fountains
  • Sidewalks are Stroller Friendly
  • Restrooms Rating: B (no baby-changing tables)
  • Trails
Caution:  Trail may be overgrown with vines and impassable at the Lunken trailhead

    [July, 2010]  For young children, the highlight of this park is the playground and Lunken Airport Overlook where you can see the airplanes taking off and landing.  It's a nice place to enjoy a picnic lunch or snack under the shade trees.  The trails this summer are overgrown, but worth exploring in part as an extra activity, but they are not the main attraction.  Two hours is probably all you need for a visit to this lovely park.

    Historical Information

    Frederick H. Alms:
    Columbia-Tusculum History:
    Nicholas Longworth:

    Trail Tale: Alms Park, July 2010

    I have never been a fan of hiking in mid-summer. There is an abundance of mosquitoes and other flying, buzzing things, spider’s webs, and poison ivy. It's usually hot and muggy. By the end of a mid-summer hike, I'm sticky, itchy, and a little freaked out, certain I have a tick on my head and a rash forming on my skin. Nevertheless, I decided to head out early today before the heat set in and take the boys on a fairly short hike along the trails at Alms Park. Afterward, they could play on the playground and watch some airplanes take off from Lunken Airport.

    We began our hike on the "C" trail on the right hand side of the beautiful overlook of the Ohio River where Marshall (age 3 1/2) spotted some boats: "Look, Mom! There are some ships on the ocean!" I, too am always impressed by the size of the Ohio, especially when seen from a distance. The entrance to the trail was overgrown, but after only a few steps in, it widened out and led into a dark tunnel formed by the branches of large bushes, possibly Honeysuckle. This was probably the most exciting part of our hike. Both boys were intrigued by the tunnel and eager to follow the dirt path ahead.

    Within minutes of our trek, I noticed Miles (age 22 months) slipping on the dry dirt, stumbling over roots, and tripping on the wooden slats that serve as footholds. I made a mental note to get him some better shoes. The worn out sneakers were not doing the trick on the rough terrain. After bumbling along for about 7 minutes, the brush became more overgrown and eventually impassable for the boys who were confronted with plants towering over their heads and closing in on the sides. And there was the dreaded poison ivy growing through the weeds. We had to turn back. 

    On our return we got a good look at this weirdly shaped tree. I'm a sucker for odd looking trees, so I snapped a couple of quick photos.

    A little discouraged by the weeds, but not undeterred, I decided to enter the trail head for the "C" trail across the way, the one to the left of the Ohio River overlook and which leads to the Lunken overlook. Looking back, I probably should have just headed to the playground at this point, but I have this stubborn sense of adventure that rises inside me when I'm hiking--I must see what is ahead. This kind of attitude once got me to the top of a mountain on the longest trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, though it probably gave my husband second thoughts about the marriage proposal he offered me at the end of that excruciating--I mean, exhilarating day. 

    This part of the "C" trail was even harder for my youngest to navigate, with many roots to trip over and a fairly steep decline. By this time, it was getting muggy, the cicadas were screaming in the trees, and the sounds of boats, trains, and traffic on Columbia Parkway all combined to create a less than peaceful walk in the woods. I had to carry Miles part of the way and Marshall started to complain of tiredness and thirst. It wasn't even noon yet and we hadn't walked more than a half mile.

    Luckily, we came across a bench where we stopped for a quick rest. The bench was positioned to look out at the River, but the brush was so overgrown, there was nothing to see. I'd like to come back in the late fall or early spring to see if there is a good view to take in. Perhaps by that time, Miles will be a little less wobbly on the trail. At this point, we were getting irritated, but were close to the end and to the overlook of Lunken Airport where we could restore our energy while watching the planes come and go. 

    Unfortunately, with only about twenty feet to go, we encountered more overgrown vegetation, making the trail impassable again. Ugh! Vines had swallowed up anything in their path, trees included. Not wanting to be the next victim, I hoisted Miles onto my shoulders with a sigh and began the trek back. Although we had travelled less than a mile in all, the three of us were spent! 

    Overall, the trails at Alms Park aren't nearly as pleasant as the scenic overlooks the park offers. I could probably hike them alone with long sleeves and pants to combat the overgrown portions of the trail, but I doubt I'll take the boys back for hiking anytime soon. I think I'll stick with watching the boats on the river, the airplanes at Lunken, and enjoying the playground, complete with awesome concrete slide (which we were too tired to tackle on this day).