city at night

city at night

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Climbing the Steps

In an earlier post, I mentioned Fort Hill, a shale cliff rising ninety feet above the Rocky River in the Cleveland Metroparks.  A wooden staircase ascending the hill was built in 1982.  In 2016 that staircase was replaced with a sturdier and wider set of steps.  

I have climbed to the top of Fort Hill a couple of times (and have probably written about it somewhere in this blog in the past).  One mild, sunny afternoon earlier this week, I decided to go up the steps again.  I parked my car at the Rocky River Nature Center which is located near the hill. 

I was a Monday, so I was surprised to see how many cars were in the parking lot and surprised that the small museum was open.  I put on my facemask and popped inside for a few minutes.  There is also a small gift shop inside.  I thought that I had finished my holiday shopping, but I found several items to take down to Mexico in January.

I took my purchases back to the car, and then I tackled the ascent of the hill.  

From the top there is a nice view of the Rocky River Valley.

The small island in the middle of the river is called Arrowhead Island.

Just beyond the bridge is the confluence of the West Branch and the East Branch of the Rocky River.  (The West Branch flows through my hometown of Olmsted Falls, and the East Branch goes through the neighboring city of Berea.)
From here the merged river continues its way northward to Lake Erie.

One of the reasons I made the climb up the steps again (besides getting some exercise) is to try to find the ancient earthworks atop the hill.  There are three earthen walls and ditches that were built by Native Americans around 2000 years ago.  The site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the Metroparks website, "Despite erosion by wind and water, the two-thousand- year-old trenches and embankments still remain visible today."   I looked and looked, and once again I was unable to see the earthworks.

I continued hiking along the loop trail which circles the top of the cliff.

After descending the staircase, I hiked along some of the trails by the ponds and marshes at the foot of the hill.

It was good to take advantage of the unseasonably pleasant day our Metroparks.  It may be springtime before I have a chance to return.

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