Friday, August 16, 2013

Sippo Valley Trail, Massillon, Ohio

There are some trails you want to visit again and again. There are some you visit once and are done with. And then there are some you want to ride again if the problems are fixed. The Sippo Valley Trail is the last described. 

I tried to ride the Sippo in 2011. However, after riding through Massillon (which is pronounced "Mass-lin", I'm told) to the trailhead I didn't get very far before I came across a burnt out bridge. The arsonist's work was removed and replaced with a new wooden span, and on a rainy Saturday afternoon my friend Dan led me across it during our trail ride. I wonder how long its going to remain intact.

Even though the trail starts in an urban area, it immediately is surrounded by trees and aside from a couple of road crossings it looks wooded as it snakes out of town. Once in Ohio farm land the paved surface gives way to pea gravel, and then to a mix of gravel and dirt. The trail becomes narrow at times. Grass grows on the trail median. And it continues like this to the final couple of miles outside of the town of Dalton, at which point the trail surface is paved again. 

I was impressed with nature along the ride. The Sippo passes through some beautiful land. But then I found litter and graffiti and my mood sank. We paused at one defaced bridge and read the news aloud.

"Dan, did you know Ryan is gay?"

"No. But Kami is hot."

Before we reached Dalton the rain had stopped, and the sun began to emerge as we rode back. However, the trail remained muddy, and we both had close calls as our bikes slid through the mud. In addition the soles of my cycling shoes became very tractionless by the end of the ride, and I slid a little when I made the mistake of walking on a wet wooded bridge for photographs. Both the bike and I became muddy during the ride. Although my panniers took the brunt of it, I got dirty too. 

Our trip on the Sippo was 21 frustrating miles. I had a great time with Dan, as usual, but the trail itself has a problem. Why scribble calumny about Ryan and Kami on  a bridge over a stream? Or why burn a bridge? Why dump trash on a trail? All trails have problems of some kind, but the Sippo has the worst: people who have no respect for it, and no respect for themselves. Massillon has a lovely trail. I wish it had better people around it. 

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A Taste For The Woods: Sippo Valley Trail, Massillon, Ohio

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Sippo Valley Trail, Massillon, Ohio