Nine Parks in Seven Days

[DAY 1] Embshoff Woods
[DAY 2] Sharon Woods
[DAY 3] Glenwood Gardens
[DAY 4] Winton Woods
[DAY 5] Woodland Mound
[DAY 6] Mitchell Memorial Forest / Miami Whitewater
Miami Whitewater Bike Trail
[DAY 7] Shawnee Lookout / Fernbank Park 

Nine Parks in Seven Days
Consecutively Visiting Nine Hamilton County Parks Equates to a Week Vacation
William D. SIEMER II

Portrait. -wdsiemer.
For a total of ten dollars for admission and some gas money I was able to take an active, yet peaceful week-long Cincinnati vacation while working a full-time job during the day. What began as a motivational workout routine and excuse to visit seven Hamilton County Parks in seven days became an initiative to get people to visit and support our beautiful park system. I became so obsessed in seeing what each park had to offer that I ended up visiting nine parks in seven days, and was never disappointed.

I had been working two jobs for around 70 hours Monday-Friday. This meant great money, but no life. So, the first week I was free from my evening job, I decided celebrating my freedom from the indoors by spending as much time as I could with nature. There was only one place, or in this case places, that I could think of--The Hamilton County Park District. After all, their slogan is "It's Great Outdoors!"

The Adventure Begins

Knowing I was going to be spending most of the week between my full-time Graphic Design job and the parks, I decided to thoroughly clean up the house Saturday. Chores out of the way, I could begin my adventure the next day.

On Sunday, I took my two dogs, a white chihuahua and black chia-poo, to the park that has seen me the most--Embshoff Woods in Delhi Township. I spend most of my weekends there, whether hiking the woods, exercising on the Parcours Fitness Trail, playing Frisbee Golf, or taking photos. Sometimes I walk the road past the shelters to take in the great smell of outdoor barbeques.

The walk was a nice beginning to the rigorous workouts I would be undertaking in the following days.

However, on this particular Sunday it was cold and raining. The dogs didn't seem to mind.  It was during this walk that I said to myself, "This place is so beautiful, and everybody has access to all these great parks." I decided I was going to use my experience not just as a means of exercise, but to document it in a way to inform people on some of the activities and advantages of each park.

When I returned home, I started a journal, began accumulating photos, and pointed out highlights of each trip. Maybe if a reader saw something I posted, they would be inspired to make the same trip.

Obviously, I couldn't carry my D-SLR, SLR, or even standard camera because it would hinder my jog performance. Therefore, all the photos I took were blurry, low-res images from my phone camera. Quality aside, the images document the progress of my incredible journey.

A Week with Nature

On Monday, I planned out and printed directions to the rest of the parks I would visit from the Hamilton County Park’s website. In order, the locations were Embshoff Woods, Sharon Woods, Glenwood Gardens, Winton Woods, Woodland Mound, Mitchell Memorial Forest, Miami Whitewater, Shawnee Lookout and Fernbank Park.

The week I chose was mostly cold, gloomy and rainy. The incredible part is the weather didn't seem to keep people away. Every location had a decent crowd. Guests were camping, tossing frisbee, fishing, biking, grilling, having picnics/parties, hiking, taking photos, gathering and the kids were playing on playground equipment. A lot of people already knew the greatness of these parks.

I met and talked to people along the way who had nothing but positive things to say about each park. A young couple with kids told me I needed to come back and visit the nature center at Woodland Mound, a few older ladies told me they meet up by Winton Woods to sit and talk by the lake, a Park Ranger was excitedly telling me about a series of concerts and the Bugs exhibit at Glenwood Gardens (by artist David Rogers), and I witnessed an Eagle Scout working with his parents on a badge by building safety rails at Shawnee Lookout.

These places were truly “The Great Outdoors.”

All Vacations Have to End

Like all good things, the vacation had to end. The daily duties of life had caught up to me. It was time to return to the daily grind of house and yard work. Spending a day away from the parks builds my anticipation to get back out, and experience the rest of the parks. Armleder and Withrow Nature Preserve were on my Day 8 to do list, but the opportunity wasn't there. I can guarantee that I will get to both this summer. In addition, I will make return visits and enjoy the rest of the Cincinnati Park system. I hope to see you on my next trip.

My Journal

Many people travel to Tennessee to get away. You'll find that making a trip to one of the local Cincinnati parks will give you a similar satisfaction. Please read on to see my journal and photos from the parks I visited. More will be coming as I explore the rest of Cincinnati's Parks.

|Hamilton County Park District|
|Cincinnati Parks|

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