Cuyahoga River Gorge, OH:  Special Places   Steve Galehouse
  Apr 18, 2006 20:40 PDT 
  photo by US National Park Service

My first special place was (is) the Cuyahoga River gorge, now a metropark in
Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, Ohio. Trees, cliffs, caves, fast
water--everything a kid can get tied up in, playing "combat" in the late
'50's. I rode my Schwinn there every chance I could, at first to play, then
the trees took hold. I knew what an oak was and what a maple was when I was
in grade school, but I then got interested and learned about hickories,
walnuts, cucumbertrees, tulips(there's a big one in the park), and
everything else. Soon expanded to shrubs and herbaceous plants---found
Canadian yew, Mayflower, and even a native azalea. The yellow birch with
roots like octopus tentacles grasping boulders made a real impression, as
did the bonsai-like Amelanchiers and Hamamelis.

Not much later, spurred by my interest in the woods by home, I became
infatuated by the forests and lakes of the Canadian Shield, and have
returned to that area for nearly 40 consecutive years. Again the elements
of trees, rocks, and water---these must be hard-wired in the human psyche.

I return to both places on as often as I can.