This is a hiking tour of Gorge Metro Park, Mary Campbell Cave, and the Ohio Edison Dam in Cuyahoga Falls (near Akron). It’s my attempt (albeit impromptu and hurried) at imitating Nat Geo, or for those old enough to remember, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, while I was on vacation. I hope nature lovers and folks living in the Akron, Cuyahoga Falls area enjoy it.
Admittedly, I probably don’t have a future in filming nature documentaries , but this just gave me some good practice at storytelling, incorporating sound into the project, and using the Zhiyun Crane 3 gimbal. I didn’t set out with a crystal clear vision of what I wanted to do with this footage (the project would have been better if I had). However, I was on vacation and I just thought it would be fun to get out there and film.
A big thanks to James and Robert at Ohio Drone for their impressive aerial footage of the Gorge. Check out their work over at OhioDroneLLC.com (tell them you found them on this video).
I filmed the video (with the help of my buddy Corey) with Canon 80Ds at 60FPS. I used a Sigma f2.8 18-55mm lens on the Zhiyun Crane 3 footage. The footage shot on the Manfrotto monopod was shot with a Canon 70-200mm lens, f4.
Transcript I recorded:
I am visiting the Gorge Metro Park today in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. I’ve heard the sight and the sound of falling water in this valley is something you will always remember. So on a lazy Sunday morning in July, I make my way to the park to visit the Ohio Edison Dam before it’s gone…but more on that later.
I am starting on the Gorge Trail—the lower trail—and I am heading northwest. As I make my way into the forest, I am mindful of the Cuyahoga River running silently beside me—only showing glimpses of itself through the trees that are rising up around me like a canopy.
Here, the river is sleepy—almost like she’s content with me getting my bearings before showing off her might and majesty. If there’s raging water on this river, I don’t hear it yet.
My first stop is a weathered wooden dock that juts into the northeast side of the river. Wooden ramps escort me down onto a floating platform over water. The dock creaks and groans with every step I take, but I suspect it’s seaworthy enough and not likely to sink anytime soon.
Further down the river, something catches my eye: the Cuyahoga abruptly disappears. It’s like a sheet of blue glass, then suddenly, it’s gone. The Ohio Edison Dam and the reason why I’ve made this trek, must lay beyond.
But right now I am not headed down river to the rushing waters of the dam and reservoir—not yet. The trail I am taking goes upward toward Mary Campbell Cave, so I bid the Cuyahoga farewell—for now.
On my way up to the cave, I discover a handful of surprises just off trail. This chatty brook, for example, actually caught my ear before it caught my eye. There are loads of these hidden treasures on and just off the trails in this valley–if you just take the time to look.
What’s intriguing about this cave is that there is no conclusive evidence Mary Campbell was ever there. The cliff and cave roof are sandstone, while the cave wall is shale. The 40 meter wide cavity and I can stand up straight through most of it. Though it hasn’t rained in days, water trickles from holes and crevices that are too dark for my eyes to see into. Other than water, I wonder what else this cave is hiding.
Having my fill of dripping water and dark places I take my leave Mary Campbell’s Cave and its secrets. I am heading down to the river, and hopefully the roaring sound of falling water.
I picked a great day to hike the Gorge. There is no none on the trails today. It feels like I have the entire forest to myself.
The weather has been kind during my journey so far—I am as grateful as I am surprised. I am familiar with the weather here in NE Ohio, and while I don’t see any rain clouds, I am keeping a look out. But for now, I enjoy the sun darting in and out of the leaves and branches of the roof of the forest.
I hear the river now. Not loud—not yet anyway. It sounds like a distant but steady jet engine, but with each step its presence gets louder.
Around a bend or two in the path, and peeking out between two limestone boulders, I catch my first glimpse of the river flexing its muscle. It’s an impressive sight…and sound, even this far down the river.
The last stage of my journey takes me to a massive wooden structure of steps that promises to take me to the foot of the Ohio Edison Dam, and to what got me out of bed this morning.
Making my way down each flight of steps, the water’s roar gets louder and my pulse goes just a little quicker. It won’t be long now. I can see the river in the distance now, and it’s no longer lazy and sleepy. It’s a force of nature.
Having traversed the final steps to the viewing platform, I’ve made it, and as a reward the Ohio Edison Dam stretches out before me. And yes, the sight and the sound of the Cuyahoga River falling 68 feet onto the rock floor below was worth the wait.
This landmark that’s over 100 years old is rumored to be removed, so I probably won’t see it again as I have today. But thanks to this video, it will live in my memory…and hopefully yours too.