Sunrise 31: Ault Park (Cold Front Morning, Pre-Glacial Ohio River)
I had a busy weekend and wasn’t able to get to up to Ault Park for the last two mornings. It ended up being overcast and rainy all weekend anyway, and I was hoping that there would be a break in the clouds for this morning. As it turns out, the cold front that came through sometime last night was not messing around. After having a week of temperatures in the mid 80s, this morning’s low 50s was a surprise (I didn’t check the forecast last night). Welcome to Ohio!
On Saturday my friend Tom came down and we participated in the second annual Bikes + Brew pubcrawl through downtown and northern Kentucky. We met up with the group at the third stop (we had to bike downtown first, which took a bit of time!) and continued from Rockbottom Brewery to Keystone in Covington, KY -> Haufbrau House in Newport, KY -> Lackman Bar (OTR) -> Market Wines (OTR / Findlay Market) -> Neon’s Unplugged (OTR). It was a great time and I would definitely do it again. One memorable part of the entire trip was that crossing the JA Roebling Suspension Bridge on a bike, something I haven’t done yet, is downright scary. The grating is really wide, allowing you to see straight down to the river. The metal surface can cause your tires to slide around, and there is a slotted metal clasp at the center of the bridge, probably for expansion, that has gaps that were twice the width of my bike tires. Needless to say, getting to the other side of that bridge (we hadn’t even had our first beer yet!) was, at least for me, a bit stressful.
On the way back from the event, my left pedal shaft started to come loose again. This has started happening over the past couple of weeks so I carry a socket wrench just in case I need to tighten the bolt that keeps the crank shaft attached to the frame. What is happening is that all of these hills in Cincinnati are literally tearing apart my aluminum cranks! I talked to Brett @ Element Cycles and he told me that it is an unfortunate side effect of riding in a hilly area. Putting your entire weight on the cranks while grinding up hill ever so slowly eventually causes the tapered square hole in the crank to get rounded out, causing slipping and eventually lossening the nut off of the threading that holds the crank in place. After the final trip home, the aluminum has stripped far enough to warrant a replacement. While I wait for the crank arm to come in, I borrowed my neighbor’s mountain bike for the morning. It was a completely different ride from my road bike with tis huge knobby tires and low center of gravity. The most convenient thing was that the gear shifters are on the handlebars (like most bikes from the last 20 years), a convenience I have done without but suddenly found myself enjoying profusely. The bike rode great, albeit a bit slow, and provided some nice diversity to my morning ride.
The sunrise was, as you’d expect in a dull overcast morning after a cold front, gray and non-existent. With the air being a cool 50 degrees (F) it wasn’t even all that pleasant just sitting at the overlook listening to the birds! Part of it probably had to do with the fact that I wasn’t able to get out to the park over the weekend, so my routine is a bit off on this Monday morning.
Armleder and Lunken, the two scenic views that garner so much attention from the overlook, are looking good. The flooding has all but disappeared and the scenic view has gone back to “normal”. There are two things I notice about Mondays in Ault Park. The first – lots of planes taking off from Lunken as we begin the week. Second – not that many people at the park this early, compared to later in the week; especially with the overcast cold air.
Just two weeks ago I could see through this clearing that is now covered with leaves. You normally would be able to see a house up on the hill. I now know this house to be the large remodeled home that sits above Crusade Castle. Putting it all in place.
I took the opportunity to document the three information posts at the overlook. The first one describes the dedication of the Heekin Overlook in 1998. The other two are descriptions of the scenic valley.
This is my favorite post because it describes the pre-glacial Ohio River path that differs from the path it takes today. This explains why the Little Miami River valley that the overlook peers down into is so wide and fertile.
Explaining the geography of the valley. It reads “The broad valley in front of you was formed by the preglacial Ohio River. That stream entered Cincinnati by flowing past California Woods through the valley that the present Ohio River still uses. The preglacial Ohio River then continued northward through the valley between Alms Park and Stanbery Park. At the base of Ault Park, below this overlook, the stream received the preglacial Little Miami River and then turned westward to flow through Norwood and Saint Bernard. At Saint Bernard the stream merged with the preglacial Licking River and again turned northward. This stream then received the preglacial Great Miami River at Hamilton and turned southwest past Cleves on its way to the Mississippi River. During the ice age, a glacier moved south into Cincinnati. The glacial ice blocked the preglacial Ohio River valley and glacial melt water formed the Mill Creek. The glacier forced the Ohio River to cut its current path westward flowing past Alms Park and Eden Park, downtown Cincinnati, the mouths of the Licking River and Mill Creek, Mt. Echo Park, and Addyston. The present day Ohio River reentered its preglacial channel below North Bend to continue westward.
The Plaque Reads: “Little Miami River Valley — This broad view of the Little Miami flood plain inspired Levi Ault to acquire 142 acres of surrounding land and donate it to the Cincinnati parks system in 1911. With additional gifts by the Ault family and others, Ault Park has expanded to cover 224 acres along this western side of the valley. The tree-lined Little Miami River on the valley bottom is the only National Scenic River located in a major metropolitan area. The stream’s outstanding geological fish and wildlife, historic, and recreational qualities place the Little Miami among the nation’s foremost rivers.