My husband, Byron, and I have a personal goal of walking the Slippery Elm Trail from start to finish at least once each year. Last Saturday, we looked at the calendar and noticed it was turned to mid-September already so we jumped in the car and headed to the trail head in Bowling Green to start our walk.
When we started our walk, it was 41 degrees but the skies were that magical clear blue that we only see in northwest Ohio in early fall. By the time we completed our walk three and a half hours later in North Baltimore, the temperature had risen to 63 degrees. In summary, we picked possibly the nicest walking day of the year for our adventure.
Upon finishing the walk, my dad, Larry Slaughterbeck, drove us back to our car in Bowling Green. Byron and I celebrated our accomplishment with a stop at Myles’ Pizza before heading home to Findlay. Unfortunately, we probably ate more calories than we burned on our walk.
At the end of the trail, I posted a celebratory picture on Facebook and was bombarded with questions about the trail. Since so many folks have questions about the Slippery Elm Trail, I thought I would answer a few frequently asked questions here.
How long is the trail from end to end? If you walk from the Montessori School in BG to East Broadway in North Baltimore, it is 13.5 miles long. Oddly, the trail is marked with mileage markers that measure the distance from the city limits of NB to BG that total 12 miles. The first time Byron and I walked to BG, we thought that the zero mileage marker would be the end of the trail only to learn that we had nearly another mile to walk. That might have been our longest, saddest mile ever.
Are there restrooms on the trail? Besides the nice restrooms at North Baltimore, there are port-a-pots at the trailhead in Bowling Green, near Portage, and in Rudolph.
Is there any altitude change on the trail? No, this is an incredibly flat trail.
What is the best part of the trail? My favorite parts are the two miles north of Rudolph. Surprisingly, much of this walk is through a mature stand of trees and the trail is shaded by the tree canopy. If you can’t walk the entire trail, consider parking in Rudolph and walking north a couple miles and returning to your car. It won’t seem like you’re in the open prairies and fields of Wood County.
Are there traffic rules on the trail? Yes, walk or ride on the right side of the trail. If you are passing someone, announce your intentions by saying “Passing on the left.” Also, always follow the main imperative on the trail: smile and greet folks you encounter. We’re from Ohio; it’s our job to be friendly. And no matter how tired you are, it doesn’t take any effort to smile.
We hope to see you on the Slippery Elm Trail soon!