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[nct-l] trip report

Living in Virginia, I don't often get to visit the NCT.  I finally got to do 
my first hike longer than 2 miles this past week on the Miami and Erie canal 
section while visiting family in the area.  I started in Kossuth, OH, and 
went south about 6 miles to 40-acre Pond.  I then retraced my steps and 
hiked north from Kossuth a little over a mile to 100F Rd.  The hike was 
certainly not hard, with the only uphill at a lock on the canal, a five foot 
elevation change.  The hike was, though, surprisingly pretty and 
interesting.  There was a lot of wildlife, including turtles, frogs (who 
went nuts whenever I walked by), ducks and ducklings, several long-winged, 
long-legged, long-necked birds with black wingtips (can anyone tell me what 
they were?), and many of the worst menace to trails everywhere, the 
groundhog.  The trail was in good shape except for the groundhog holes, and 
except for the area north of Kossuth.  Wes Boyd's trail guide 
(http://www.northcountrytrail.org/explore/guide/f03.htm) mentions an 
on-going land dispute that forces hikers to walk along rt. 66A.  It seems 
that the dispute has been resolved, although the owner of the house along 
the trail in Kossuth needs to trim her apple trees.  The treadway in this 
area is pretty bad, although it looks like it will be fixed soon.

The 1.2 miles south of Kossuth have recently gone through some major 
repairs.  As part of an ISTEA grant (described on a sign along the trail), 
the entire towpath between Delphos and St. Mary's is being rebuilt.  This is 
great for the treadway, and the section that has been completed was among 
the best footing.  However, to prevent water leaks caused by tree roots, all 
trees are being removed along the towpath.  It makes for a better treadway, 
but a very sunny and hot one.  The towpath and embankments have been planted 
with grasses (rye?), but have not been mowed, so this section was thigh deep 
although not thick.  Some kind of mowing schedule needs to be set up.

If you hike this section, I recommend that you switch to the other side of 
the canal between Barber-Werner Rd. and Rt. 66.  The marked trail is very 
close to rt. 66, sometimes just a grassy area along the side of the busy 
road, and much less pleasant to hike than the east side.
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