My husband, Shaun, and I recently celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. We wanted to find something to do together that day, that would be memorable. We decided to go to the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio to check out the canopy walk and emergent tower.
Since I can’t explain it any better than their website: “The Holden Arboretum is an outdoor living museum on 3,600 acres that promotes the beauty and importance of trees and other woody plants. The grounds feature over 20 miles of trails that lead you through cultivated gardens and native forests. The Arboretum also features the Murch Canopy Walk, an elevated walkway 65 feet above the forest floor, and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower, a wooden tower that rises 120 feet above the forest floor for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.”
First, we took the hour and 15 minute drive from Lodi to Kirtland, paid $14 per person at the gate, and they gave us our tickets that would allow us onto the canopy walk and emergent tower. If you want to just visit the grounds, it only cost $10. If you live nearby, you can get a yearly membership and go whenever you want.
Next we found parking and made a pit stop at the visitor center to get our bearings and look at the map. We headed out first for the canopy walk. It’s about a half mile walk through flowered gardens. On the way we stopped in different areas to take pictures of all the beautiful rhododendrons and other flowers.
We arrived at the canopy walk and since I’m not afraid of heights, I had no problem walking up the ramp and onto the suspended walkway over the forest. The bridge was safe and stable although it did have some wobble and give to it. I enjoyed looking over the sides down to the ground. It gives me that sense of excitement and fear. Shaun said that’s the feeling of vertigo. Either way, I like the feeling of a little danger. There were three platforms along the way that had information about the different kinds of wildlife you might have the pleasure of seeing when off of the ground. I didn’t know I’d be writing this blog, so I didn’t commit them to memory, but they explained how bats like to sleep under the shedding tree bark to keep cool during the day; that there is a black snake that can climb the trees nearby (glad I didn’t see one!); and that woodpeckers have really long tongues to reach the insects in the trees.
We could see the emergent tower from the canopy walk so we thought it wouldn’t be too far. It turned out the path there is a winding trail, it took another few minutes to get there. We are quick walkers so if you’re slower, it will take you a little longer, but at least it’s cool in the shade, there is plenty to look at along the way, and benches to rest. Oh, and also several porta-potties setup if nature calls!
Before ascending the tower, we stopped to get a picture of ourselves at the bottom. We started up the spiral steps that went around the outside of it with resting decks along the way and educational plaques explaining the tower and more forest and wildlife information. We once participated in an event in Cleveland called Tackle the Tower, so I knew climbing these steps would have me gasping for air if we did it too fast. We were brisk but took a little time at the resting decks and to allow other people to descend.
The stairway is wide enough for two but since most people were holding the railing, it was easier to wait. We kept going as there were a lot of steps. I told Shaun that I was going to count them on the way back down. Finally at the top we reaped the rewards of our workout. The view was amazing. It was a clear day, so we could see all the way to Lake Erie. It was breathtaking to be so high up over all the trees. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the fall when all the leaves are changing colors. I again looked over the side down to the ground and got my fix of that “feeling”.
There was an employee at the top so we asked her how many steps there are on the tower. She said there are 202, but she usually gets bored counting them on the way down. Challenge accepted! We took some more pictures of us together and I was so happy to enjoy the beauty God designed and to be spending it with the love of my life on our anniversary.
We descended in silence, counting quietly in our heads. 1..2..3..4..5..6..7…………….202!