Walking the Scioto Mile

Ever since this new walking/biking path was built along the Scioto River in downtown Columbus, I’ve wanted to walk its length. I had heard so much about how beautiful it was, but I had no one to take me and walk with me. Finally, I had an incentive to recruit a volunteer to check it out, because the national conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind will be held in Columbus next July. They start each convention with a walkathon, and I was tapped to be the local person to recommend a venue for the walk.

My fabulous friend Eve and I went downtown on Wednesday to first walk the Scioto Mile, and then we checked out a possible route on the Ohio State campus. Eve is one of the few people I know who can walk at my pace, about 3.5 MPH, and who is willing to devote a whole day to helping me with such a project. It was great to catch up with her news as well as to share mine. Eve was great at describing all the points of interest along the way. We started at North Bank Park, where there were 14 round tables permanently placed near the path, perfect for setting up the registrations and handouts, as well as the starting ceremony. There were little fountains alongside the path. There was the replica of the Santa Maria. There was a sculpture of a man, woman, and child, who were dressed in clothing from the 1800s. We passed the fire fighters memorial with the eternal flame. There was an animal sculpture garden for children, as well as the sparkling and artistic fountain at the other end of the mile, that squirts water up from the pavement in random spots, causing delighted squeals from the kids running through it. To add to our pleasure, we heard ducks and geese on the water, and Eve saw a Great Blue Heron. Eve pointed out that there were benches placed all along the path, and there were several places created just for overlooking the river. It felt really good to stride out for a longer distance than just around the block, which is about all my dear little Pippen can manage these days. I have to admit though, that by the end of the day, I was one tired puppy. Being a little out of shape and suffering with sciatica made the adventure a little more challenging than I expected. Still, it was so much fun to experience this Columbus treasure. I was very impressed. I had made my decision that this would be the best place for the walkathon, but just to be sure we had made the right choice, we drove over to the OSU campus and walked one lap around the Oval. While the idea of holding the walkathon at Ohio State was appealing, we determined that because the organizers wanted a shorter walk this year, we wouldn’t really have time to show off the campus. There are several other places we could hold a walkathon, but there were also several other criteria that will limit our options, such as being fairly close to the hotel where the convention will be.

When I got home, I called the chairman of the walkathon committee and reported my findings. I’ll let you know later if they accepted my recommendation. Meanwhile, I hope to go walking on the Scioto Mile again. It was a great discovery for me, and I hope to show it off to my ACB friends next July.

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