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Cleveland Metroparks 2024 Trail Challenge

Welcome to the 2024 Trail Challenge, a guest led program where you are challenged to complete 10 trails in 10 different Cleveland Metroparks reservations on your own in 2024! Explore new trails, move to better health, discover the wonders of nature, and earn a prize.

My wife and co-blogger, Julie, and I have completed the Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge in the past, taking most of the year to do it. This year, I decided to do something different, and complete the challenge in one week. I picked the first full week of February (5 days: February 5-9, 2024) to hike "... in 10 different Cleveland Metroparks reservations ..." In total, I hiked five days on 14 trails in ten reservations, and worked out at a gym on four of the mornings. I also ended the week on Saturday, February 10, 2024, by attending a Northeastern Ohio Orienteering Club event where they had developed a new map for the Geauga Park District's The West Woods.

What follows are some trail resources, followed by information and photos/videos from the trails I hiked. I hope this blog post encourages you to get out on our local park trails in 2024!

Cleveland Metroparks 2024 Trail Challenge

Saturday, February 10, 2024 - 2024 West Woods Classic-O

January 22, 2024, Stuart O. Smith, Jr., with Spectrum News 1 reporter Kimberly Perez at Bridal Veil Falls parking in Bedford Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks

This, my fifth HCM blog post, is about my being interviewed on January 22, 2024, by Spectrum News 1 reporter Kimberly Perez. It is a continuation of the last HCM recovery blog post, and a result of my cardiologist, Eiran Gorodeski MD, MPH, recommending that I share my story on television. I refer to this as my second "recovery" blog post of my HCM series.

Hiking on the Buckeye Trail, starting two months after my open-heart surgery, was a big part of my recovering my strength, stamina, and balance. When I was contacted to be interviewed by Kimberly Perez from Spectrum News 1 on Monday, January 22, 2024, I thought it was very important to have the interview take place on the Buckeye Trail. I suggested she conduct the interview while we hiked together on the Buckeye Trail to the Bridal Veil Falls Scenic Overlook in the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation. These Falls are on a beautiful section of the trail that is easy to reach by a short walk from your car.

I arranged for my wife and co-blogger, Julie, to join us to take photos of the interview process. I am so glad that she was able to attend, since she captured the beauty of the area with her photography. The day after I posted photos, the Buckeye Trail Association shared my Facebook post with their 11,000+ Facebook followers.

The temperature was in the 30s when Kimberly Perez and I starting talking while walking down the trail. She used her smartphone to record my answers to her questions, as I told my story of past backpacking trips; my debilitating HCM symptoms in the spring of 2023; and my recovery, which led to my backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail.

On Saturday, February 10, 2024, at the same time I was heading to a Northeastern Ohio Orienteering Club event, Spectrum News 1 posted their video about me. Please watch the video and accompanying article.

I am already planning more adventures in 2024, which are possible thanks to my successful open-heart surgery at University Hospitals.

Celebrating Weird & Wonderful Art: Maelstrom Collaborative Arts' Saturnalia 2024

I decided to write this blog post for two purposes:

Celebrating Weird & Wonderful Art: Maelstrom Collaborative Arts' Saturnalia 2024

I support what Maelstrom Collaborative Arts has created, and I was impressed by the friendliness of everyone at Saturnalia 2024. The format of the evening allowed the performers to become the audience for other performers, and therefore encouraged everyone to socialize.

I hope this blog post encourages you to learn more about Maelstrom Collaborative Arts and to partake in some of their entertainment!

January 26, 2024 - Jonathan Stone, Joshua Edmonds, and Chad Porter celebrating with a champagne toast at DigitalC Citywide Network Launch Party!

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Friday, January 26, 2024, SOLD OUT DigitalC Citywide Network Launch Party -- so much information was shared that evening about what will be happening this year in Cleveland!

DigitalC Citywide Network Launch Party! MIDTOWN TECH HIVE | 6 - 10 P.M. | JANUARY 26, 2024

I am putting this blog post together for three reasons:

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  • First, to share a little about the interesting information I learned at the launch event and my past interest in DigitalC's work. Creative solutions to the digital divide issue in Cleveland has always been of interest to me.

  • Second, to establish what I publish here as a starting benchmark of expectations. From this starting point, the community can measure the progress of DigitalC's staff as they move forward with the Cleveland digital revolution that they have envisioned.

  • Finally, to make this my first step in fulfilling the commitment that all the attendees to the DigitalC Citywide Network Launch Party were asked to make: To support the mission of the organization using whatever resources you have available.

It is my hope that this blog post encourages you to join the people who attended the launch event in making the commitment to support the DigitalC mission.

December 12, 2023, TV-3 Heartstrings Broadcast about me: Northeast Ohio man hikes portion of Appalachian Trail months after open-heart surgery

On June 11, 2023, I ended my third Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy blog post questioning whether I would have a fourth "recovery" blog post:

Well, my idea of writing an HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) recovery blog post changed from a doubt to a must-do when my cardiologist, Eiran Gorodeski MD, MPH, recommended I share my story with others on television. He had University Hospitals Senior Media Relations Strategist Carly Belsterling contact me on October 16, 2023. After an initial interview with her, I met with TV-3 News Special Projects Reporter Lindsay Buckingham on December 5, 2023, at a special location. Dr. Gorodeski was also interviewed for the news story, and he shared how I have a specific type of heart failure called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that affects about 750,000 Americans.

In this recovery blog post, I will share an update on the great progress I have made, information about the significance of the interview's location, and then the actual interview that was broadcast, along with its companion article.

PechaKucha Night Cleveland: Untold Lakefront Stories & Announcement of Lakefront's Future

On October 29, 2023, I started writing this blog post, but I was delayed in finishing it until the middle of December due to another family emergency and some back-end work on my sosAssociates.com website. I am glad that I have now completed this blog post, since the topic presented is part of a long-term trend I have written about in the past. It deals with the important work of improving the City of Cleveland's (and this region's) waterfront and park systems. The plan presented is very long-term, so I wanted to capture today's ideas, and compare them with the future reality.

PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 39 - Untold Lakefront Stories took place on October 20, 2023, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Cleveland's NorthCoast Harbor.

This particular PechaKucha Night Cleveland was very unique!! It first presented the interesting history of Cleveland's Lakefront from a variety of cultural viewpoints, and then showed how the future will build on this past as outlined in the newly updated Cleveland’s North Coast Master Plan.

I also include in this blog post what was recently shared at follow-up presentations that took place after PechaKucha Night Cleveland Untold Lakefront Stories. We are fortunate that so much was shared online from these follow-up events.

The following are the sections of this blog post:

I hope to look back at this blog post in future years after the project is completed and I am standing on the lakeshore enjoying the new lakefront of Cleveland.

RIP Twitter Bird (2010 - 2023)

Starting in 2010, I would annually announce/celebrate my Twitterversary at the beginning of October with a tweet, and on some years, a Twitterversary blog post. This year, with the owner of Twitter deciding to kill off the Twitter bird, and my being barred from using Twitter in any productive way, my Twitterversary is canceled for 2023. For me, the Twitter that I had known and found useful is now gone.

I am publishing this blog post about the end of Twitter on this, the last day of October 2023, as my way to:

  • Thank those who commented about my departure publicly on what used to be Twitter

  • Acknowledge the change (mourn the loss)

  • Celebrate the past

Touring the Norman Rockwell Museum on Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Now that I have returned from my Appalachian Trail adventure trip, I want to take the time to publish this blog post about my visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum one month ago on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.

Humorous Four Sporting Boys Norman Rockwell prints that my mom framed for my room as a child

I had grown up with some humorous "Four Sporting Boys" Norman Rockwell prints that my mom framed for my room as a child, and which, as an adult, I put in my sons' room. I also was active in Scouting, and thus saw almost all of the Normal Rockwell "Boy Scouts" prints. They were displayed at the church where my troop had its meetings. The first time I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum, I thought I knew Norman Rockwell's artwork, but as I wrote in my thru-hike journal, seeing this original artwork was nothing less than amazing!!

However, I want to be clear that, as I learned on my first visit and confirmed on subsequent vists, while you may feel you know Norman Rockwell's work, it is not the same as seeing the original artwork. Look at the brush strokes -- get close and look at the texture -- take a museum guided tour to learn the story behind what you are seeing. Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in person!

Every time I have visited the Norman Rockwell Museum, I have learned and seen something new. I hope this blog post encourages you to visit the museum if you are ever in Massachusetts. I look forward to visiting the museum again -- maybe even next year as I hike from Massachusetts into Vermont and beyond, as I continue north on the Appalachian Trail.

The day after attending IngenuityFest 2023: Biologies & Geologies (September 22 & 23, 2023), I left on a trip. Now that I have returned, I want to publicly express here how grateful I am to Ingenuity Cleveland leadership and their community partners for this year's gathering of creative people in Cleveland.

My son, Mike, and I enjoyed exploring the artistically lit caverns of Ingenuity Cleveland's 300,000-square-foot Hamilton Collaborative on the evening of Friday, September 22, 2023. There we found music, art, and much more!!

Then, on Saturday, September 23, 2023, Mike and I returned with our whole family to explore more. In addition to seeing more of the exhibitions I enjoyed Friday night, I spent time talking to people at the community organization booths in the upper part of the building. There is where I learned about the latest new happenings in Cleveland.

Since its founding in 2004, IngenuityFest has featured both technology and art. These are both areas that interest me greatly, so it is no surprise that I have been writing about IngenuityFest from the first year I started writing my blog in 2012.

I have been writing about IngenuityFest since 2012, but I have been taking my family to this great event for even longer. I look forward to attending again next year!

34th Annual Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival

Starting with the 2012 Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival, I have created a blog post every year to capture some of the incredible chalk art created on the Fine Arts Garden's stone pathways in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. This includes both 2020, when #CMAChalkFestival was online only -- "Social Distancing Style" -- due to COVID-19, and 2021, when "a spur-of-the-moment trip south to take care of some family business prevented me from attending," but my son, Kevin F. Smith, saved the day by attending and sharing photos on social media.

I enjoyed creating chalk drawings at the event in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, but have not participated as an artist in recent years.

I am so glad I was able to attend the 34th Annual Cleveland Museum of Art Chalk Festival on Sunday, September 17, 2023 -- my 11th year taking photos and videos of the event. I hope you enjoy what I put together to capture the artwork and the atmosphere of the event.

NASA Aviation Day - Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at the Cleveland IX Center

Thank you, NASA Glenn Research Center, for the NASA Aviation Day which was a free, public event that took place on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at the Cleveland IX Center. I enjoyed talking to NASA Aeronautics staff members. They shared their knowledge about new technology developments with great passion.

I am sharing my photos, videos, and comments about the day in this blog post, since I appreciated the opportunity to learn about the latest NASA developments for the aviation industry. I also want to thank Tom Kunsman for recommending that I attend this NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) event! I recommend following Tom on social media (on BlueSky), since he does an excellent job of promoting all things NASA happening in Cleveland.

I enjoyed the morning's panel discussions at NASA Aviation Day. I learned about very new technology and safety developments happening at NASA Aeronautics.

Four Transformations for Sustainability, Greater Mobility, and Economic Growth:

  • ULTRA-EFFICIENT AIRLINERS
  • FUTURE AIRSPACE AND SAFETY
  • HIGH SPEED COMMERCIAL FLIGHT
  • ADVANCED AIR MOBILITY

After the morning's NASA Aviation Day panel discussions, I toured the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) display area. People usually associate NASA with space travel, but at this event, the emphasis was on the first "A" in NASA -- Aeronautics.

I truly enjoyed talking to NASA Aeronautics staff — they have such incredible passion for what they do, and are willing to share their knowledge as I ask questions .

NASA events are always interesting. I look forward to attending more of them in the future.

August 27, 2023 - 77th Annual Cleveland One World Day

I want to start off this blog post by first congratulating the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation leadership and the many volunteers who contributed their time and talent to make this year's One World Day a grand success! Not only did they break a record for the number of participants in the 2023 Parade of Flags, but the Northeast Ohio community came together to support their vision of "peace through mutual understanding" by having a record number of people attending on Sunday, August 27, 2023!

I always have a great time at Cleveland's One World Day, and this year, the 77th Annual, I was fortunate that my wife and co-blogger, Julie, was available to join me in the fun! Looking at my past "Cleveland Cultural Gardens" blog posts, I see that it was ten years ago that I attended this Cleveland muti-cultural event for the first time. Wow, ten years ago! I am particularly impressed by the number of new gardens that continue to be created.

I am grateful to have been able to attend One World Day for these past 10 years, and I appreciate the leadership of the organizers for their work to continue and expand this great Cleveland tradition into the future!

10th Annual Buckeye TrailFest, Shawnee State Park

I am so glad that I was able to attend the 10th Annual Buckeye TrailFest at Shawnee State Park, which was held Thursday - Sunday, August 17-20, 2023. As I wrote in my last blog post, Summer Vacation 2023: South Haven, Michigan and Merry-Go-Round Museum, I have been very busy since recovering from my April surgery, but I still wanted to take the time to put together this blog post for two reasons that are important to me:

  1. I want to encourage others to learn about the Buckeye TrailFest and the important work of the Buckeye Trail Association in maintaining the longest trail in any one state in this country.

  2. The main purpose of this blog post is to thank the organizers and presenters of the Buckeye TrailFest 2023 for sharing their talents to create a successful event. I am very grateful for all their efforts to make a welcoming and educational event for all attendees.

I look forward to more journeys on Ohio's long trail -- the Buckeye Trail -- in my future.

Author(s):

Summer Vacation 2023: South Haven, Michigan and Merry-Go-Round Museum

We wanted to share our summer vacation with you, so we created this blog post to capture our experiences in and around South Haven, Michigan, and at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio. Originally, we had planned a trip to Alaska for August 2023 that we decided to cancel due to the uncertainty about Stuart's recovery following his surgery. We thought it was best to make our 2023 vacation within a day's drive from our home. South Haven is just over four and a half hours from Cleveland.

We organized this blog post around Stuart's photos and videos about different parts of our vacation:

Monday, July 31, 2023 - Monday, August 7, 2023, Michigan Vacation

Monday/Tuesday, August 7 - 8, 2023 - Exploring Sandusky & Huron, Ohio

We hope you enjoy learning about our vacation!

We were very grateful to be able to go on this wonderful vacation after the events that occurred earlier this year.

Community Celebration 2023: Cleveland Foundation New Beginnings

A year ago, I learned about and planned on attending the grand opening of the Cleveland Foundation's new headquarters building in 2023. I had learned that the building was going to be much more than the Foundation's home for their staff to work in -- it will also be a resource for the greater community to use! A new role in the community for the Foundation -- very exciting! I looked forward to the opening and to being part of the community celebration.

Next, in May 2023, it was announced that in addition to the new beginning with a new building, there would be a change in Cleveland Foundation professional leadership -- President & CEO Ronn Richard's retirement would lead to the installation of Lillian Kuri as the new leader of the Foundation on August 1, 2023.

Finally, as I attended the Cleveland Foundation 2023 Annual Meeting and open house/tour, I learned about more new beginnings -- a second building!!

In this blog post, I will share announcements that were made before the 2023 Annual Meeting and related festivities, and then write about my experiences at the following celebrations:

I learned about another reason to celebrate in the near future:

2023 Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting

Exploring Our City's Past: Cleveland History Days 2023

For me, the timing of the Cleveland History Days 2023 was perfect, since it was two months after my septal myectomy open-heart surgery at University Hospitals, and I was finally able to be active again for the first time in 2023.

With over 50 events happening during Cleveland History Days 2023, I was grateful to the organizations that hosted so many interesting activities. I did elect to skip the the Cleveland "Take A Hike" tours, since I was unsure of myself doing a lot of walking, but near the end of the 10 days of activities, I felt well enough to attend the "Ohio Freedom Path Hike" on Saturday, July 1, 2023. I can highly recommend the Cleveland "Take A Hike" tours from attending them with my wife in the past. I have heard that in recent years they have developed new tour locations and updated old favorite tours.

I was so impressed with all that was happening during these 10 days, that I wanted to capture what I could in my blog post. I hope you enjoy the following and share with others. Remember that even though Cleveland History Days is only once a year, most of the the places it features are available to explore year round!

Please read about the following:

While in the post-surgical telemetry unit, my heart was always being tracked with a radio monitor -- leave the floor and I would be disconnected!

In this third and final blog post about my December 2022 through spring 2023 experiences with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I share information about my week on the University Hospitals third-floor in both the Cardiothoracic ICU (intensive care unit), and then the post-surgical telemetry unit. I end the blog post writing about my first week and month at home.

It is interesting how my progress was not linear -- I had bad times after good. My strength and pain came and went away with no logical relation to what I was doing.

After the first week at home (May 4-11, 2023), issues arose that seriously slowed me down. Apparently, my successful first week of feeling energetic enough to walk was not the norm. Very similar to my experience in the hospital, my progress was not linear -- I had bad times after good.

It is hard to explain -- at the same time I felt so much better than I had for the first four months of this year with my hypertrophic cardiomyopathy symptoms, I now had problems caused by the after-effects of the surgery. The debilitating symptoms from having a deformed heart caused by HCM were eliminated by the surgery, but the surgery caused issues!

April 27, 2023, at 5:34 am, arrived at University Hospitals for the BIG DAY! Septal Myectomy Surgery Day!

On March 28, 2023, Cardiologist Eiran Gorodeski MD, MPH., my wife, and I reviewed my options now that CAMZYOS® (mavacamten) was shown to not be a successful treatment for my hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Before the meeting, I identified and researched what I thought were my five options going forward after the CAMZYOS® failed to work for me. I put together a spreadsheet with columns laying out the pros and cons of all five options, along with my questions for the two most likely options. I brought my laptop with the spreadsheet to my appointment with the results of my research.

In reality, I already knew before the appointment that I was down to just two valid options, but I was glad that I prepared for the appointment so that my choices were based on research and not just emotion.

The cardiologist appointment ended with Dr. Gorodeski making a referral for one appointment (on April 7, 2023) with both Interventional Cardiologist Anene Ukaigwe, MD, and Cardiac Surgeon Yasir Abu-Omar, MD, to get their opinion on if I was a good candidate for alcohol septal ablation and/or septal myectomy.

On April 7, 2023, I had an appointment to choose one of two life-changing procedures to regain the life I had before I started having hypertrophic cardiomyopathy related symptoms approximately four months ago. (I wore my Continental Divide Trail t-shirt to the appointment to remind me of the appointment's significance.) During my appointment, the two doctors reviewed the current statistics regarding the success and risks for alcohol septal ablation and septal myectomy. In the end, they let me know that I was a good candidate for either procedure -- the decision was mine!!

CAMZYOS® prescription for Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

 

As I wrote in my "2022 Reflections" blog post, I was very active last year, but I ended the year having reservations on what the new year would bring.

With all of my activities in 2022, and throughout my life, you would not know that I had a progressive, genetic heart disease that would lead me to have to stop almost all my activities as I started 2023.

Being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy reminds me again (since I already knew) why I made time in recent years to hike sections of America's long trails (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail) and stay active attending events in the Cleveland/Akron area while I still had my health. I plan to return to my normal, active life after I find a successful treatment.

As you will read in this blog post about my condition, you will learn that despite having hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, modern medicine does offer hope for getting rid of the debilitating symptoms.

sosAssociates.com Blogiversary: Eleven

Today, March 8, 2023, I celebrate eleven years of creating my sosAssociates.com blog!!

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”
-- Heraclitus.

In my 2021 sosAssociates.com Blogiversary: Nine -- In the year of Social Distancing! blog post, I wrote about how the world had changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 8th of last year, as I published my blog post sosAssociates.com Blogiversary: Ten -- I can't believe this is the TENTH YEAR!!, I was fairly prepared for change -- on February 10, 2022, my dad had moved to the Cleveland area so that my sister and I could care for him. Unfortunately, as we entered 2023, my dad, Stuart O. Smith, Sr., passed away on the morning of Friday, January 6, 2023, at the age of 89.

Now, as I write my 2023 Blogiversary blog post, I am in the middle of another potentially life-changing situation, but I believe I have a good support team that will help me find a successful solution to overcome the current challenge. I hope to write a blog post later this year to document my planned success.

The focus of my blog posts has evolved over these 11 years since my co-writer and wife, Julie Smith, and I started writing our blog posts on March 8, 2012. I enjoy documenting activities in which I participate, and invite you to read my blog posts that cover topics of interest to you.

Belated New Year Thank Yous & 2022 Reflections

For the past eight years, I have ended the old year and started the new year by creating thank-you tweets as a way to show my gratitude to the many people and organizations that had a positive impact on the lives of my family this past year. I would then compile those tweets, along with others from the year, into a year-end blog post that I would invite you to read.

From mid-September 2022 through the end of the year, my wife and I have had several challenges involving more than one family member, and we knew we would enter the new year with some uncertainty. This caused me to delay the process of creating my annual, new year blog post until the middle of the first month of the new year (Sunday, January 15, 2023).

I want to now share some of my adventures and activities from this past year, and state how I appreciate those people/organizations that enriched my life in 2022. I am also using the blog post to honor my dad, Stuart O. Smith, Sr., and express how grateful I am to have had a great deal of quality time with him this past year.

I want to wish you who are reading this blog post all the best as we begin a new year full of possibilities!

Wearing safety gear after sewer tour. Note that I am wearing my Continental Divide Trail shirt

Thank you to The City Club and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) for the Tuesday, October 11, 2022, "... unique tour inside NEORSD’s sewer system at Edgewater Beach." The following is about the sewer tour, along with additional information about NEORSD and its water outfall near Cleveland Metroparks Edgewater Beach.

I am so glad that I saw @TheCityClub's September 27th morning tweet, so I could sign up to be one of the 20 participants for the Tuesday, October 11, 2022, tour.

I was glad to read that so many people were interested in the 50 Years of Clean Water Investment event that The City Club had to create a waiting list! For years, I have been interested in seeing what was beyond the Edgewater entrance gate of the sewer. I was grateful to be one of the few fortunate people who were allowed to go on the tour.

IngenuityFest 2022 - Expo: Ingenuity

I normally spend three full days at the annual IngenuityFest Weekend, but family commitments only allowed me to visit on Saturday, September 24, 2022, for three hours in the evening. I was so impressed with the event, I want to share in this blog post the photos/videos that I and others shared about the weekend. After 2020's IngenuityFest being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year being an outdoor event at the Cleveland Metroparks, it was good to be back at a more traditional IngenuityFest Weekend of creativity at the Hamilton Collaborative location.

I also want to mention that one of the highlights, in addition to the incredible displays and performances, was reconnecting with people that I have not seen in person the last few years. It has been a difficult time for many people, and I am grateful to the artists who are IngenuityFest, and the sponsors that support their work.

IngenuityFest 2022 Sponsors

Cleveland Museum of Art's 33rd Annual Chalk Festival

Chalk Festival

Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11, 12:00–5:00 p.m.
Fine Arts Garden

Children and adults enjoy this annual event where community members join professional artists in using the walkways around the Fine Arts Garden as a colorful canvas. Begun in 1990, our festival is a modern expression of a Renaissance tradition from 16th-century Italy in which beggars copied paintings of the Madonna by Raphael and his contemporaries using chalk on the plazas outside cathedrals. Watching the chalk artists and enjoying the entertainment is free.

I was so glad to be back in person after two years!! In 2020, for the 31st annual Cleveland Museum of Art's Chalk Festival, the event went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, "I was very disappointed that a spur-of-the-moment trip south to take care of some family business prevented me from attending ... cryingcryingcryingcryingcrying" but "I was rewarded greatly by the Cleveland Twitterverse," who posted their photos online so that I was able to share them in my blog post.

I was so pleased that the 33rd Annual Chalk Festival would take place in the Fine Arts Garden on Saturday/Sunday, September 10 and 11, 2022, rain or shine! These were dates I could attend!!

The following is my eleventh Cleveland Chalk Festival blog post. I really enjoy seeing the creativity each year (which is why I even wrote blog posts for the two years I enjoyed remotely). Please retweet any tweets that have photos of chalk artwork you enjoy to encourage more people to attend and participate in future years!

FRONT International 2022 - July 16 through October 2

Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, the second iteration of FRONT International, will run from July 16 through October 2, 2022. Building on the success of the first edition, FRONT 2022 will further the Triennial’s commitment to stimulating new and sustained cultural conversations within the region.

The following blog post is from my tour of FRONT International and CAN Triennial venues in University Circle on several days in July/August 2022, and about the Friday, July 29, 2022, PechaKucha Night Cleveland event. I had planned on publishing this blog post on Friday, August 26, 2022, which is the day I went to the Akron FRONT International venues, but got busy with some family commitments and did not have time to finish writing everything I wanted to add to the blog post.

I have now decided to just publish this blog post "as is" (please read the tweets text to get most of the story) before FRONT International closes on October 2, 2022.

Thank you, Hyland, for hosting Cleveland GiveCamp's volunteers, who generously gave of their talent to provide free tech to the Cleveland GiveCamp 2022 Nonprofit Partners!

After missing 2020 and going virtual in 2021 due to COVID-19 safety considerations, at the start of 2022, the Cleveland GiveCamp Steering Committee was open to new possibilities as to what form the free tech solutions would be provided to local nonprofits.

Cleveland GiveCamp 2022 stayed with the weekend format of nonprofit teams and standup progress meetings, but new this year was:

  • the location -- Hyland
  • the month -- August instead of the traditional third Saturday in July
  • offering a hybrid option -- a combination of remote and in-person volunteers, which one nonprofit team utilized

In this blog post, I will:

While the most important activity happens over Cleveland GiveCamp Weekend, when the tech solutions are actually developed for the Nonprofit Partners, Cleveland GiveCamp is a year-round organization plannings and preparing for the weekend of service.

Family Time: Euclid Beach Park Days & Motorcycles/Tractors

I am creating this blog post to capture my memories of three exhibits that I visited with members of my family on two days in July. Each of these exhibits has a unique connection to me and/or my family:

On Sunday, July 24, 2022, I visited the Western Reserve Historical Society's Cleveland History Center, and a week later, on Sunday, July 31, 2022, I visited Lake Metroparks Farmpark. In addition to the personal connection of these events, it was interesting to compare the motorcycle engines with the engines shown at the Farmpark.

Jon Rudder interviews the next generation of amusement park historians! Kevin Smith & Troy Parsh

Press - Preview - Party: 2022 FRONT International

Dear Stuart,

I am excited to share with you an update and an invitation to celebrate the opening of the second edition of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. Prem Krishnamurthy, our FRONT 2022 Artistic Director, has assembled a brilliant exhibition sprawling across 30 venues in Northeast Ohio and featuring a dazzling array of over 100 artists, including art stars like Julie Mehretu, Firelei Baez, Renée Green, Yoshitomo Nara, Jacolby Satterwhite.

Anticipation is high, and the press is calling FRONT one of the must-see art events of the year, along with documenta and the Venice Bienalle.

The title of FRONT 2022, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows is inspired by a couplet by Langston Hughes, . . .

Our preview days are July 14 and 15, and we would be delighted to have you join artists and art lovers from across the country to share a packed calendar of events and programming. . . .

Laura and I  would be pleased to have you as our guests for an open house brunch at our home from 10:00 to 12:00 on July 15 and 16. . . .

Of course, FRONT runs through October 2, and we would love to see you any time this Summer. I would love to hear your thoughts and impressions.

With warm regards,
Fred Bidwell
Executive Director

I am grateful that Fred Bidwell emailed me an invitation to attend the 2022 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art preview events. It was great to learn more about, and get an advanced look at some of the venues before “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows” opened to the public on July 16, 2022. It runs through October 2, 2022.

As background, I put together both "Preview Exhibition" and "Personal Prequel" blog posts, which cover my interests and activities relating to FRONT International between the 2018 events and the start of the 2022.

The scope of this second FRONT International is so large that the preview barely gave a nibble of the full banquet of northeast Ohio art that is now available for exploration. As I prepared this blog post, I learned more and more, but also realized that there still is much more to learn. In 2018, my wife and co-blogger, Julie, enjoyed visiting and blogging about many of the venues we visited, and we look forward to exploring the new art at the 2022 venues.

This blog post includes both the two days of preview events and the kickoff block party, plus additional information:

FRONT International 2022 Preview Days - July 14 & 15

Personal Prequel: 2022 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

I entitled this blog post starting with the words "Personal Prequel," since it covers my interests and activities relating to FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, between the 2018 events and the start of the 2022 events. It certainly does not include all that has taken place between the years of the first event and the second, but instead is my attempt to capture some of the spirit of FRONT International that I enjoy.

I wanted to make a point to thank Fred and Laura Bidwell for opening their home to announce the plans for the next FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

I am writing this blog post as we enter the kickoff week of FRONT International. Please watch and share with others the tweets I share as I attend events, and watch for future blog posts. Also, feel free to tag me on Twitter as you explore FRONT International venues and activities, so I can share in your enjoyment, and retweet.

Cleveland Shakespeare Festival's Saturday, July 2, 2022, performance of "Hamlet" at James A. Garfield National Historic Site

Over the years, I have attended Cleveland Shakespeare Festival shows at many venues around northeast Ohio, and I have even participated in their "Open Mic Shakespeare" nights at Negative Space Gallery and Mac's Backs Books. While I have enjoyed Cleveland Shakespeare Festival actors' performances at all the outdoor venues where I have seen them perform, it was at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site on July 1, 2017, that I learned of the Garfield connection with Shakespeare. I learned that the Garfield family often entertained themselves reading Shakespeare's plays!

This connection that President Garfield and his family had with William Shakespeare made Saturday, July 2, 2022, even more interesting to me as I enjoyed seeing:

I had a truly serendipitous moment that led me to a very enjoyable time talking to a Moreland Hills Historical Society volunteer, Debbie, at the James A. Garfield Birth Site! I had not planned on visiting the birthplace, but happened to drive by it and decided to stop.

On the James A. Garfield National Historic Site house tour, I took a lot of photos to try to capture the feeling of the house, but you really need to take the tour yourself to experience it.

...The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

Congratulations to Cleveland Shakespeare Festival on your 25th season! I am glad to be able to celebrate this accomplishment by attending your production of Hamlet at a fitting location -- the James A. Garfield National Historic Site.

I want to thank the James A. Garfield Birth Site, James A. Garfield National Historic Site, and Cleveland Shakespeare Festival for the interesting and entertaining day. I highly encourage you to participate in the activities of these three organizations.

I hope this blog post encourages you to explore theatrical productions of Shakespeare’s work, and to learn about the 20th U.S. President's life in Ohio.

Celebrating Cleveland's Riverfront: Canalway Partners 2022 Cuyahoga River Rally

It was hot in Cleveland on Saturday, June 25, 2022, but despite the heat, it was a great day to explore our city's evolving riverfront at the Canalway Partners 2022 Cuyahoga River Rally. I have written several blog posts about discovering the waterfront along the Cuyahoga River, and how every year the access improves. Thank you to Canalway Partners for bringing everyone together to learn about our river.

Canalway Partners' Cuyahoga River Rally is part of Cleveland History Days, a week-long celebration of our city’s rich legacy.

I am so glad I brought my bike to the River Rally! While I have biked this area along the Cuyahoga River many times, I visited some new trails. The director of Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, Jim Sheehan,  shared some interesting history of the river.

While I already did follow @Cuyahoga_AOC (Advisory Committee for the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern) on Twitter, I was not aware of the "Cuyahoga River Area of Concern" designation by the EPA, which I learned about on the walk. I look forward to learning more about the AOC, and I enjoyed learning about future plans for this part of the waterfront.

It was great to meet Eddie Olschansky who, as the founder of Trash Fish, spends his days cleaning area rivers in northeast Ohio. He organizes volunteers to go out on kayaks and pick up trash.

Near the end of the rally, I enjoyed talking to some members of the Canalway Partners Board of Directors about their important work. It is amazing what has been accomplished in the 35-year history of Canalway Partners.

I want to finish this blog post by not only thanking Canalway Partners for their 2022 Cuyahoga River Rally, but also for their ongoing work to improve the quality of life by developing new resources to enjoy Cleveland's riverfront.

I hope you find the resources I shared in this blog post useful as you find our own fun and adventures along Cleveland's riverfront!

3 of 3: Fun Father's Day Weekend: Sunday -- Amusement Preservation Museum & Old Northwest Territory Primitive Rendezvous

3 of 3: Fun Father's Day Weekend: Sunday -- Amusement Preservation Museum & Old Northwest Territory Primitive Rendezvous

Read tweets below in this blog post to learn about:
  • The fun places my family took me for Father's Day 2022
  • Amusement Preservation Museum -- See photos from this incredible collection and watch the videos of the “Swingin’ Gyms."
  • 32nd Old Northwest Territory Primitive Rendezvous at Medina County Parks's Hidden Hollow Camp. I invite you to look at the photos closely to see the old-time skills that the participants demonstrated
  • Princess Ledges Nature Preserve, Medina County Parks

2 of 3: Fun Father's Day Weekend: Saturday -- Service Project & The Longest Day of Play

I decided to create these three blog posts to remind me of the three days of fun I had over Father's Day Weekend. The text is the same at the beginning of all three, so I encourage you to read the tweets within the posts that tell the story of:

2 of 3: Fun Father's Day Weekend: Saturday -- Service Project & The Longest Day of Play

Read tweets below in this blog post to learn about:

  • Northeast Ohio Orienteering Club (NEOOC) service project at Richfield Heritage Preserve
    Be sure to click on the links in the tweets to learn about both of these great organizations!
  • Cleveland Metroparks  “The Longest Day of Play” at Euclid Beach
  • Cleveland United Way 2-1-1 service
  • Plastic Free Lake Erie
  • Step Forward - Ohio's designated anti-poverty agency for Cuyahoga County with early childhood education programs, adult skills training, and other services
  • Especially large waves on Lake Erie on this windy day. Be sure to view the videos of the waves.
  • Cleveland Metroparks Euclid Beach concessions serving Honey Hut Ice Cream
  • Drum circle and dancing
  • Ohio Sea Grant

1 of 3: Fun Father's Day Weekend: Friday -- Blue Heron Homecoming

I decided to create these three blog posts to remind me of the three days of fun I had over Father's Day Weekend. The text is the same at the beginning of all three, so I encourage you to read the tweets within the posts that tell the story of:

1 of 3: Fun Father's Day Weekend: Friday -- Blue Heron Homecoming

Read tweets below in this blog post to learn about:

  • Taking my dad to the Blue Heron Homecoming event
  • Summit Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Free cookout thanks to Lock 3 and Akron City Recreation Department
  • Akron Zoo staff showing how to practice good recycling/composting practices
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park

National Trails Day 2022: Buckeye Trail Association's Biggest Day Hike

It feels appropriate that the first blog post I am writing since my Continental Divide Trail backpacking adventure in April 2022 is about a National Trails Day® event -- the Buckeye Trail Association's Biggest Day Hike, which took place on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

It is great that the Buckeye Trail Association (@HikeTheBT) invited everyone to participate in celebrating Ohio's long trail by pledging to travel a segment of this over 1,400-mile trail for National Trails Day® 2022. This is the third year for the Buckeye Trail Association's Biggest Day Hike, which had the goal of having hikers/biker/horseback riders collectively complete the ENTIRE Buckeye Trail in one day.

American Hiking Society's 30th Annual National Trails Day®

Thank you, American Hiking Society and their sponsors/partners, for National Trails Day®!! It is a great way to bring awareness of all the great trails we have in our country.

It was great to see so many US trail organizations participate in National Trails Day® 2022. In addition to being a member of the Buckeye Trail Association (@HikeTheBT), I am a member of several other trail organizations.

I hope you find the resources I shared in this blog post useful as you find our own trail adventures. Happy Trails to you!

sosAssociates.com Blogiversary: Ten

My co-writer and wife, Julie Smith, and I started writing our blog posts on March 8, 2012. I can't believe this is my tenth blogiversary for sosAssociates.com!!! While the focus of this blog post has evolved over these ten years, the joy it brings in documenting activities in which I participate has continued!

Cleveland Winter Fun: 10th Annual Cleveland Kurentovanje and 12th Annual Brite Winter #Brite2022

Saturday, February 26, 2022, a day of outdoor Cleveland winter fun -- Cleveland Kurentovanje and Brite Winter!!!

This year, I attended two events where I joined with other people who laughed at the Cleveland cold by attending outdoor celebrations! After years of hearing about Cleveland Kurentovanje (koo-rehn-toh-VAHN-yeh), I finally attended this "Slovenian Mardi Gras" parade and festival in the afternoon. I then continued the fun with Brite Winter, which I enjoy every year.

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Returning to Cleveland Museum of Art for "Picturing Motherhood Now"

"... reimagine the possibilities for representing motherhood" - . . . You can't experience the depth of Picturing Motherhood Now by looking at photos on a website. You must see it in person to not only study the artwork closely, but also to read the messages that accompany the artwork. I know that I will need to return again to the museum to see the pieces I missed, and to look again at the artwork I found interesting.

The paragraph above is from the blog post that Stuart wrote after attending the Thursday, October 14, 2021, Picturing Motherhood Now Media & Influencer Event and Members Preview Party, where he knew that he would need to use our Cleveland Museum of Art membership benefit to return to see the exhibition again. This blog post includes our @sos_jr tweets and retweets sharing photos from our visit to Picturing Motherhood Now on Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

Stuart enjoyed his return visit, especially since he was joined by Julie, who brought new insight to this motherhood exhibition.

After our visit to Picturing Motherhood Now, we saw a display about the Cleveland Museum of Art's Motherhood Across Time tour in the area adjacent to the Ames Family Atrium. This tour takes you through the museum's collection to discover other works of art related to motherhood. Download the ArtLens App to learn more about museum tours.

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#NewYearsDay 2022 #ThankYou

As we have done the past seven years, we invite you to read our #NewYearsDay 2022 #ThankYou blog post in which we thank the many people and organizations that had a positive impact on our lives in 2021. This is our annual greeting as we end 2021 to all who read our blog, wishing you all the best as we begin a new year full of possibilities!

Our immediate family has been very fortunate in these past two difficult years, to be healthy and able to adjust to the lifestyle changes caused by the coronavirus crisis. Our thoughts are with those who have been ill or who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

2021 was our ninth year of blogging. As the year progressed in 2021, we were glad to finally stop writing our Social Distancing blog post series. but of course we are currently concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our community. We are also back to very strict social distancing protocols, which we started following again in mid-December 2021.

At 12:00 midnight New Year's Eve, we sent out an email to family members with a link to our 22nd annual family holiday web page. This is a family tradition through which we not only share our activities for the year, but it also becomes a record of our family history.

The following are tweets and retweets shared on the first day of the new year, and related tweets. The retweets represent some of what occurred during the year and others of particular interest. We also created tweets to thank many individuals and organizations that positively impacted our lives during 2021.

Wishing All Good People on the Twitterverse and Those People Who Read Our Blog Posts a Great Year in 2022!

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Saturday Night Fun With Creatives -- Maker Faire Cleveland Showcase 2021!

The Cleveland Public Library, for their Ninth Annual Maker Faire Cleveland, did the event a little differently than in past years. Instead of just a one-day maker event, they planned "family-friendly, free events at Cleveland Public Library locations across the city" for a full week! The week-long maker activities culminated in the Maker Faire Cleveland Showcase 2021 on Saturday, November 20th, at the Great Lakes Science Center.

In this blog post, we will share tweets with photos/videos leading up to and including our attendance at the Maker Faire Cleveland Showcase 2021.

A BIG thank-you to Tom Kunsman who made it a point to be sure that we knew about the Showcase. If it weren't for his tweet, we might have missed this year's event.

In addition to the Cleveland Public Library's Cleveland Maker Faire, we also learned about the The Best Buy Teen Tech Center, which is in partnership with The Clubhouse Network.

Thank you, Cleveland Public Library, for the FREE night at the Great Lakes Science Center for the Maker Faire Cleveland Showcase 2021! We appreciate that the Cleveland Public Library plans interesting tech and NASA-related events. We have attended several of them! The library is "The People's University" in Cleveland.

Akron Makes 2021 -- Fun Time Learning From Creatives!

I have enjoyed attending Akron-Summit County Public Library maker events many times over the years. Thankfully, I learned that Akron Makes would be held Saturday, November 13, 2021, when I saw tweets from the Akron-Summit County Public Library and Summit Artspace. If not for these tweets, I would have missed this fun event!

I was very impressed with the kids who demonstrated their Scratch programming. It is fun to stop and listen to kids as they teach you about their programming projects.

It was very appropriate that a lot of the Akron Makes took place in the library's TechZone makerspace, so visitors to the event would also know what is available at the library year-round.

After leaving Akron Makes, I stopped briefly at Summit Artspace to see their Betty and Howard Taylor main gallery. I wish I had more time to see all their art galleries, since I really enjoyed what I saw in the main gallery from the 19th Annual Kaleidoscope Juried Exhibition. While at Summit Artspace, I was fortunate to meet their new Executive Director, Heather Meeker, who was greeting visitors as they entered.

Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia's Sacred Mountain

This blog post shares what I learned about the Cleveland Museum of Art's Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain exhibition before its opening, and while attending the preview on Friday, November 12, 2021. I was fortunate to be able to tour the exhibition before its opening to the public on November 14, 2021, and I want to encourage everyone to visit before it closes on January 30, 2022.

The Revealing Krishna HoloLens tour was more powerful than I expected. I have tried HoloLens before, but the way the museum used it to tell the story of the Cleveland Krishna statue was excellent. It was a very effective use of this technology to further the story behind the artwork!

I also included information about the historical Christmas decorations I saw at the Western Reserve Historical Society's Cleveland History Center while I was in University Circle.

"Picturing Motherhood Now" - Invitation to the Media & Influencer Event

"... reimagine the possibilities for representing motherhood" - I had received an invitation in early October for the Thursday, October 14, 2021, preview of Picturing Motherhood Now, and started reading about and looking at photographs from the exhibition on the Cleveland Museum of Art's website. Based on what I saw, I developed a preconception about the exhibition, which I have to admit was not on target. You can't experience the depth of Picturing Motherhood Now by looking at photos on a website. You must see it in person to not only study the artwork closely, but also to read the messages that accompany the artwork. I know that I will need to return again to the museum to see the pieces I missed, and to look again at the artwork I found interesting.

I was also excited about being able to enjoy the art as part of a social experience -- being with other people at the Cleveland Museum of Art! The Picturing Motherhood Now preview was not completely part of a return to "normal life," since the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, but it is a great start. The following reflects the excitement of joining with others to enjoy the experience which is the Cleveland Museum of Art.

FRONT 2022 Preview Exhibition Opening & Party for "Grand Prototypes, Humble Tools"

After commenting on Twitter how seeing the Tony Tasset: Judy’s Hand Pavilion reminded me of FRONT International 2018, I received a reply tweet from FRONT International Executive Director Fred Bidwell saying "more to come!" Therefore, I knew to watch for something to happen soon regarding FRONT International 2022, which led me to see the announcement about the Friday, October 8, 2021, FRONT 2022 Preview Exhibition Opening & Party: Grand Prototypes, Humble Tools at Transformer Station!! This blog post shares what I saw at the preview party and some of what I learned about next year's FRONT International 2022.

The interesting part of this opening was that this is not the final version of these artists' creations, since the artwork is continuing to evolve as part of preparing for FRONT 2022. Instead, the exhibition asks the following questions as part of this evolution: "How can the everyday processes of artmaking be transformative for artists and their communities? How can art catalyze healing?"

moCa Cleveland, Ingenuity at the Lake, Remembering Euclid Beach Park

This blog post is about the creative and historical events I attended Friday, September 24, 2021, through Sunday, September 26, 2021:

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Spur-of-the-Moment Trip South

The purpose of this blog post is to capture the photos we shared on Twitter during our trip south -- Tuesday, September 7, 2021, through Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

Spur-of-the-Moment Trip South

Cleveland GiveCamp 2021 - Online!

With Cleveland GiveCamp 2020 being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was known from the very beginning of planning for the eleventh Cleveland GiveCamp in 2021 that flexibility would be needed.

Two decisions were made early on to ensure a safe event in this time of a once-in-a-century pandemic:

Cleveland GiveCamp 2021 Weekend took place September 10-12, 2021.

AND THAT'S A WRAP! THANK YOU to our wonderful volunteers and nonprofit partners!

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Enjoying Remotely in 2021: The 32nd Cleveland Museum of Art's Chalk Festival

I enjoy attending the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual #CMAChalkFestival every year and sharing my favorite chalk artwork on my "Chalk Festival" blog posts. Therefore, I was very disappointed that a spur-of-the-moment trip south to take care of some family business prevented me from attending on Saturday, September 11, 2021. cryingcryingcryingcryingcrying

I asked people on the Cleveland Twitterverse to share on Twitter their photos from the 2021 Cleveland Chalk Festival, so that I could at least attend an online version of the Chalk Festival.

I was rewarded greatly by the Cleveland Twitterverse and my son, Kevin F. Smith.

My Cleveland Week: Cleveland Foundation > MidTown Murals > USS Cod Party > Irishtown Bend Hike > One World Day

As I mention in my last blog posts, I have been "delayed" in my normal activities for much of the summer. Well, the week after I published those two blog posts, my activity level increased dramatically due to the large number of events happening in Cleveland the last week of August 2021.

As I wrote on Monday, August 23, 2021, "If you are in #Cleveland and have nothing to do this week, you are just not trying!"

This blog post is an attempt to capture some of the spirit of the events I attended. The one common element of all these events is that I learned about them from following interesting people/organization on Twitter.  I created this blog post to serve as a reminder for me of the fun I had at these events, and I hope it encourages you to go out yourself to learn about the organizations that sponsor these events.

The in-person events included:

In addition to these in-person events that I attended, this was also the week of online events for the 2021 Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting Week Presented by KeyBank: It Starts With Community.

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After Backpacking Adventure: Exploring Appalachian Trail Highlights & New York Water Destinations

This blog post focuses on the interesting places we visited together along the route of the Appalachian Trail after Stuart's backpacking adventure, and then visiting water-related locations in New York state on our way home. After many years of hearing from Stuart about the places we visited along the Appalachian Trail, it was really fun for Julie to finally see them! 

Exploring Appalachian Trail Highlights

While Stuart was backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, he wrote down places he wanted to show Julie after his hike. It is his way of involving her in his multi-year journey north up the trail.

Many of the best locations are not accessible due to difficult terrain or the number of miles from trailheads, so this blog post shows just a few of the places we had the ability and time to visit.

New York Water Destinations

After touring locations along the Appalachian Trail, we spent the weekend traveling through the state of New York, where we visited the Erie Canal and Niagara Falls.

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Friday, April 30, 2021 - Hershey’s Chocolate World! Saturday, May 1, 2021 - Julie rides the Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort

Friday, April 30, 2021 - Hershey’s Chocolate World!

This was our first big outing since receiving our COVID-19 vaccinations. The three attractions that we went to were adapted to encourage social distancing, but this was still the first time being around so many people in an inside venue. It actually felt kind of strange. Everyone was required to wear masks in all areas of the Hershey’s Chocolate World building.

It was very appropriate that we started our journey toward Stuart's starting point on the Appalachian Trail at this "sweet" place, since he has often visited Hershey’s Chocolate World as part of his many previous backpacking trips on the A.T. in Pennsylvania. A chocolate treat goes perfectly with backpacking.

Saturday, May 1, 2021 - Knoebels Amusement Resort

Since Julie and our son, Kevin F. Smith, are on the Board of Euclid Beach Park Now, we knew we had to visit Knoebels Amusement Resort. Similar to Cleveland's Euclid Beach Park, which closed in 1969, Knoebels is a free-admission amusement park. While it is free to enter the park, visitors can purchase individual ride tickets or an all-day wristband. Also, since Julie volunteers as a ride attendant at the restored Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel at the Cleveland History Center, it was a special treat to see the Knoebels Carousel Museum.

Return Visit to Stories from Storage - From the Cleveland Museum of Art, with Love

As I write this blog post, I am very busy preparing for an extended backpacking trip, but I still wanted to get this out, since I had such a great time at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I will let the photos in the tweets tell the story, and I invite you to learn more about this special Cleveland Museum of Art exhibition, Stories from Storage, . . .

As you view the photos we shared on Twitter, please note the incredible variety of artwork presented. We highly recommend seeing the exhibition in person, since photos can't capture all the details.

My mother joined me on my return visits on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, and Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

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Julie "rockin' it" in Old Man's Cave at Hocking Hills State Park!

Located in southeastern Ohio, Hocking Hills State Park has received national and international acclaim as a top park to visit. Stunning in every season, the park features towering cliffs, waterfalls, and deep, hemlock-shaded gorges for hikers and nature lovers to enjoy.

We had not been to Hocking Hills State Park In many years, and decided it would make a great getaway location while we are still social distancing. Most of this past year, we have been exploring many northeast Ohio parks and thought that it was time to go to southeastern Ohio.

We remembered the park's unique rock formations from past visits, but we discovered that they were even more incredible than we remembered. We were surprised to learn from informational signage in the park that glaciers never reached this part of Ohio, since we are used to northeast Ohio terrain that has been shaped by the ice age.

sosAssociates.com Blogiversary: Nine

My co-writer and wife, Julie Smith, and I started writing our blog posts on March 8, 2012. The years of 2020 (after mid-March) and 2021 (so far), make this a drastically different blogiversary than any other. This is reflected in the nature of how our blog posts changed one year ago, right after our sosAssociates.com Blogiversary: Eight! post, when we starting writing our Social Distancing blog post series.

While our world is so different on this ninth anniversary, I do want to express how grateful I am to have the community resources and family support to ride out these times. My immediate family has been very fortunate in this difficult year, to be healthy and able to adjust to the lifestyle changes caused by the coronavirus crisis. Julie's and my thoughts are with those who have been ill or who have lost loved ones this year to COVID-19.

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From the Cleveland Museum of Art, with Love - Stories from Storage

In 2020, our first adventure out to a public space during the coronavirus crisis was to the Cleveland Museum of Art's #WelcomeBackCMA Reopening. The spaciousness of the museum, along with their coronavirus protocols and site-specific safety measures, allowed us to feel safe while enjoying the artwork.

Now, in 2021, our first excursion of the year was again to the Cleveland Museum of Art. We had not expected to still be social distancing and masking, but here we are, writing another blog post in our "Social Distancing" series.

After the initial reopening in June 2020 for the summer, the Cleveland Museum of Art closed again in fall 2020. On January 18, 2021, the Cleveland Museum of Art reopened again with modified hours of Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. With the 2021 reopening, we learned of a special exhibition created by "the Cleveland Museum of Art, with love," called Stories from Storage.

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#NewYearsEve and #NewYearsDay 2021 #ThankYou

We want to send out our annual greeting as we end 2020, and begin a new year full of possibilities! Our immediate family has been very fortunate in this difficult year, to be healthy and able to adjust to the lifestyle changes caused by the coronavirus crisis. Our thoughts are with those who have been ill or who have lost loved ones this year to COVID-19.

As we have done the past six years, we invite you to read our #NewYearsEve and #NewYearsDay 2021 #ThankYou blog post in which we thank the many people/organizations for all the great activities and events we were able to do in 2020 despite COVID-19. While not the year we planned, we are still grateful for those who made a positive difference in our lives. We also enjoy reliving the year by reviewing our 29 blog posts from 2020.

We are excited to start another year! All the best to everyone in 2021!

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Beyond the Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge 2020: Part Three (Additional Thirteen Trails)

2020 has been different, with many of the venues we would normally visit closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

We were very pleased when the Cleveland Metroparks announced in May 2020 that they would be offering their fourth annual Trail Challenge, which included 25 trails. In August 2020, we learned that the park updated the list to include 35 trails!

The increase in the number of trails did not change the requirements for receiving the 2020 Challenge prizes . . .

. . . but we enjoy a challenge (and enjoy hiking/biking trails), and decided to do more than the minimum. This blog post shares our journey on all but one of the remaining land-based trails. See Stuart's 2020 Trail Challenge tracker sheet with notes on the 33 trails.

Burton Section - Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"

My plan was to slowly complete, by hiking and biking, all the sections of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" over several years. With the onset of the March 2020 COVID-19 crisis, my plans radically changed, and I decided to complete the "Little Loop" this year. Below is the blog post about the Burton Section, which is the fifth of five Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" blog posts.

This blog post covers my experiences on the Buckeye Trail Burton Section from Friday, August 21, 2020,  through finishing the "Little Loop" on Thursday, November 10, 2020.

I completed the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" -- approximately 254.3 Miles -- at its Northern Terminus!!

I finished the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" where I began, at the Northern Terminus

Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" Completion Patch - "I Completed The Little Loop"

Mogadore Section and part of Massillon Section - Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"

My plan was to slowly complete, by hiking and biking, all the sections of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" over several years. With the onset of the March 2020 COVID-19 crisis, my plans radically changed, and I decided to complete the "Little Loop" this year. Below is the blog post about the northern part of Massillon Section and the Mogadore Section, which is the fourth of five Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" blog posts.

This blog post covers my experiences on the northern part of the Buckeye Trail Massillon Section and the Buckeye Trail Mogadore Section from Friday, June 26 2020, through Friday, August 21, 2020.