Our recent stay at Thornhill Bluff in Akron was a surprising one in more ways than one. Our hosts were extremely responsive from the time of booking at this privately owned campsite set up in the back of their property line, overlooking the Metropark from a ridge above. They were very easy to communicate with and prepared with an info and guideline sheet they emailed to us and made the use of their site easy and accessible.
Upon arrival, we parked at the neighborhood cul de sac as instructed, and packed down the gravel drive to the side of their house around to the back yard. To the left, there is a clear trail winding back through the woods to the cleared site. At the site, there is a fire ring, some carved wood benches, covered firewood for use and ample level space for any tent. It stands overlooking a wooded drop off which looks out over the metropark and a winding park road which can almost be seen through the trees. It’s surprisingly quiet. Birds and woodpecker were present throughout our stay, and we even caught a glimpse of a deer at our site in the early morning hours. A trailhead begins at the site into the wood as well.
They have a 2 pc bathroom available back at the house, accessible through the garage which is left open, in the house, to the immediate left. Because it is located in the laundry/mud room, it does feel surprisingly private. There is a toilet and sink, and was quite clean. They also offered the use of any camping items we may have forgotten on the shelving in the garage. Chairs, fire rods (which we did forget and gladly used for our dinner) tarps and mats, etc.
The hosts were home at the time we were there but gave us a great deal of privacy, only appearing briefly to offer their help if we needed anything. When we arrived, it began pouring rain, and thus, the trial back to the site went from dry to muddy in about 5 mins. The good news is that the drainage is fairly good along that ridge, and after the rain stopped, the path cleared up quite a bit.
Sand Run metropark is a large park part of the Summit Park system which has 150 miles of hiking paths, bike and running trails, picnic sites and various other activities and events. We found it a beautiful, dimensional area, with uncrowned hikes and a nice break from the pace of the surrounding cities.
As a Dyrt Ranger, I have the opportunity to review both campsites as well as products. On this trip, I was happy to try out the Wenzel Shenanigan 5 tent. This is a tee-pee style tent with 6 sides and 3 windows, 2 rainproof vents at the base and a screen and rain flap entrance. It had plenty of room for the 3 of us, and the best part was how you are able to stand completely inside. Actually, what we found out was the real benefit to this tent was the ease of set up in the worst of conditions. The Shenanigan 5 was called to task when we found ourselves having to set up in the pouring rain. It was rolled out, spiked down and up in a single motion with its center pole in 2 mins flat. Impressive! It even was able to stay dry inside during that set up.
Apart from being an attractive tent camping tee-pee, while it is not suited to backpacking due to its bulkiness, it is light weight, and easy to carry. Vented well, it’s ideal to summer camping and warm fall and spring nights. The vent flaps at the bottom can be left closed or staked out, and the downward facing construction of the windows also allow you to stay dry in rain while letting air in. Same with the top vents. It held out the constant rain and because of its tee-pee style, dropped dry quickly when that rain finally stopped. We were all pleasantly surprised by both the Shenanigan 5 and our site as a quick nature trip in our busy week’s schedule.