Enquirer tour

Some days, great opportunities do seem to seek you out – you have to simply clear your afternoon calendar, dress in layers, and absolutely take them up on their fun offers.  Recently I was given the chance to take part in a tour of the iconic and historic Cincinnati Enquirer building.  The building was largely finished in 1926 and housed the paper’s printing until about 1979.  It is currently being sensitively renovated into hotels.  The HGC tour was given under the guise of being an instructional how-to social media tour for the industry, though once the PowerPoint slides started rolling it became obvious only a handful of the 40 or so attendees had any idea what Instagram was…they came for the sights only, obviously.  The presentation was one of my favorite parts, though.  With an engaging expert at the helm of the projector, architectural photography via phone camera never seemed so engaging.  That 20 minute presentation in the third sub-basement of the old building really reminded me how much I like classroom settings…nicely complementing my goal for 2015 to seek out opportunities to learn new things (cheese making class is still a couple of weeks out!).

Here is a pile of unedited phone photos from the tour, which started in the basement and headed up.  As the building is under construction, most of the body of the building is currently white walled and wasn’t overly exciting to me.  The basement held a lot of original messy features, as you’ll see.  The visit to the roof was probably the second most anticipated stop on the tour.  The very most anticipated stop on the tour was clearly the building’s historic, terribly ornate lobby.  Unfortunately, once I’d been handed my hardhat and eye protection, the first question out of my mouth was, “Are any areas off limits for photos?”…which was immediately met by, “Yes, the lobby.” I can’t really blame them, but it was dirty trick to play on a bunch of bloggers.  Once completely renovated, the lobby will again be the building’s gem, and they want to keep it under wraps until the grand opening later this year.  After having walked through it straining my neck at the already glam details, I can’t wait for the finished product to be unveiled.

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Click this one to open full size in a new tab^

 

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(I liked looking all the way down the river valley from the roof – in person, with only a small mental leap, it had a slight Smoky Mountains vibe.)

 

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(Squint! You can see Union Terminal just to the right of City Hall.)

 

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(Asking for just a little HDR, no?)

 

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2015: new rule

We have a newly implemented rule in our household: If we don’t want to do something, we won’t.  Read into that what you will.

On the flip side of that, we’re doing a lot more of actively awesome stuff.  We started off 2015 in this vein by taking a more-awesome-than-usual hike on New Year’s Day at Big Bone Lick state park.  I think cold weather hiking is the best kind, not having to deal with sweat in unlikely places or mosquitoes and such, so the morning’s 18° temperature was welcome.  Nearly four hours of hiking later we’d seen the sites, watched the resident bison, and sniffed as many fumes as we cared to at the salt licks.  I didn’t know the bison or the salt lick/bogs were there, even having driven past the park’s brown interstate sign countless times on 75.

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Sometime between this photo and that photo, I became very glad I’d squirreled away some squares of chocolate in the backpack.  Chocolate is less delicious when frozen, however.  I had to keep my energy up for the main event: BISON.

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I’m not trying to be a complainer, but I think “bison herd” was a little misleading when there were less than a dozen bison on premises… it didn’t damped my enthusiasm too much, though.

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One of the salt marshes/bogs the prehistoric lovelies found so enticing^

And here they are reproduced to scale, leaving you on your own to put a positive spin on this happy scene for your kids:

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Canoe TBT

Remember that time we were the last canoe out for the season in 2014?  Yup, it was an awesome way to end September.

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The water was cold and unusually clear, so we saw lots of ugly river fish.  We were also chased by a man in a motored paraglider – which was so noisy it killed any chance we had of seeing some of the bald eagles that are now nesting on the Little Miami.  Sigh.

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Speaking of motors, I had my own one-horse power built into the back of the canoe (insert dreamboat joke here).

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Regardless, I was in my element and can’t wait for canoe season 2015.

 

Redbird Hollow

I am up for a hike anywhere, anytime.  The challenge is to find an interesting spot with enough incline to make it less of a stroll and more of a workout, but not so hilly as to present an opportunity for me to hurt myself.  I’d heard of an ideal trail but it remained an enigma – it was located within one of those east side communities that is notoriously tight with details.  There is historical information available on Redbird Hollow, which is exceptionally interesting because the trail follows an old inter-urban rail line (really, you should read the article), but little in the way of location information.  I now know why it’s hard to find: it is awesome and the folks in the know want to keep it a secret.  I totally understand this sentiment, especially with the limited parking available, so if you want to know where it is (and you’re too lazy for some moderate googling), you’ll have to join me on a hike sometime.

This trail has an immense amount of signage (none can be seen from the road, naturally), so there is plenty to read while you hike.

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This one merits a zooming in…yikes.

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Anyway, the preservation has paid off and the place is teeming with wildlife – butterflies, bright dragonflies, chipmunks (brave chipmunks), deer, and TINY TOADS.

Quick – spot the toad!

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He posed so nicely, didn’t he?   Such a tiny guy.

 

Fly and Spinning

Farm weather calls for a farm day.   Safety comes first on the ATV’s , but barbed wire, poison ivy, and bees be darned.  A sweat bee even flew out of my pants at one point.

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All manner of creek critters were under attack during our visit, including snakes, crayfish, bull frogs, and fish.  I spent some time fishing (for the first time in about 20 years, I’d say) and was particularly startled to have landed two of the day’s three fish.  They were ugly catfish, sure, but they still count.  They especially count because I caught one on a fly rod.  A little while ago I declared I would learn to fly fish this summer, and my beginner’s luck this past weekend was a good start.

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Contact

Hello! Reach me at admin(at)grayspeek.com
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