Southwestern Ohio has a surprising number of waterfalls. It’s many stream systems cut through limestone gorges before merging into the Little Miami River and the Ohio River. The hilly topography, the humid climate, and the 43 inches of rain the region receives each year refreshes the soil and the stream beds, and also allows for the erosion that creates a waterfall.
I went out on a Sunday in search of some magic, and found a waterfall. Charleston Falls is located about an hour north of Cincinnati, and is called “Miniature Niagara.” Although it might not look like Niagara Falls, exactly, it flows over rock strata that are also found in New York and Canada. The source is an underground stream that emerges from the soil several miles east of the falls, and it travels westward through prairie and forest land to plummet 37 feet along its journey to the Great Miami River.
The Falls are along a featured trail in the Charleston Falls Preserve in Miami County, Ohio. It is understandably the most visited park in the district. I am an advocate for accessible nature, and this park is among the most well-maintained and beautiful I have seen. The clean parking area is close to the trail head, and the trail itself is wide and covered in well-packed gravel. I noticed multi-generations of families enjoying their Sunday, and most visitors were masked and practicing safe physical distance from other groups.
The most clearly marked trail loops past the waterfall and offers multiple viewing platforms for guests to appreciate it’s natural beauty from multiple angles. Although many people visit the Preserve, it was far less packed than other places I have visited and exponentially more peaceful.
As I strolled along the trail to the falls, I bathed in the serene shadows of black cherry, black oak, pine, and beech trees. Columbine, ferns, and honeysuckle crawled along the forest floor. Ahead of me, I felt a connection with a tree that appeared to have multiple faces. Magic unfolds everywhere.
Experiencing nature is peaceful, refreshing, and healing for our bodies and psyche. Listening to its sounds allows us to quiet our minds enough to finally hear our own Selves. We might gain deeper insights into our choices and behaviors, or observe new solutions for problems that we experience over and over again until they are resolved. These moments of transformation support us as we continue along our temporary Earth journey.