Ok, so the first stop on the sunset chasing quest took me a little outside of Columbus. Technically, I drifted out of the 614 and in to the 740, to Lancaster, which is about 45 minutes from downtown. Why would I hop in the car and go so far? Well...there is a place there called Mount Pleasant, also known as Rising Park. Mount Pleasant is a bluff that rises 250 feet above the city of Lancaster, and you guessed it...when you reach the top, there is a view that faces west. Sounds like a pretty spectacular place to view a sunset to me!
While it's not an overly long hike to the top, it is a hike nonetheless - and a fairly steep one. It's not paved and it's rocky, so definitely skip the flip flops! The park was surprisingly busy for a Monday evening, and the weather was plenty hot and sticky, but the climb to the top was worth it. When you reach the summit, you have beautiful views of the city of Lancaster below you, as well as a view of the Fairfield County Fairgrounds and the surrounding wooded hills.
We saw two relatively tame deer on our visit - one at the top near the summit, in the woods, and one in the woods following along the trail. Lots of wildlife going on there.
Even with people around, it was very peaceful and tranquil for the most part. There were several couples huddled together to take in the view and several people that were solo. There is a railing at the summit to keep people a safe distance from the edge but many people seemed to ignore it and dared to find a spot to sit amongst the rocks. (As peaceful as this looks, I wouldn't recommend it - there have been several rescues/falls and even a fatality from people who've slipped.)
The only downside to this spot is the number of younger teenagers running around. I'm not sure if it's like this all year long or if there are just more of them in the summer. There were a couple of rowdy groups making quite a bit of noise, but they moved along fairly quickly. All in all, I hung out at the summit for about 45 minutes or so and was able to grab a spot on the rocks for myself and enjoy watching the sky in peace.
As far as the actual view for the sunset goes, this place is a dandy. The sunset on this particular evening turned out to be not quite as spectacular as I had hoped; it had rained and stormed earlier in the day and sometimes those skies shape up to be the prettiest. Not so much this night, but the view still made the trek worth it! I plan on going back to catch some fall foliage because I know that has to be breathtaking.
Rain showers in the distance over Columbus...