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Overnight Sensation 

Backpacking club hits the trails for some Ohio-free fun.

The Northeast Ohio Backpacking Club, doing what it - does best.
  • The Northeast Ohio Backpacking Club, doing what it does best.
SUN 1/16

Aaron Tsur was frustrated that he couldn't stuff a tent, sleeping bag, and dehydrated food into a backpack and camp overnight in Ohio. "There are campgrounds [around here], but we don't call that backpacking," he sniffs. So in 2003, he founded the Northeast Ohio Backpacking Club and watched 385 members join. Small groups now head out on weekend treks to parks and forests in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan. "Personally, I don't want a big group, because the whole point is to get away," explains Tsur. This weekend, they'll stay in town and get to know each other over brunch. Afterward, there's a 5.6-mile hike down East 9th Street, across the Carnegie Bridge, past the West Side Market, and through the Flats. "Some members are uncomfortable camping with others unless they meet them first," says Tsur. "Would you want to go into the woods with strangers overnight?" The club gathers at noon Sunday at Hornblowers, 1151 North Marginal Road. There are no club dues, but brunch is $17.99. Visit neohbackpackingclub.com for more info. -- Cris Glaser

Monster Smash

SAT 1/15

There'll be a Bigfoot sighting on Saturday, when the Monster Nationals big-ass-truck competition comes to town. And there'll be appearances by other excellently named vehicles, like the Raminator and Ramunition. But the freestyle race will lack one sport staple: mud. "I've learned that the cost of mud -- bringing it in and taking it out -- would be better served by bringing more and higher quality trucks to the show," says event founder George Eisenhart. And the absence of the dirty wet stuff, he says, makes for faster speeds, more intense metal-on-metal collisions, and awe-inspiring hangtime when trucks take flight. Also look for heated rivalries, which Raminator driver Mark Hall insists boil down to "trash talk done on the internet between fans sticking up for their favorite drivers." Show times are 1 and 8 p.m. at CSU's Convocation Center, 2000 Prospect Avenue. Tickets are $5 to $24; call 216-687-9292. -- Matt Leavitt

Indian Winter

SAT 1/15

Fed up with draining his savings on ski clinics, Derek Lightner took up Snowshoeing last year. The activity stretches back 6,000 years, when Native Americans used it as a way of getting from point A to point B. "All you need are a pair of snowshoes, winter clothes, and maybe a pair of poles," says Lightner. "And you don't have to buy a lift ticket to participate." Make like the first Americans from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Oak Hill Trailhead (south of Major Road in Peninsula). Admission is free. Call 330-650-4636 for more information. -- Cris Glaser

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