Metzger Marsh is a 558 acre marsh bordered by Lake Erie, the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and a canal used by private watercraft. It is a site ideal for fishing and bird watching. It’s located between Maumee Bay State Park and Magee Marsh Wildlife Area.
Egrets wading through Metzger Marsh
A hiker taking a break at Big Lyons Falls in the Mohican State Park.
It’s almost summer, the weather is warm and sunny, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors. The following is a list of classic hikes we’ve always enjoyed and some new ones we’ve recently discovered.
Sunset view from the boardwalk at Maumee Bay.
Because Maumee Bay State Park is the site of one of our state’s lodge and conference centers, it offers a number of recreational opportunities. But as a nature lover, one of my favorite activities there was walking the 2-mile boardwalk through a wetland bordering Lake Erie. We visited in May while staying in the lodge. Our strolls along the boardwalk were relaxing and peaceful. They were also an opportunity to do some birdwatching and to see other wildlife like deer.
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia).
Mountain laurel is also known as calico bush or spoonwood. As a mature shrub this evergreen plant can grow to be anywhere between 9.8 feet to 29.5 feet in height (3 m to 9 m). It is native to the eastern United States, and it prefers to grow on rocky cliffs in acidic soil. Although it is a member of the blueberry family, no part of the plant is safe to eat. Even the pollen is poisonous which means that honey made from its pollen is also toxic. Besides being potentially lethal to humans, it is also poisonous to deer, cattle, horses and goats.
However as long as you have no interest in eating it, Mountain laurel is a beautiful shrub, especially when it’s in bloom. The flowers grow in clusters; they are usually white, though some have a light pink tint. The plant blooms in May and June.
Nelson Kennedy Ledges is a most unusual state park located in Portage County in northeastern Ohio. The park is a relatively small 167 acres with 3 miles of trails. The main section of the park consists of a massive rock outcropping. The outcropping is cracked with narrow passages between tall cliffs, small streams flowing through them and huge slump blocks broken off of the cliff face. The trails go around, over, and through the openings and resemble an enormous stone maze.
Deb about to go between slump blocks.
In our visits to Ohio’s parks and preserves we’ve seen many wooden, covered bridges. Since wood was a cheap and plentiful in the 19th century, it was used in the construction of bridges across the many creeks and streams of Ohio. Unfortunately, a wooden bridge exposed to the elements – sun, rain, snow, ice has a a short lifespan – perhaps as short as 10 years. By adding wood siding and a pitched roof, the bridges lifespan can be greatly extended – perhaps as long as 80 or 100 years. This was the motivation for building covered bridges.
One-flowered Broomrape (Orobanche uniflora)
One-flowered broomrape (Orobanche uniflora) is also known as oneflowered broomrape, naked broomrape, cancer root, one-flowered cancer root, pipes, ghost pipes, squawdrops, and squirrel’s grandfather. It is the fourth plant that we’ve dealt with here that has no chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll the plant is unable to nourish itself through photosynthesis, so it lives its life as a parasite, siphoning off its nourishment from other plants. Unlike the previous parasitic plants that we’ve discussed, this one doesn’t get its food by tapping into tree roots. Instead it feeds off non-woody (herbaceous) plants like Asters.