The American Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

“What are these flower petals?” I asked Deb. They were all over the trail; large petals striped with white, green, and orange. It was mid-May and we were spending a week at Pipestem Resort State Park in West Virginia. It was a hikers paradise. We spent every day on a different trail and that day we were following a trail from the lodge on the rim of Bluestone Gorge all the way down to the river. The striped flower petals were everywhere. Deb didn’t know what they were. We kept a lookout for a flower or bush with matching petals but never found one.

Deb holding a fallen blossom and leaf from a Tuliptree.

Deb holding a fallen blossom and leaf from a Tuliptree.

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Ohio Deer Harvest Visualization

Using public Ohio DNR data I created a visualization of the Ohio deer harvest for the past four seasons. The harvest is shown geographically color coded by county. Hovering the cursor over a county will give the seasonal harvest count for that county. The slide control lets you view four different seasons. Counties are color coded from least deer harvested (light green) to most deer harvested (dark green). The visualization can be viewed here.

Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area

In February 2014 we visited Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area, north of Dayton. It is a 92-acre park, owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources but managed by the Miami County Part District. The falls consist of a scenic, 20-foot cascade in Greenville Creek. The park also features ruins of historical interest, nearly a mile of trail, access to fishing spots, a limestone natural arch, picnic areas, kiosks, interpretive signs, and a port-a-potty.

Zooming in on the falls.

Zooming in on the falls from the bridge that crosses Greenville Creek. The water in the creek was high and moving rapidly from recent rain and melting snow.

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Exploring Old Man’s Cave During the 50th Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike

On the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, the Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike set an attendance record with over 5300 people attending. Five hundred lucky people received a commemorative hiking stick. Bob and I just hiked the Old Man’s Cave portion of the hike this year.

Looking out from Old Man's Cave.

Looking out from Old Man’s Cave.

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Birding at Blacklick Woods on New Year’s Day

On New Year’s Day we went on our first hike of the year: a birding hike at Blacklick Woods Metro Park. About twenty people joined a park naturalist, Colleen, for the two-mile hike. If you’re beginning birders like us, it’s really helpful to join up with a group such as this. On a number of occasions the naturalist or other members of the group pointed out birds that I’m sure I would have missed otherwise. We also learned some of the places that certain species of bird like to frequent, so when we are out by ourselves we can fall back on our new found knowledge.

Juvenile, red-tailed hawk experiencing his first winter.

Juvenile, red-tailed hawk experiencing his first winter.

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TrekOhio Highlights for 2014

In reviewing 2014, we’ve come up with our annual TrekOhio highlights!

Best Hike of the Year

We’ve excluded the Hocking Hills Winter Hike, which otherwise would probably win best hike every year. Beyond this annual hike, below are our favorites for this year.

Deb: My favorite hike for the year was the one that we took at the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve. Living miles from the ocean, it is easy to forget that Ohio has beach dunes, but thanks to Lake Erie, we do. The hike is very scenic, and the dune plants are rare and intersting. And we were both surprised to see a deer grazing on the beech!

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Approaching Lake Erie while hiking at the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve

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Dawes Arboretum

Dawes Arboretum located in Central Ohio consists of 1,800 acres of formal gardens, fields, ponds, and forests, including eight miles of hiking trails. Among its facilities are a visitors center, rest rooms, picnic areas and shelters. The meticulously maintained formal gardens are a popular venue for weddings.

Bridges in Japanese garden

Bridges in Japanese garden

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