Our recent visit to Sears Woods featured large trees and a close-encounter with galloping deer.
Sears Woods is a 137 acre state nature preserve in Crawford County. It is managed by the Crawford County Park District. The Sandusky River flows through the preserve which features an old-growth beech and maple woodland. There are two trails: the 1.25-mile Hiking Trail that loops through the woods, and a smaller, mown-path through a meadow that’s known as the Bluebird Box Trail.
View of the Sandusky River from the flood plain.
We’ve just published a list of Pre-Columbian, Archaeological Sites in Ohio, all of which you can visit. Many of these sites feature museums and trails.
This past weekend we decided to hike the 7.2-mile Day Hike Trail in Shawnee State Forest. The Shawnee State Forest is sometimes referred to as the “The Little Smokies of Ohio” because of its hilly terrain. Although much of the trail followed ridgelines along the top of hills, there was a lot of uphill/downhill hiking to get to those ridgelines.
Hiking along one of the ridgelines; note how wide the trail is.
We’ve been collecting dragonfly photos as we hike about Ohio. They now have their own page: http://trekohio.com/dragonflies/ We hope to continue adding new species of dragonflies as we encounter them.
No one knows the their name. They left no written record. Today we call them the Adena Culture and we know they had a thriving civilization in Ohio between 1000 BC and 200 BC. They built hundreds of earthen mounds, probably as part of a funeral ritual. The largest of these mounds is a 65 foot tall mound situated on a hill overlooking the Miami River in Miamisburg, OH.
Miamisburg Mound viewed from the side with the stairs.
Yesterday we went to the Ohio State Fair. The state fair is one of the largest in country and is held every year toward the end of July and the beginning of August at the 360 acre Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. The original Ohio State Fair started in 1850 and today’s fair retains much of the early fairs agricultural roots.
The sky ride shortly after the fair opened.
Lowe-Volk Park is a 38-acre county park located in Crawford County. The Sandusky River flows through the northern edge of the park. The park features a nature center, two miles of hiking trails, and a fishing pond.
Stairs leading from deck down to the flood plain of the Sandusky River.
We returned to Lake Katharine Nature Preserve in mid-May to walk the 2.5 mile Pine Ridge Trail. Among the attractions of Pine Ridge Trail are Lake Katharine itself, Rock Run creek, a cascading waterfall, large rock outcroppings and cliffs, a hemlock grove, and magnolia trees.
Bridge over cascade on Rock Run Creek.
Last fall, we stopped briefly at the Shreve Lake Wildlife Area on our way to Killbuck Marsh. The wildlife area is a 228 acre site in Wayne County that’s named after its 63 acre lake.
View of shoreline toward road at Shreve Lake
For some time I had been wanting to learn more about ferns, so I took advantage of a workshop on fern identification being held at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County, Ohio. Wahkeena is a great place to learn about ferns since 29 species of fern grow there (Wahkeena’s official blog publishes a list of their local fern species). Naturalist Tom Shisler led the workshop which is called Focus on Ferns. In this post I’m going to introduce you to a number of common ferns found in Ohio by summarizing Tom’s presentation.
Cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum); it’s always a pleasure to encounter a large ground cover of ferns like these while hiking. The above photo was taken in while hiking in the Oak Openings Metro Park in the Toledo area.