Geneva State Park
Geneva State Park is in Ashtabula County, Ohio and occupies two miles of the Lake Erie shoreline. The park is 698 acres in size. Overnight accommodations provided at the park include the Lodge at Geneva, cottages, deluxe cedar cabins, and campsites (both electric, and non-electric). The marina has a deli, a canteen and a fueling station You can also buy fishing licenses, bait and tackle supplies, or arrange for boat and trailer storage. Other features of the park include a sandy beach, an archery range, and six miles of multi-use trails (two miles of which are paved). During the winter under proper weather conditions, visitors can use the snowmobiling trail, or enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing.
Spring Wildflowers 2017
Here’s a sample of some of the wildflowers that have caught my eye while hiking this spring. I have organized them here into several groups based on what period in the spring then tend to bloom: Late March to Early April, Mid-April, and Late April to Early May. Flowers in the last (and largest) group are still blooming.
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Howard Collier State Nature Preserve
Howard Collier is a 115-acre state nature preserve located in Seneca County in northwestern Ohio. The preserve is named after a former state budget director who was instrumental in allocating funds for the acquisition of park land. The Collier preserve features a loop trail with an impressive staircase/boardwalk that leads down into the flood plain. The Sandusky River can be viewed from a couple of short side trails off the loop. There is also one more extensive side trail that leads to a township road that crosses the Sandusky River at Heck’s Bridge. We traced our hike using GPS while visiting the park. The total mileage for our hike was 1.56 miles. The preserve is a good site for viewing spring wildflowers which are on display in April and May. We visited the preserve in mid-May during a previous year.
Chalet Nivale Preserve
Chalet Nivale Preseve is a 106-acre preserve in Adams County that is owned and managed by the non-profit organization, the Arc of Appalachia. The preserve contains two feeder streams that are part of the Scioto Brush Creek Watershed; these feeder streams are among the highest water quality streams in the state of Ohio. By protecting the woodlands around these feeder streams, their exceptional water quality goes on to enhance the water quality of Scioto Brush Creek.
Recreational hikers have three trails to choose from at the preserve. Two of these trails are located near the feeder streams, while the third passes through a meadow. I haven’t seen any report on total mileage, but we are estimating about three miles for the entire trail system. A large variety of spring wildflowers can be observed near the woodland trails. The trail system crosses the streams at various points, so some wading is required (note that the streams are relatively shallow).
An Osprey Sharing Its Catch… or Maybe Not
Earlier this week we stopped by the Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk to view the osprey nesting platforms. We had been checking the platforms on and off for a few weeks, and they had been completely bare. But to our delight when we went to the boardwalk this week, both platforms had nests.
Hinckley Reservation: Whipps Ledges and Spillway Beach
Hinckley Reservation is one of sixteen parks that make up the Cleveland Metropark system. The 2,803-acre park is located in Hinckley Township, primarily in Medina County. The park contains nearly twenty miles of trail for those on foot and six miles of bridle trail. There is a 90-acre lake (Hinckley Lake) within the park and two smaller fishing ponds; there is also an 80 by 100 foot stainless steel pool near the lake. Besides hiking, the area offers opportunities to fish, boat and swim. In the winter, visitors can ice skate, or they can go sledding on the sledding hill. Hinckley Reservation is also home to the annual festival known as Buzzard’s Day which celebrates the return of the turkey vulture to the area around mid-March.
This is a huge park, and we only explored a tiny portion of it, focusing on Whipp’s Ledges. However we also stopped by the Spillway Beach and one of the park’s overlooks of the lake. In the future we hope to check out some of the other trails.
Goll Woods State Nature Preserve
Goll Woods State Nature Preserve is a 321-acre preserve in Fulton County with 5.25 miles of trail. The trail system approaches the Tiffin River in two places, and it also passes by the Goll Cemetery and the preserve office for the Northwest Preserve District. One hundrd acres of the preserve are old growth forest (sometimes referred to as “virgin woods”). Some of the trees in this region are up to 400 years old and have reached a diameter of 4 feet. Among the largest trees are bur oak, white oak, chinquapin oak, and cottonwood. This preserve is also renowned for the number and variety of spring wildflowers found there.
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve occupies 646 acres and contains about four miles of trail; it was Ohio’s first state nature preserve. It is located in Lake County at Mentor, Ohio which is about forty miles east of Cleveland. The preserve is just southwest of Headlands Beach State Park.
Indianfield Bluffs Park
Indianfield Bluffs Park is a small, but scenic park in the Knox County Park District. It is 25.5 acres in size with a 1.5-mile, double loop trail. Since hikers will have to repeat sections of the trail if they walk its entire length, it ends up being a longer hike than that. The GPS trace for our hike at Indianfield Bluffs indicated that we had walked about 2.4 miles. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Pets are permitted in the park if they are kept on leashes and if the owner cleans up after them. Properly-licensed people may also go fishing here.
The park gets its name after a creek that runs through the park known as Indianfield Run. And the creek gets its name because the Native Americans who used to live here had cleared the land in this area to grow corn crops. Indianfield Run empties its water into the Kokosing State Scenic River within the park’s boundaries.
Zaleski State Forest: Moonville Tunnel
History and Lore
Moonville was a coal-mining town founded in the middle of the nineteenth century in Vinton County. Its population peaked in 1870 when about 100 people lived there, after which it declined. The last family in Moonville left in 1947. Moonville’s nearest neighbor was the town of Hope, but even Hope was many miles away. To connect the two towns a railroad was laid. During the course of its construction, it was also necessary to build bridges over creeks and to excavate Moonville Tunnel to pass through a nearby hillside.