A mother raccoon teaches the kids to forage under the bird feeder. This was photographed while looking out of the window of the Nature Center.
Blacklick Woods Metro Parks is located in Reynoldsburg, an eastern suburb of Columbus. This 634 acre park has hiking, jogging, and bicycle trails, an abundance of picnic tables and shelters, playgrounds, a golf course, and a nature center.
Posted in Central Ohio, Nature
Tagged "Fairfield County", "Franklin County", "handicap accessible", Blacklick, butterflies, cycling, hiking, jogging, Park Review, wildflowers
A mature tree towering above the surrounding canopy.
This nature preserve features old growth forest and hilly terrain. Set in the middle of an agricultural region, it’s a peaceful area with one of the best wooded lots in the vicinity. There are two trails at the park: Conrad Trail (1.4 miles) and the Short Loop Trail (0.6 miles). The trail seemed well maintained; although, there was a portion of the trail that was quite narrow making it difficult to pass without touching the surrounding vegetation. The preserve’s official site states that you can have a summer’s walk in Davey Woods without being troubled by mosquitoes and that seems to be a truthful claim. While I was there a jogger was taking advantage of the packed dirt trail.
Here’s a sample of what you can see from the trail.
Path leading to the front of the mound
Seip Mound State Memorial Park is one of the five noncontiguous sites that make up the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. The other four sites are Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, High Banks Works, and the Mound City Group (reviewed by us here). Native Americans belonging to the Hopewell tradition constructed this mound sometime between 100 B.C. – A.D. 400.
Penny backpacking with us at Tar Hollow
Our dog, Penny, died about a week ago. She was diagnosed as having bone cancer last winter. Other than limping, Penny remained remarkably stable in the ensuing months and continued to enjoy life and the company of her family. Despite having been with her when she died, we still expect to see her at every turn, and we miss her very much. Besides being adorable and adoring us, she accompanied us on numerous outdoor adventures, including backpacking, camping and hiking. We’d like to share a few photos of her here.
In the following post, I note the distinguishing characteristics of Ohio’s turtle species, plus the counties in which they’ve been sighted.
Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)
If you’ve seen a turtle basking in the sun in Ohio, and you’re wondering what kind of turtle it is, the odds are that it’s a Midland Painted Turtle.
Note the red markings on the side edges of the turtles shell. Also note the red markings on the turtles neck and legs near the shell. While we’re at it, let’s note how cute that little baby painted turtle is.
Deb at the top of the cleft.
Rhododendron Cove is a spectacular place, but not the easiest preserve to find. Until quite recently, you needed a permit from the state to visit. It’s open to the public now, but it’s still a fairly well-kept secret. It’s as though there’s a secret Rhododendron Cove Club whose first rule is: don’t talk about the secret Rhododendron Cove Club. I will tell you how to get there. But first let me tell you why you might want to go.
This photo of an American Chestnut tree was taken in 1914 before the blight reached it.
This Metro Park gets its name from a tree that has largely disappeared from North America: the American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata). The American chestnut tree dominated America’s forests in the east and in the Ohio Valley until the start of the 20th century. A true giant, the tree grew to be 100 to 150 feet tall (30 to 45 meters) and up to 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. It crowned the ridgeline of the Appalachian mountains; when in bloom, its white blossoms made the mountains look as though they were capped with snow.
In science fiction, there’s something called “terraforming” where people take an inhospitable, alien habitat and make it more earth-like so that people can live there. Well it turns out that sphagnum moss has mastered something similar — I’m going to call it “boggaforming” — where it takes a wetland and makes it more and more bog-like. One its secret weapons in this process is dead sphagnum moss. Here are some of the ways that previous generations of sphagnum moss contribute to the success of the current generation.
Adding electrolyte to a water bottle.
It was a hot, humid day with the temperature in the mid 90′s. We’d been hiking for over an hour. The hill that we were climbing was steep. I was in the lead with Deb about 20 yards behind. I’d been out in hotter weather, but it was getting to me. I was feeling really hot and weak. I had eaten a very light breakfast, but was feeling slightly nauseous. I tried to focus and get to the top of the hill. Just a few more steps. Feeling dizzy … I think I’ll just sit on this rock for a minute …
I took this photo while standing on the floating mat of sphagnum moss that makes up Cranberry Bog. I’ve labeled some of the other vegetation that is growing here without the benefit of any dirt.
Previously I’ve pointed out that Jackson Bog and Cedar Bog aren’t really bogs. Now it’s time to look at a nature preserve that really is the bog that it claims to be: Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve. However it’s not like any other bog in the world since the entire bog is floating in the middle of a lake.