TrekOhio Highlights for 2013

It’s the end of another year and time to reflect on Ohio parks and preserves we’ve visited and some of the interesting sights we’ve seen.

Best Hike of the Year

We’re going to give the annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike a lifetime achievement award. It’s a great hike and has been great fun for us every year we’ve participated. Beyond this annual hike, below are our favorites for this year.

Deb: I really enjoyed hiking within the maze-like crevasses at Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park

Mother and child hiking at Nelson Kennedy Ledges
A mother and daughter exploring the labyrinth of passages at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park.

Bob: Rock Stalls Natural Sanctuary – I really enjoyed our winter hike there – it’s quiet, peaceful, and the frozen waterfalls are beautiful.

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Deb photographing one of the waterfalls at Rock Stalls Natural Sanctuary.

Most Surprising Park Experience

Bob & Deb: Oak Openings Metro Park – It was surprising to walk through an oak savannah and suddenly come upon large sand dunes many miles from the nearest large body of water.

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Sand dunes far from any body of water at the Oak Openings Metro Park.

Favorite Wildflower

Deb: I love wildflowers, so it was a treat to see the many summer wildflowers at Gallagher Fen. Below is a Fen Orange Coneflower that’s just beginning to open.

Fen Orange Coneflower in bud (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii)
Fen Orange Coneflower in bud

Bob: Lakeside Daisy at Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve – this rare flower thrives in the very thin soil atop limestone bedrock.
“Life finds a way” – Jurassic Park (movie)

Lakeside daisies
Lakeside daisies growing on limestone bedrock.

Best Critter

Deb: The white (Leucistic) hummingbird at Inniswood. I first viewed it October 25th, and it was still there when I visited again on November 8th. I began to worry about the fact that it wasn’t migrating. When I visited November 26th, a park official told me that it had last been seen the previous week, so it would appear that the little hummingbird finally headed south.

White (leucistic) ruby-throated hummingbird
White (leucistic) hummingbird.

Bob: We saw a lot of bald eagles this year. In the air, in nests, on trees, and on perches at Magee Marsh. Deb was fortunate to capture some nice eagle pictures at Highbanks Metro Park

Bald eagle at Highbanks Metro Park
Bald eagle at Highbanks Metro Park

Favorite Nature Center

Bob & Deb: For the second year in a row – we chose the nature center at Wahkeena Nature Preserve. This year Robyn gave us a quick lesson on the beginning of the amphibian life cycle. Later in the year, Tom & Robyn were kind enough to invite us to our first mothing event.

Nature center at Wahkeena
The Nature Center at Wahkeena.
Eggs of wood frog
Robyn showing us the eggs of the wood frog as she discussed with us the amphibian life cycle.
Light lure to attract moths
Light lure used at the mothing event at Wahkeena.

Most Hidden Preserve

Bob & Deb: Gallagher Fen is a very well hidden gem in Clark County. The entrance is an unsigned grassy field. The first time we visited, we were surprised that a car pulled in right behind us. It was none other than ODNR field botanist and fellow blogger Andrew Gibson.

Entrance to Gallagher Fen
This gravel drive without a sign is the entrance to the Gallagher Fen State Nature Preserve.

Best Ancient Weapon

Bob: The atlatl – an ancient weapon we got to try at this year’s Pawpaw Festival.

Atlatl
An Atlatl.

Deb: Got nothing.

Best Novel Experience

Deb: Visiting Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week in American Birding

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Birders gathering at a target-rich environment on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh.

Bob:Hand-feeding hummingbirds at Lake Hope State Park.

IMG_5622
Feeding hummingbirds at Lake Hope.

Best Historic Site

Deb: Leo Petroglyphs – ancient pictographs created by Native Americans.

Petroglyph quadruped, snake, and bird carrying a man (maybe?)
Some of the petroglyphs made by Native Americans at Leo Petroglyphs.

Bob: Rock Mill – features a covered bridge, an early 19th century grist mill, a waterfall and a scenic gorge. Since our visit, the waterwheel has been fully restored and is operational.

The water wheel and mill seen from the rear
Rock mill – it’s now operational!

We enjoyed our visits to Ohio’s parks and preserves in 2013. We wish our readers a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a very happy 2014. Keep on trekking!

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2013
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9 Responses to TrekOhio Highlights for 2013

  1. Sounds like you had a great year! I think feeding hummingbirds would be my favorite of your favorites! What a treat… :)

    • Bob Platt says:

      They move like tiny helicopters, hovering and darting forward and back. You can hear the buzz of their wings and feel small blasts of air as they fly. Very unique.

  2. Deb Marsh says:

    What a wonderful post! There are a few spots here that we have yet to visit–we’ll have to put them on the 2014 list!

  3. Brett Taylor says:

    Going to put Gallagher Fen on the list. Never heard of it until TrekOhio. Great Job, best site on the web.

  4. beckarooney says:

    Fantastic post, loved all the photos. The bald eagle looks like a moody fellow! Great post to remember 2013 :D x

  5. FeyGirl says:

    Such a wonderful compilation! REALLY fascinating places and things you’ve seen this year… :)

  6. Sartenada says:

    Great posts You have made and gorgeous photos. I love the photo of petroglyphs. In Finland we do not have them, but only rock paintings.

    Happy New Year 2014!

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