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. We weren't there long when the osprey on the nesting platform began calling to its mate. And soon after we spotted its mate flying back toward the nest with a fish in its talons. We watched with Read more ➜

A.W. Marion State Park in Autumn

A.W. Marion State Park is a 309-acre park in Pickaway County that I described after a previous hike in the spring (see here for description and photos). On October 29th we returned to the park to hike the Hargus Lake Perimeter Trail. We thought that peak fall color had probably passed, but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised at how colorful the park was. As it turns out there are many maple trees in the park, and many of these were a brilliant red. We made a GPS trace of our hike. Read more ➜

Fort Hill: Fall Foliage and Hot Pretzels

Fort Hill is one of our favorite places to hike. It is a preserve in Highland County that we've discussed previously. Besides enjoying the fall foliage there in late October, we also visited nearby Seip Mound and an Amish bakery, too. Fort Hill Fort Hill has 11 miles of trails through forested hills. It features ancient Native American earthworks, a gorge valley, dramatic cliffs. and several natural arches. The Buckeye Trail winds through the site then continues into Pike State Forest. Read more ➜

Early Summer Evening at Char-Mar Ridge Preserve

Hot-air balloon over the trail
Yesterday we went on an early evening walk at Char-Mar Ridge Preserve. We were half-way around the loop trail when we heard a strange sound. It sounded like a fire-breathing dragon (if there were such things) and it was getting closer. I immediately recognized it and we started watching the sky. Deb was ready with her camera as the hot-air balloon flew over still fairly close to the ground. It drifted overhead, firing its burners to gain more altitude. Then it vanished over the tree line, the roar Read more ➜

Cedar Bog in Late Spring

Cedar Bog is a State Nature Preserve located in Champaign County. We visited the preserve twice during the past several weeks to look at the spring wildflowers. Like many people our favorite bloom from this past weekend was the Showy Lady's Slipper. Other Early June Sights I was excited to catch sight of two species of carnivorous plants while visiting Cedar Bog. They are tiny plants, and they are often hidden by the grassy-looking sedges. The first is Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). Read more ➜

Great Seal State Park in Late Winter

My daughter doesn't like hiking this time of year when there's no snow on the ground and the forests are devoid of greenery. As she puts it, "The forests look like a nuclear wasteland." Although I see her point, there are some advantages to hiking now. If you are considering hiking to some destination where there is no trail (like Trimmer Arch in the Paint Creek Wildlife Area) then going at this time of year means that you will have to contend with the least amount of undergrowth of the year. Similarly Read more ➜

51st Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike, January 2016

We participated in the 51st Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike on Saturday. This was our seventh time participating in this winter hike that runs from Old Man's Cave to Rose Lake, Cedar Falls, and ends at Ash Cave for a total distance of 6.5 miles. A bus returns participants to the starting point. The weather for the hike, like most of this winter, was warmer than usual. There were some small patches of snow here and there, and small icicles. But the temperature was above freezing and Read more ➜

Fort Hill: Canby’s Mountain Lover Trail and Keyhole Arch

We really enjoy hiking at Fort Hill, but until recently we've never hiked the Canby's Mountain Lover Trail. To access this trail, you have to wade across Baker Fork Creek. We thought that if we went toward the end of October the water might be low enough to wade across while wearing waterproof hiking boots, but we were wrong. The creek is too high for hiking boots. It's also too cold at this time of year to just wade in and get your feet wet. We ended up returning on November 7th, each of us packing Read more ➜

Hocking Hills State Park: Old Man’s Cave / Cedar Falls Loop Hike

We are going to describe one of our favorite loop trails in the Hocking Hills State Park. The outbound portion of the the trail follows the Grandma Gatewood Trail, named after the famed Emma Gatewood. The Grandma Gatewood Trail is a segment of the 1,500 mile Buckeye Trail and is marked with blue blazes or blue marker posts. Below is a screenshot of the GPS trace of our hike courtesy of Google's My Tracks app. We started at the red marker near the Upper Falls and traveled counter-clockwise. Read more ➜

Visiting Three Waterfalls in Miami County

Saturday we visited three waterfalls in Miami County. Below we show what the waterfalls look like and describe their locations. Ludlow Falls First up was Ludlow Falls in the village of Ludlow Falls. We parked in a dirt parking lot across from the post office. The 15 ft (4.5m) high falls on Ludlow Creek is located under a highway bridge. A short path leads from the lot to the falls. FYI, the village, creek, and falls are named after Israel Ludlow, a surveyor who helped found Read more ➜