Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park: Whispering Cave

There's a newly opened attraction at the Hocking Hills State Park: Whispering Cave. It is a recess cave that's nearly 300 feet wide with a drizzling, 105-foot waterfall pouring from its upper rim. Getting Oriented The new trail is called the Hemlock Bridge Trail. It begins near the parking lot for the Hocking Hills Dining Lodge which is closed for the time being. You'll find a kiosk for the new trail toward the northwest end of the parking lot (the end opposite from the lodge). Read more ➜
Posted in Northwestern Ohio, Park review

Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve

The full name of this preserve is the Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The research center studies the local "estuary," a word that usually refers to the region where fresh-water in a river mixes with the salt-water of an ocean. However in this case it is referring to a region where the fresh-water of a creek mixes with the fresh-water of Lake Erie. The preserve is 572 acres in size, and it features hiking trails, an observation deck, and a handicap-accessible Read more ➜
Posted in Bugs, Nature

The Hummingbird Moth

This little creature is my favorite moth. It's common name is actually the hummingbird clearwing moth (Hemaris thysbe). When I first saw one, I actually thought that I was seeing a hummingbird flitting about from flowers. But then I noticed the antenna. In the above photo, you can see right through the moth's wings, hence the name "clearwing." However when it first emerged from its cocoon, the wings were a solid, dark red similar in color to the border of the wings seen above. The Read more ➜
Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Wayne National Forest (Athens Unit): Monroe Outlook

Last weekend after hiking at Wildcat Hollow, we drove over to have a look at Monroe Outlook. Monroe Outlook is a scenic overlook providing a large hill-top panoramic view of the area. The site was developed by Wayne National Forest, Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Little Cities of the Forest Collaboration, and Miller High School. The parking area is a small gravel parking lot with an informational kiosk off of Irish Ridge Road. Its about a 5 minute drive from the Wildcat Hollow trail-head. Read more ➜
Posted in Animals, Nature

Great Weather for Polar Bears

This past Saturday was cold and the ground had a thick cover of snow. Perfect weather to go see polar bears in central Ohio. We were at the Columbus Zoo which features a polar bear exhibit. It has a large open area for the bears and a fish stocked pool (chilled in the summer) with an underwater observation room for visitors. The two female bears were snoozing and the male was calmly surveying the terrain. Many of the zoo's animals are indoors for the season, but several of Read more ➜
Posted in Plants and trees

Kicking up clouds of spores

During a recent hike to Trimmer Arch, I was startled when my peripheral vision caught sight of "smoke" rising up around my ankles. When I stopped and looked down, I realized that it wasn't smoke, but instead clouds of spores. These ripe spores were being released by ground cedar. The spores produced by it and other members of its family have an exceptionally high fat content. People have utilized these spores industrially over the years, and in this capacity they are referred to collectively Read more ➜
Posted in Native American

The Atlatl – An Ancient Hunting Weapon

While attending the Ohio Pawpaw Festival in Athens, I got the opportunity to try out an ancient weapon — the atlatl. The atlatl is also known as a spear thrower; although, today the spear is referred to as a dart. Since the dart is fletched with feathers, it looks a like a really long arrow. The atlatl was used by the earliest Paleoindian cultures in Ohio. It continued to be the primary weapon of Native Americans in Ohio until it was displaced by the bow and arrow in the late woodland period. To Read more ➜
Posted in Birds, Park visit

Hand-feeding Hummingbirds at Lake Hope

The Nature Center at Lake Hope State Park is well-known as the place to go if you want to try hand-feeding hummingbirds. This seasonal activity typically begins in July. This year park officials will continue to host the hand-feeding sessions on Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 3 PM until Labor Day. This was the first time Bob and I had tried hand-feeding hummingbirds, and we both loved it. It is fascinating to watch hummingbirds perform their aerial acrobatics, but it was even more amazing to Read more ➜
Posted in Flowers, Northwestern Ohio, Park review

Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve

The Lakeside daisy is Ohio's rarest, native plant species. This plant only grows in four areas. Its largest population is in Ohio's Marblehead peninsula, part of Ottawa County. This is where the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve is located. Lakeside daisies are also found in Michigan's upper peninsula, and in Ontario, Canada they can be found in the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island. Lakeside daisies are the only representatives of their genus that live east of the Mississippi. Read more ➜