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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

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.

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.

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), one of the summer wildflowers at Gallagher Fen

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 sprouting around quarry debris at Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve
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 hummingbird at Inniswood

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
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 Preserve where we learned about the beginning of the amphibian life cycle and mothing
These are wood frog eggs which learned about as part of the beginning of the amphibian life cycle.
The light lure used at our first mothing event
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.

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.

We had an opportunity to try throwing the atlatl, a weapon used by the paleoindians.

Deb: Got nothing.

Best Novel Experience

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

Birders gathering at a target-rich environment at Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week in American Birding.

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

We both enjoyed feeding hummingbirds at Lake Hope.
Best Historic Site

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

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.

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!

More Annual Highlights

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

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