Saturday I spent a good part of the afternoon Saturday messing around in Hueston Woods State Park (http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/huestonw/tabid/745/Default.aspx), just outside of Oxford, OH with the dashing Robert Spencer.
Our first destination in the park was the Nature Center to find ourselves a map. In the process, we also found out that Hueston Woods has a raptor rehabilitation center! Cool! Bobby was really excited to see a bald eagle, closer than he’d ever seen before. I was enamored with this little guy. I can’t remember his name, but he was the first bird we saw. He looked so sad in his cage, but his wing had been injured, and he could no longer fly. Beautiful, awesome creature though.
So, after getting a good look at a map (and charging my camera in the car, because after 15 minutes, the thing had already died), we picked a simple looking trail, cedar falls for those keeping track at home, and decided to make our way there, by driving the long way around the park loop. It was my first visit to Hueston Woods, after living in Oxford for a full year *shame* and I wanted to get a chance to take it all in. Key words. Simple. “Looking.” First off, we couldn’t find the trail head. And then, we really couldn’t find the trail head. And then, I declared the map horribly inadequate, and after a lot of me telling Bobby “Just trust me” “I’ll find it” “Just go with it” we forged off in a direction that I thought maybe, might have the trail head. Thankfully, I was right or I might have had to eat a lot of “Just trust me”s. First off, literally not 30 feet onto the trail there was a fork. GAH! The trail map showed this trail as being a simple loop, in other words, no forks. We picked a direction and I didn’t like it, so Bobby and I turned around, not 2 minutes into our hike. It wasn’t looking good for a smooth trek! We stumbled upon fork after fork after fork on this trail. Finally we got to what must have been cedar falls, which was pretty, but probably the smallest thing allowable under the terminology of “Falls.” We took off our shoes and were delighted to find it was a nice, bedrock bottom creek like the ones Bobby and I were used to from Hanover. The kind that’s good to creek stomp in while barefoot. The creek was teeming with life – tadpoles, water boatmen, water striders, crayfish, minnows, dragonflies…. and the list goes on. My favorite, however, was this:
My Mom, early in my life introduced me to the joy of daylilies, she has maybe 20 varieties in her garden, and we used to go to these daylily farms with hundreds of varieties. I was surprised to see this one, with such a gorgeous burgundy blaze and yellow throat, growing wild beside a creek. I had thought that the wild variety was all orange. huh! After some stone flipping and general critter gawking, Bobby and I sat down for a rest, and I snapped this beautiful example of how living things seemingly defy the laws of physics:
I feel like I’ll be using this photo in one of the labs I teach soon enough. Bobby and I then headed on our way, taking a different path out. After hiking for a while, we came across another couple who were trail biking and all four of us started to cross the creek at the same time. Started to. Until we noticed this fellow, basking on a warm rock in the middle of the creek.
The other couple went downstream to cross while Bob and I checked out this guy, and some small bluegill that were just chilling in a deeper pool, also in the creek. We finally found an exit to the trail that wasn’t far from where we parked the car. Overall, a very nice day. I think I really like Hueston Woods, but I think I’ll try a different trail next time. And possibly bring a GPS!