If the rapidly changing leaf colors hadn’t already convinced me, the steady progression of earlier sunsets lately have proven that autumn is making its rapid march toward winter. A couple of times recently I have postponed my evening walk until 6 PM or later, and I ended up watching the sky turn brilliant with the sun’s last hurrah before I returned home.
But since I generally get done with my day’s work by mid-afternoon, that still leaves me with plenty of time for a hike. And though I had thought about a walk at Oak Hill Park after dinner this evening, when my hiking buddy called me around 3:30 to ask if I wanted to hike at Spangler (Wooster Memorial Park) instead, I decided to change my plans.
The park looks considerably different from when we were last there, over Labor Day weekend. The fall colors predominate, though many trees have already dropped their leaves to cover the trails. And the afternoon light in partly cloudy skies cast a different glow over the entire park.
We chose the Trillium trail for the day’s hike, descending the hill to the flood plain. In spring, this valley is carpeted with thousands of white trillium, but right now ferns and fallen leaves stand out. The trail winds along Rathburn Run before turning inward and heading up the steep slopes. This part of the trail has always been difficult for me, but the hiking poles definitely made the climb a little easier, and stopping to take photos always gives me a good excuse to stop and catch my breath!
Just before the trail headed back down into the valley, we found a trail marker for a new trail. In recent years, the park has not only acquired adjoining property, it has also developed new trails that we discovered on the posted map at the park entrance. This trail, the Hartman trail, led us along the upper edge of this valley and emerged at the boundary of a neighboring field. We then followed the tree line out to the road and walked back to the parking area. What a great way to avoid that steep hill that usually leads us back out of the park!
As we finished our hike, the sun was already dropping lower and casting its golden light over the woods. What a beautiful way to end the day!