Winter Comes to Wooster

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We have a saying in Ohio: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. Maybe you know that feeling, too? We hear it mostly during the transitions between seasons, and it has proven all too true this weekend.

On Friday, we enjoyed sunshine and high temperatures in the mid-70s. By dusk, when my friend and I walked downtown for the city’s annual kick-off to the holiday season, the temperature still hovered in the high 60s, making the contrast between the Christmas lights (and the hot chocolate!) and the actual weather feel downright strange.

But yesterday a front moved through, steadily plunging the temps toward the freezing point and turning rain first into sleet and then snow. It made for an unpleasantly chilling sort of day, one in which I found staying inside far more appealing than going for a hike.

This morning, though, I felt restless and ready to venture out into the first snow of the season, so just as the sky started to lighten, I scraped snow and ice off the car and headed out to Oak Hill Park. Knowing that Oak Hill is a breezy place at the best of times, I bundled up in winter gear from head to toe. Good thing, too! While the snow was not deep enough to cover the grass completely, the gusts sweeping across the hills felt plenty cold enough to warrant the heavy layers.

I started off following the usual paved path, though I walked in the snowy grass alongside because the pavement was just icy enough to be treacherous. But by the time I finished the northern part of the trail, I decided to be a little more adventuresome. The park has a number of off-trail paths that are kept mowed through the season, so I followed a few of them along tree lines and across fields for a different perspective of the park. I’ve wanted to explore these paths many times this year but never felt properly attired for them until today (boots are a definite plus here).

Once I finished my walk and warmed up in the car, I decided to tackle a second, shorter hike while I was out and about. I followed the bypass around town, drove out past the OARDC and the arboretum, and pulled into the parking area at Barnes Preserve.

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Was it only a month ago when I last visited this park in the glowing autumn sunshine? So much can change in a month this time of year. Most of the trees had lost their leaves, the wildflower meadow had faded to bleached stalks, and the light snowfall highlighted dark tree trunks and shadowy reflections in the pond. The wind still howled through the trees, but thanks to their protection, I felt a little warmer while walking through the woods.

This light a snowfall won’t last, of course, and we will see (slightly) warmer temps by week’s end. But winter is definitely coming…

 

 

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