When my hiking buddy and I visited the parks and trails on the SMP Fall Hiking Spree list, we usually only took the time to complete the Spree hike before moving on to another park. In some parks, that one trail was all there was to explore, but where the larger parks had other trails, I thought that at some point I would like to return and hike those as well.
Since today’s Towpath hike took me to the northern edge of Summit County, I decided to head to Liberty Metro Park in Twinsburg. Having already checked out the trails near the nature center, I decided to visit the Pond Brook conservation area as well as the recreation area of the park.
I started at the conservation area and headed on to the Buttonbush trail, listed as an easy 1.6-mile hike. It led me around the wetlands along Pond Brook, into the woods, and over a boardwalk in a wet section of the forest. After last night’s rain, the trail was muddy in spots, making me glad I had just had my hiking shoes resoled.
While I only spotted one buttonbush (all the others having already lost their characteristics “buttons”), I did find plenty of beech and oak trees still holding their leaves as well as the usual assortment of wildflowers and birds. I’m not sure I would want to hike the trail in summer and fend off swarms of mosquitoes in the damp areas, but I suspect it will be beautiful in spring.
Next I visited the recreation area and followed the Gravel Loop walking path around soccer fields to the Sugarbush trailhead. This trail offered a pleasant walk through the woods before emerging to reconnect with walking paths near the baseball fields. But given that I’ve seen so many interesting trails and natural highlights elsewhere this fall, I confess to finding this short trail a little dull.
Onward, then, I drove to Furnace Run Metro Park and the Daffodil picnic area and trail. From the road, it doesn’t look like you could expect much from this part of the park because the parking area is so small. But the trail leads out and around a wooded plateau surrounded by valleys for Furnace Run and a couple of its tributaries.
Of course, the main feature of this trail — the daffodils! — were nowhere in sight today, which only means I’ll have to return in springtime to see them. But the rest of the trail invited one to peaceful meditation and would surely be worth the effort to visit at any time of the year.
Other trails at other Metro Parks await me, but at least these two parks are completed!