I really like snow.
I know, many people don’t. I don’t think anyone enjoys driving in it, shoveling it, or dealing with the muddy mess once it thaws. But because I walk most places, sometimes work from home, and can generally tolerate colder weather, I usually welcome a nice, decorative snowfall and have no qualms about getting outside for a walk in it.
Though the first snow fell before Thanksgiving, we saw our first significant (ground-covering) snow this past weekend. Not living in the Snow Belt, I didn’t have more than a couple of inches to stomp through on my neighborhood walks and a quick hike through the nearby park. That was enough, though, to get me excited about winter hiking.
Knowing I had today off work, I started planning on Sunday for possible hikes. I had initially thought about returning to the Cuyahoga Valley to explore a couple more new-to-me trails, but since more snow appeared in today’s forecast (and I’ve been feeling a bit worn down), I decided to stick close to home.
First, I drove to Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve. After seeing it in early and mid-autumn, with plenty of leaves still on the trees, I found a very different scene this morning. The beeches held on to the last remaining leaves, and the dark trunks of all the other trees stood out in stark relief from the snowfall. Low areas where I had not previously noticed standing water now have frozen pools or streams winding through the forest.
While the thaw and freeze of the last day or two made walking along the boardwalk a treacherous adventure, I savored the relatively mild temperatures and total peace during my walk. The snow highlighted shapes of fallen trees or curves of landscape that had escaped me before, and I enjoyed discovering a new side to this old-growth forest.
Heading back to Wooster, I stopped for coffee (to warm me up!) before driving to Oak Hill Park. A light snow flurry had started before I arrived, and while it didn’t create a total white-out, it did make distant trees and houses look less substantial in the cold air. The snow blew into my eyes, and the path grew more slippery the further I walked, but I walked slowly (and carefully), stopping to look around frequently and to appreciate the snow dusting everything I saw.
Lest you think me the only fool over a certain age to suit up and romp in the snow, I will point out that plenty of footprints marked the trails at both places, and at Oak Hill I passed a couple of people taking their dogs for a walk. Why not? As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices. And since I had bundled up comfortably, I was quite happy to spend the morning playing in the snow.
Kids love a good snow day, and so do I!