Back at the end of January, I started off a day of hiking at Letha House Park. Part of the Medina County Park system, it sits in a rural area north and west of Lodi and is split into two sections.
The day I visited was cold and blustery, grey and a bit damp. I had the park to myself as I hiked three different trails through wetlands and woods, but I decided to stop before tackling the last trail, a bridle trail.
Today, after a slow recovery from my second respiratory infection of the season, I wanted to hike a couple of easy trails to get back into my adventure groove. I started by finishing the Lester Rail Trail, a nice flat trail through a wooded corridor, and despite the damp chilly weather, I finished that hike with enough energy to tackle another. So off I headed to Letha House.
The Great Horned Owl Bridle Trail starts from the eastern parking lot in the park, heads north between road and wetlands, and wanders in and out of the woods as it makes a 1.6-mile loop through those wetlands. Though the recent snow had mostly melted here, it left the trail very soggy and muddy in many spots, especially where it led through the wetter areas of the park.
I’m not much of a bird-watcher, so I don’t recognize many birds by sight or sound, but I did hear several red-winged blackbirds as I strolled through the more open areas. That surprised me, because the cold, damp day turned a little sleety as I started the hike. But hey, Spring officially starts tomorrow, so I am not going to complain about the blackbirds singing about better weather!
As the trail wandered through the wetlands (instead of just around the edges), I found subtle differences in what constitutes “wetlands.” Open areas of water, small ponds, and marshy areas met me in different places in the park, with different types of vegetation from trees and bushes down to tall grasses and teasels. Seeing these differences around every bend made me realize how little I really understand about this kind of ecosystem.
I felt chilled by the end of the hike and was grateful to be done (and not to have stepped in any horse apples along the way), but I also appreciated that this trail turned out to be more interesting than I had expected. Since this park is a little more out of the way for me, I doubt I will return here often, but I do think a return visit on a sunny, warm day would be worth the trip.