This week I’ve had a light work schedule, and that means I’ve had more time to hike. I’ve really needed this time outside as well as the opportunity to start rebuilding my strength and stamina.
I’ve steadily worked my way through the trails in most of the Medina County Parks, and since the end of this hiking goal is now within my sights, I decided to spend my morning making progress on that goal. I had hoped to hit the trail by dawn, but as the day started off below freezing, I left home after sunrise and arrived at Plum Creek Park once the sun had fully risen.
Parking in the south lot, I headed past a small pond on my way into the woods. The park, a former landfill, features one large loop trail (Tulip Tree trail, 1.5 miles) with a couple of smaller loops spinning off it, so I started by heading south and west on this trail, wandering up and down hills through the woods. Where I had expected to find muddy paths (like on Tuesday’s hikes), I found my steps crunching along the icy needles of frozen mud instead.
The hardwood forest (beech, oak, and maple mostly) here remains bare, though some bushes and ground cover plants have begun to display the first shades of green. The sunshine filtering through the branches warmed me as I walked, and several bird species kept me company on my hike. As the trail headed north and then east, I found more pines and eventually passed a couple of vernal pools (glazed with ice on such a chilly morning).
I turned onto another loop trail for an extra little climb into the woods, and the path led me back to Pine Pond and the north parking lot. This larger pond, sheltered by a pine-covered hill, lay under a coating of ice, dappled with sunshine and shadows, but it won’t be long before it provides a quiet, sheltered spot for picnics.
The last stretch of trail, paved for all-purpose access, led back up into the woods along a steady slope before turning back to the south parking lot. The air was still chilled by the time I finished, but the sunshine felt so very wonderful. In fact, I felt invigorated enough to head next to the Schleman Nature Preserve to finish hiking the last trail there before heading home.
That leaves me with one trail left in Medina County — so I hope to check off this hiking goal by the end of the month!