After my holiday in Scotland and all the walking I did there, I needed to rest for about a week before feeling ready to tackle new trails back at home. But the first day I had off work on that second week, I headed out before dawn with the intention of checking a few more trails off my hiking goals list.
I started with a brief visit to Tinkers’ Creek State Nature Preserve to discover how it looked in springtime. After seeing it in stark colors in winter, I found great pleasure in the lush greenness and the symphony of bird and frog songs in this warmer weather. And what a relief to visit those wetlands before the mosquitoes took over!
From there I headed north to Willoughby Hills and another state nature preserve, Hach-Otis Sanctuary. Protected as a bird sanctuary since 1944, this 81-acre wooded nature preserve treated me to my first sight of ground cones (above), plenty of May apples, and the newly-green canopy provided by mostly beech, maple, and oak trees.
I followed each of the looping trails through the woods, finding several places at the edge of a steep bluff where I could look down into the winding Chagrin River valley. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources web site, bank swallows and kingfishers make their nests on these banks, but I did not have the chance to spot any.
What I did see and enjoy, of course, was the dance of sunlight on the young leaves and the play of light and shadow throughout the woods. How lovely it is to see such vibrant color on my hikes again!
Overall, the two trails covered just over a mile and were relatively easy, save for one descent into a narrow valley and a steep ascent from it. The trail does veer close to cliff’s edge in a few spots, though, with no restraining wall or fence, so caution is advised and an enforced closing time of 4 PM makes sense.
It’s good to be out exploring my home state again!