Every year between September 1st and November 30th the Summit County Metroparks host their annual Fall Hiking Spree. Hikers must complete 8 of the 15 trails listed in order to receive a metal badge that adorns the hiking stick you will receive upon completion of your first hiking spree. Spree is free to all Summit Co. residents, non-residents may participate but to receive hiking rewards it is $10 first year then $5 for veteran hikers.
List and more information can be found here.
For us, the hiking spree really motivated us to get out and explore more of the area's metroparks, sure we had a handful of favorites already, but years ago when we were new to the area it pushed us to explore more of the parks that we wouldn't have explored otherwise and we ended up finding a few new favorites.
This year to inspire all of you to get out and explore I'll be posting about each of the trails and hikes we complete. I'd love to hear your feedback about your experiences on each of the trails we post!
Oct. 12, 2015 - The Meadow
The Meadow is one of our top parks to go to, in the spring and summer it's home to a wide variety of birds, butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, and beetles not to mention the sunsets from there are stunning!
The evening we went was a crisp October evening right before sunset. (I added a few photos from other times on the trail for more diversity). The light was glowing warm though the breeze reminded you of summer's end. We start down the trail, overlooking the whole meadow, looking very closely, we spot the family of deer in the center, too far to take a photo but those moving brown dots in the distance are unmistakeable with their white tails. Walking past the meadow heading into the woods the smell of fall leaves overtakes us, a sense of comfort falls over the trail as even the jumpy chipmunks can't startle us. Through the clearing before the bridge we listen, the sumac is in bloom, a favorite of cedar waxwings, no sign, we move on. Over the bridge, my favorite view is of the stones, dancing down the channel, too smooth to be a rock, too large to be a pebble, but the blankets of moss don't mind. Beyond the bridge is a long stretch of new growth trees standing across the trail from the old growth forrest (image3), working together to form a canopy over the trail. Turning from the canopy leads to the wetland, still full of sounds even on this cool evening. The sunset, the fog, the smells, the year's end bounty falling all around us, being a fantastically insignificant piece in this beautiful cycle, this is why I nature.
We leave the wetland and enter the meadow, a long wide open stretch circling where we had first seen the deer. In the summer this space is filled to the brim with wildflowers, grasses, and more birds and butterflies than I've ever seen (remember this post about the hummingbird moth? Yep, that was from here), tonight a calm overtakes the scene, the summer's work has been done, and now we rest. On top of the hill we gaze over the meadow, the woods, and beyond; in the distance we can see the bucks sparring, (the rut is here so watch for deer!) the light grows dimmer so we continue on. The twilight fills the air as we finish up the last stretch of the trail, a beautiful disorienting scene as the eyes don't know what to do with the lessening light. We come to the end, another wonderful hike at the Meadow.
Wildlife we saw:
3 or 4 deer
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Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.