24* in full sun
In the first image if you look really close, in the water, all the way back, you can just make out ~27 swans (a swimming), they're joined by nearly the same number of Canada geese (a shouting).
The crisp, fresh air, and secretly warm sun were so welcomed on our first day out of quarantine (everyone is safe and healthy, no worries).
A couple of eagles flew overhead, hawks too. The robins are gathering enmasse on any tree, shrub, or vine that still holds fruits.
I picked this spot (Killbuck Marsh) for a number of reasons, but mostly I wanted to see what the skunk cabbages had to say. The greens are lifting up out of the saturated ground, but if you look close, a purple mottled thumbnail sticks out on the side. That, my friend, is the spathe, it will grow, untwist, and reveal a spadix covered with flowers (yes even in the snow) a bright yellow sphere with alien looking yellow flowers erupting from the surface. Think of what the covid virus looks like (are you picturing the gray sphere with the red bits?) imagine that yellow and there you have the spadix of the skunk cabbage!
Also emerging from the ground is cat tail!
We wandered around an old field for a while and an interesting thing happened, instead of seeing an old grassy field, I noticed there was actually very little grass here, this was mostly goldenrod, ironweed, vervain, queen Anne's lace. To see beyond the color, to see the textures, the plants, imagining them in bloom was a new phenomenon.
The low red rosette, I couldn't identify, I'm glad to have a mystery still.
As we were leaving I noticed the winter creeper filled with fruit. Soon the robins find them, then it'll be fly-rest-poop and a new invasive can potentially take hold.
It may be winter, but there's still so much to see out there!
A new-to-us park just one county over in Wadsworth, Holmesbrook Park is surprisingly rustic for being very close to downtown!
There are both paved and primitive trails, a creek, pond, steep hills, and lots of different trails to explore.
Below you'll see some photos from the trek.
The Christmas fern was so big and lush (although I've noticed that seems to be the thing this season, they're looking really good!)! It was chilly enough for the needle ice to form but as we were heading back the sun was beginning to turn it all to mud. The bridge was oddly steep but had good grips, it's kooky and I like it.
I'm interested in seeing what this looks like in the spring - lots of forested areas, not too many noticeable invasive. Worth checking out!
City's website can be found HERE
The tradition continues!
For this year's New Year's Day hike we kept close to home - the rain, snow, ice certainly helped with that decision - and ventured out to Wooster Memorial Park.
Unsurprisingly we were the only ones at the main entrance - another couple was strolling around the Kenwood with their brightly colored umbrellas, but that's a much more sensible walk than what we were about to undertake.
Immediately as we started down the trail I found myself sliding down the grade, a slow walk it'll have to be. A slow walk is always nice though, it encourages one to look around. The beech tree, heavy with ice, caught my eye right away (see slideshow below). Every leaf as delicate as a glass sculpture.
Everywhere a world of glass highlighted every detail, every needle on the pine, every hip on the rose bush, the small branches on trees -so often invisible- had a special light all their own.
We walked down the big hill, took the lower trillium to the outer trail. At rathburn run the water was high, fast, and cold so we turned back, following the lower trillium again (due to the ice) and took the Spangler trail up to the hemlock area. On top of the hill we wandered over by the sycamore which was holding steady even with the added ice weight, and followed the education trail back to the entrance.
About half ways through the 3.5 miles the rain broke through the umbrella, coat, 3 layers of sweaters and shirts. We were soaked. That's also why you won't see any photos beyond the hemlocks, the rain was too much we didn't want to ruin our cameras.
Although we were soaked there was no room for complaining - we had to keep moving forward, soaked or not this is our hike, our day. While sure, complaining is an option, we had more fun laughing and walking through the puddles since it really didn't matter, we were soaked through the boots, through the socks, and had to get back to the car.
And I think that's a good lesson to start the year with, you may be cold and soaking wet, but make the most of it and before you know it you'll be back inside, dry, warm, curled up with a tea, book, and the one you love.
Happy new year my friends!
- NEW FEATURE -
Some of you may know I've been playing around with videos - how to make them, how to edit them. So I started a YouTube channel - honestly I've been too busy to do much with it at the moment but my goal is to do virtual nature walks.
Below you can walk with us along the lower trillium trail on the newly installed boardwalks - this is actual footage from our New Year's Day Hike!
Let me know what you think, is this something you'd like to see more of (but in better quality/less shaky)? Would you like narration or just the sounds of nature?
At any rate, it's all just for fun, enjoy!
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.