The past two months the local fungi has emerged in all it splendor. It's nearing the end of the season and I'd say this year's turn out was pretty great.
Enjoy the gallery of some of the ones I've found then scroll to the bottom to learn more about one of the most common types of fungi and then one of the most unique types I've found this year.
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
As we begin our journey into September we see the summer colors fading from the meadows and a new palate of yellows and greens welcome the beginning of autumn.
Here are some common (and a few uncommon) ones you may find in your travels.
Tansy - It is also known as common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, or golden buttons. "In England, bunches of tansy were traditionally placed at windows to keep out flies. Sprigs were placed in bedding and linen to drive away pests. Tansy has been widely used in gardens and homes in Melbourne, Australia to keep away ants. Some traditional dyers use tansy to produce a golden-yellow colour. The yellow flowers are dried for use in floral arrangements. Tansy is also used as a companion plant, especially with cucurbits like cucumbers and squash, or with roses or various berries. It is thought to repel ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and some kinds of flying insects, among others. Dried tansy is used by some bee-keepers as fuel in a bee smoker."
Goldenrod - due to it's bloom time and location, many have thought it to be a main source of hay fever and seasonal allergies. However, it is the ragweed that blooms at the same time in the same locations that is the culprit. Surprisingly enough goldenrod is not only fine for allergy sufferers but it also offers a wide variety of beneficial remedies for everything from bladder infections to gout! "Throughout its history, goldenrod has been used to treat a variety of other medical problems. These include hemorrhoids , diabetes, tuberculosis , liver enlargement, gout , internal bleeding, diarrhea, asthma , rheumatism, enlarged prostate, infections of the mouth and throat, and external wounds." Goldenrod has shown little to no side affects when used for these purposes. To make a simple tea... "Goldenrod tea can be prepared by steeping 3–5 g (1 or 2 teaspoonfuls) of the herb in 150 ml of simmering water. The mixture should be strained after about 15 minutes. Dosage is two to four cups of tea a day, taken between meals. The liquid extract preparation is usually taken two to three times a day in doses of 0.5–2.0 ml. Dosage for the tincture is 0.5–1.0 ml two to three times a day." Use caution if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, for children, or if you have kidney disease. Who knew this plant with such a bad reputation was such a good healer!
Brown Eyed Susans (of the black eyed susan family) -Black eyed susans are pioneer plants, one of the first plants to grow after a fire or other natural disaster. -In the language of flowers, black eyed susans represent encouragement. They would be the perfect gift to send to a friend who is going through some tough times.
Prairie Coneflower Native peoples utilized a decoction of leaves and stems to treat pain, poison ivy rash, and rattlesnake bites. An infusion was made from plant tops to treat headache, stomachache, cough, fever, epileptic fits, and to induce vomiting. A medicinal or beverage-type tea was made from the ripened flower heads and leaves. An orange-yellow dye was produced from boiled flowers.
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.