Hiking Days Are Numbered

The time changes this weekend so it will soon be too dark to hike after work. Long hikes will be relegated to the weekends and I’ll have to find new ways to work in some exercise during the week.

So I went for a real quick hike last night at Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park. It was foggy till lunchtime yesterday but turned out to be a nice fall afternoon and evening. Plus, I almost had the place to myself.

I always think this tree, and others like it, is trying to walk away.

And this bridge is a favorite spot on a quiet day.

There are a lot of stairs on this particular trail, providing plenty of opportunities to give your heart a little jolt. This picture represents a fraction of the steps you climb to leave the gorge and head back to the parking lot. Stairs are fine but that curved wood and metal staircase agitates my fear of heights in the worst way.

The fresh air was good for me and I was grateful. This is your gentle reminder to grab at those opportunities to do what you enjoy as often as you can.

Seasons

Ohioans are fortunate because we have four distinct seasons. Of these, spring is gentle and delicate. Winter is a harsh time of hibernation. Summer’s humidity and heat are brutally oppressive. I hibernate a lot then too.

But fall, oh fall! It’s deliciously beautiful. It’s cinnamon rolls, wood smoke, denim jackets and fresh apples. It’s pumpkin carving, long hikes and picnics under the maple trees.

Fresh air, blue skies and vibrant leaves in unexpected colors are hallmarks of this amazing season.

It’s the best season. It’s also ridiculously short.

Since it will soon be dark at 4:30 p.m. and the cold will soon move in, I have decided to make hay while the sun shines. I have been out for hikes and quick walks as much as possible this month and am grateful for each and every day this was possible.

Soon, I’ll have to work a little harder to be outdoors and keep thinking I need to buy better hiking clothes to make winter adventures more comfortable.

Fall is fleeting but so is life. As in nature, we all experience seasons in life. They aren’t always happy or beautiful times. It often feels like the happy moments pass in the blink of an eye while challenging periods seem to drag on forever.

Enjoy those beautiful, happy days to their fullest. Take the hike, pick the apples, breathe that crisp autumn air. And when the skies turn dark as winter settles in, look for ways to enjoy those days too.

These pictures are from my hike at Buzzard’s Roost after work last night. It was a quick 2.25 miles for exercise rather than for the near spiritual outdoor experience I described earlier this week.

Yet, I found myself occasionally coming around a bend to stop dead in my tracks. It was just that beautiful.

Someday, I’m going to pack a picnic and a book and linger on this bench. doesn’t that sound like a great way to enjoy a season?

Today is supposed to be gorgeous here in southern Ohio and I intend to enjoy every minute. Wherever you are, please go do the same.

The Small Things

I once read that anyone can love a rose but that it takes someone special to love a leaf.

A friend recently lost her son, a toddler who left this life far too soon. He was quite the little adventurer who delighted in exploration and treasures big and small. He embodied the thing I preach most here which is to enjoy the journey and look for the interesting things around you – no matter where you go.

On my walk last night I collected a fistful of leaves, nuts and tiny flowers as a quiet way to remember him. It’s a small gesture but one that brought me joy.

There’s wisdom in finding beauty in the ordinary and joy in the everyday. In general, you’ll be more satisfied with life and live a bigger life if you can fully embrace your surroundings.

On this walk I embraced the day like a toddler with a fistful of colorful leaves and pinecones from the ground. I need to do that more.

Calamus Swamp Preserve

After taking my dream ride on the Ford Tri-Motor airplane Saturday, I headed up to Circleville for some lunch and a walk at a place I had never been.

Calamus Swamp Preserve is located just outside of Circleville and is a Columbus Audubon Preserve of about 19 acres.

This is not a difficult walk but it is lovely. The trail winds through meadow, boardwalk and woods. Dragonflies, birds and squirrels accompanied me along the way.

This stretch of trail was shaded and especially pleasant.

There were several varieties of fungi and some interesting wildflowers to inspect.

Calamus is convenient to access and peaceful. I would absolutely stop here again when in the neighborhood. Click here to learn more. Take note, there’s also a paved bike path that goes right by this property.

A New Friend

I discovered this guy hanging out on the roof of my car yesterday. I’m no expert but I believe it’s a good old fashioned katydid.

They’re hard to spot in nature seeing as how they look like a leaf with legs. Luckily, he stood our nicely on my red car! He even seemed to stop and pose for a picture before continuing on his journey.

I always marvel at how much they resemble a leaf, right down to the veins. It’s the perfect camouflage.

Isn’t nature amazing?