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.

Homestead At Buzzard’s Roost

The last time I hiked at Buzzard’s Roost, I noticed a small short path to a primitive home.

There’s a small house, an outhouse and several farm implements outside. Here are a few iPhone snaps that I converted to black and white. I like the effect.

Here’s the outhouse and a great fence.

The iconic moon on the outhouse door.

The home is one room.

I especially like this nice counter with a pump and storage shelves.

And, of course, a horseshoe. Hanging a horseshoe facing up is supposed to bring good luck to a home and to keep out evil.

Thinking about visiting Buzzard’s Roost? You should! I rank it among my top three places to hike in southern Ohio. Read more about it here.

Kinnikinnick Fen

Most people seem to use their lunch break to eat but I am not most people. If opportunity presents itself, I prefer to spend my free time doing something interesting.

Work took me to Ashville, Ohio yesterday. On the way back, I was passing the turn to Kinnikinnick Fen, a wetland owned by the Ross County Parks District. I was in dress pants but had some walking shoes in the car so I swung in for a quick look around. The trail here is flat and wide, perfect for a quiet conversation with a friend or for walking solo on a workday afternoon.

It’s shaded in some wooded places and exposed in others where the trail winds through open meadow.

It’s vividly green here.

As a southern Ohio native, I often take for granted my lush surroundings while my Wyoming friend practically cries at the sight of all our grass and trees. Poor rainfall in her high plains region creates tough growing conditions.

Consequently, I sometimes force myself to stop and appreciate how beautiful everything is. The variation in greens never fails to surprise me.

This is officially one of my favorite trees.

This shaded spot was cooler and the bird chatter was spectacular yesterday. Somewhere nearby I made friends with a dragonfly that accompanied me for part of the way.

This color really pops in that sea of green.

And the water looked so inviting I badly wanted to go wading. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot? Me kicking off my shoes and rolling up my dress pants to cool off?

I did have to resume my workday as a serious grown up in a matter of minutes so I refrained. Adulthood is when you have to be your own buzzkill.

Of course, there was this as well – a reminder to be happy. I can’t help but wonder if whoever left that behind has ever had to resist the urge to dip their toes in water on a hot summer afternoon. For their sake, I hope not.

Finally, I saw lots of interesting things on the ground including this leaf, colorful and in the shape of a heart.

When you go out for a walk – whether it is a hike through nature or a stroll around the block, be sure to look around. Study the ground and the sky in search of wonder. It is there if you open your eyes and your heart to seeing it.

I wrote about my first visit to this place back in May. Have a read if you like.

Buzzard’s Roost Nature Preserve

Buzzard’s Roost Nature Preserve did not disappoint. I have been meaning to go there for a long time and finally made it out yesterday morning.

They have about five miles of trails through 1,200 mostly wooded acres. I chose the South Point Lookout Trail which is a two mile loop from the parking lot. But when I finished, I turned around and walked it in reverse.

It was beautiful both ways.

This is a Ross County Parks District property. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Chillicothe’s Western Avenue, it’s an oasis close to the city.

This trail is wide in most places and it’s one of the best maintained trails I’ve been on in southern Ohio. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at trail conditions after the stormy weather we’ve had lately.

I found many new favorite trees including this one.

And this one.

Trees reflected in water are one of life’s gifts.

This trail meanders through woods, past cliffs, and along rocks over streams. The soundtrack of the forest features dripping water, tree frogs and an orchestra of birds.

As I stood with my face turned toward the sun, I closed my eyes and felt the breeze ruffle my hair. I breathed deeply the aroma of pine needles while listening to songbirds all around. It was the ultimate surround sound.

Everything about this place is perfection.

If you go, be prepared for an extremely sharp turn onto the narrow road called Red Bird Lane. Isn’t that a charming name for a road to the forest? Maybe I’ll try another trail next time.

Want to know more? Click here to visit the Ross County Park District’s website. Here you’ll find events, trail maps and directions.