As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I embarked on a journey that encompassed four different parks located at various sites along the Huron River. I walked almost seven miles that day!
You will recall, I started off my day at Huroc Park. Before the day was over, I would go to Willow Metropark, Oakwoods Metropark and Lower Huron Metropark. Though I don’t usually do posts three days in a row, for continuity sake, I’ll do it just this time.
Today I’m going to write about Willow and Oakwoods Metroparks – tomorrow, for Wordless Wednesday, it will be all the beautiful wildflowers I saw while I wandered a few trails and along a split-rail fence at Lower Huron Metropark.
Then I’ll give the long blog posts a rest for a few days — except I’ll report on my steps to date at month end. 🙂
As previously mentioned, I had spoken to fellow walker Arnie at Council Point Park on the previous Friday about local parks with walking trails. He extolled the virtues of the Huroc Dam and superb walking trail at Huroc Park and the peace and serenity of Washago Pond at Willow Park.
Arnie is also an avid bicyclist and fond of riding the loop called the Iron Belle Trail. It is 24.5 miles (each way) (or 49 miles round trip) and connects four different Metroparks; three are located along the Huron River and the fourth is Lake Erie Metropark on Lake Erie, one of my favorite venues to visit.
Willow Park is 1,531 acres, with not only a nod to nature, but also with many non-nature amenities, like golf or swimming, but I just honed in on the bike/walking trail and a visit to Washago Pond per Arnie’s recommendations.
The 4 ½-mile trail was easy walking as it was paved and wound through a woodsy area.
I went about a mile and turned around and headed back because a contingent of recumbent bike riders was on the trail and I had to keep sidestepping them. They were not all traveling together, but instead arrived in fits and spurts. They were fun and I was chatting with them as they took breaks. Here are two of them.
Since I planned to walk at two more parks and I’d racked up some miles already, I decided to double back and head over to Washago Pond to check it out.
It was a pretty large pond – 17 acres in fact. How peaceful and serene is this photo? A couple rowed across the Pond, stopping every so often to drop a line in the water.
A fisherman in chest waders cast out his line, equally hopeful for a fish. He seemed to be enjoying that sport though I never saw a fish dangling on the end of that line.
The biggest draw at the Pond for me was the paddle boats, though I just checked them out and did not rent one. It’s been years since I was on a paddleboat – 1969 along the Rhine River and accompanied by my father.
There was an assortment of paddleboats and character paddleboats like this Mute Swan and Sea Serpent.
And, if you wanted to exercise your arms instead of your legs, you could rent a rowboat or kayak.
There were even bicycles available to rent.
I headed back to the parking lot to get the car and drive to Oakwoods Metropark. As I approached the car, I heard “hey Linda, is that you?” I turned around to find another Linda, a walker I see and occasionally walk or chat with at Council Point Park. She walks two days a week and bikes at the Metroparks the other days. She was wearing a neon yellow bike shirt and sitting astride her bike. We chit-chatted a few minutes and she said she was headed to Oakwoods Metropark next and I said “so am I – maybe I’ll see you there.” Well, I passed Linda a couple of times on the road, then missed the sudden turn for Oakwoods and had to circle back … we arrived at the same time to the parking lot where the trail begins … Linda on two wheels, Yours Truly on four wheels.
My next stop was Oakwoods Metropark, which is also in New Boston. I was at this Metropark last August when I attended the “Walk, Talk and Sketch” event where we wannabee artists hiked into the woods with sketchpads in hand to do pencil drawings. So, I was already familiar with the layout of this scenic and woodsy 1,756-acre park.
I went past the hut made from bark …
… and said “hey” to the owl and hawk, then bypassed the Nature Center, which is home to a menagerie of critters, but it is now closed due to the pandemic. I headed right into the woods, picking and choosing which of the five short trails they have available.
I decided to walk three of those trails (Big Tree, Sky-Come Down and Split Log Trails) as I had one more park on my agenda.
It was a scenic hike through the woodsy setting. Here are a few photos taken along the way.
This was at the overlook – you can see the water lotuses were beginning to grow on the surface of this part of the Huron River.
I meandered through the woods and saw no one on the trail, just as I like it – unbelievably there were no squirrels, or birds either. It is not a dense woods so no chance of seeing deer.
It was getting warmish and I must admit I lost a little spring from my step that I had when I set out many hours before. I had one last stop and I had to drive there. I wanted to scope out the butterflies at the Butterfly Viewing Nature Trail, so named due to the abundance of flowers that helped it to be designated as a Monarch Butterfly Waystation by the organization Monarch Watch. Well, it was one of those ideas better left in my head – while I never saw anyone in the woods, it seemed everyone was at the Cedar Knoll Picnic Area viewing butterflies. There was nowhere to park and people seemed to be bumping up against one another anyway, so I tabled that part of my trek to another time.
Lower Huron Metropark.
Above were the highlights from Willow and Oakwoods Metroparks. Finally, my last stop of the day was at Lower Huron Metropark in Belleville, which I discovered by accident last year, after a fork in the road, then a honking driver behind me and my eventual frustration, got me turned around bigtime. In the end I conceded it wasn’t a horrible ordeal … even the getting-lost part, because, though I never made it to the DeBuck Sunflower Festival, I had a long road trip in the country and checked out the roadside stands, which brought back a lot of nice memories of Sunday outings in the country with my parents back in the day. You can read about that trek here. Along the way that day I stumbled upon Lower Huron Metropark and that’s where I spent hours walking around.
Each of these Metroparks have one great identifiable featured attraction – Lower Huron Metropark is a beautiful park with water amenities, not just natural niceties, like taking a trip down the Huron River in a kayak, canoe or boat, but there’s a very large water park known as Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center. Plus, this 1,258 acre park has plenty of room for camping at Walnut Grove Campground, so there’s something for everyone.
For this gal, the peace and solitude of a quiet walk in the woodsy areas was just perfect. So, I’m going to highlight the wildflowers aplenty I saw along the way on that multi-mile trek … I collected
so many photos too many photos, to tack onto this already-lengthy and picture-laden post, so you’ll find those photos in my Wordless Wednesday post tomorrow. The split-rail fences are part of the trails or overlooks, but some simply run parallel to the walking or biking trails. Here wild flowers grow in abundance, poking their blooms through and around those wooden fences. Tomorrow’s post is simply entitled: “Woods, Wood and Wildflowers” – hope you enjoy it.