A walk in the woods

So it was too nice to stay inside today. A bit chilly, but bright and sunny. And windy. Nice day for a little hike in the woods. There happens to be a national park nearby with lots of woods and lots of hiking trails. Seems like a good spot to start. So off to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park I go.

Hmmm. Which way shall we go?

Spring is always a funny season. It never seems to come fast enough for me, and this year is no exception. In fact, this last winter was an especially crappy one. Lots of snow. I could go get some stats from the Weather Service but I’m too lazy to bother right now. Maybe later.

There was a wind advisory today. And so it was windy. So windy that tree branches were coming down. I heard the familiar click-click-click-Craaaaaaaaack of a branch falling. It’s the same sound every time a branch or tree breaks, changed only by the mass of the particular tree or branch. And if it’s a big tree, the ground shakes. So down it came in front of me. This one was only fair to middling in size — maybe 4 inches in diameter. Still, I’m glad I wasn’t standing underneath it when it fell. Of course for the rest of the hike I nervously looked skyward whenever I heard something. And then a little branch actually did land on my head. The trees were angry this day!

The treetops swayed as the wind blew, rubbing branches together in an awkward dance, like two dudes bumping into each other at the school dance. Awkward!

At one point in a clearing along the trail, I could hear various gusts in front, around and behind me as they passed through the trees, almost like waves in the ocean washing over the woods. It was a quadrophonic sound experience. I think that alone made the trip worthwhile.

Its still early spring in Northeast Ohio. We're just getting hints of fresh green.

Hemlocks seem to like these valleys.

The overlook from below. How do I know? I heard voices of people up there looking over the overlook.

Several roads and paths were impeded or blocked by fallen branches.

Look! Up in the sky! Its a bird! Its a plane! Its ... wait for it ... scroll down ...

It’s …

It’s …

It’s …

A kite.

I wonder if Charlie Brown was in the neighborhood recently.

Mmmm, rocks.

Erosion does funny things to large faces of rock. Like these "pores" in the face of this old rock.

I plan to revisit this trail soon, maybe after the leaves have filled in a bit more and maybe there are more flowers and color. Maybe I’ll try to catch a sunset. Definitely will bring a flashlight – I would not want to negotiate this trail in the dark. It’s a fairly challenging trail (not especially long, at least the part I took), with some climbing and potentially dangerous spots. Definitely not wheelchair accessible.

This is one of several elevated sites in the national park. I found another one thats even more impressive, but I dont remember exactly where. A fall from this overlook would be bad. A fall from the other one I mentioned would leave a splattered body at the bottom.

Some friends sitting near the edge, chillin.

Another view from above, with color just emerging in valley.

These plants (lilies of some sort?) must like water. They follow the gully down into the valley.

I thought this was an interesting niche in the rock.

Everybody knows a rolling stone gathers no moss, so Im guessing this stone neither rocks nor rolls.

And now that the forsythia are finally blooming, we can get that last snow of the season over with. Finally.

Oddly, today I saw hardly any wildlife. A titmouse here, a goose, a squirrel on the road, but other than that, nothing. Maybe they were all staying out of the wind. Not one single deer.

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