Gazette Managing Editor Liz Sheaffer and her sometimes faithful companion, Abby, are participating in the Medina County Park District’s Trekking Through Autumn, a self-guided hiking program.
Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park is a flurry of activity the Sunday we visit.
I park near the dog park, where Abby, my golden retriever, has visited many times, and she pulls hard on the leash toward the familiar gate that leads to the more than 6-acre fenced area where dogs of all sizes and breeds are barking and running freely.
A white, fluffy pup plays next door in another fenced-in area about an acre for smaller pets that might feel overwhelmed on the other side.
Today, though, the dog park will have to wait. We are heading toward the nature trail.
To get there, we trek up a paved path toward the 3-acre pond where a birthday party is underway inside the picnic shelter decorated with colorful balloons.
We continue on the paved path that encircles the lake, passing the inclusive playground, which is accessible to children of all abilities.
Fishing is allowed in the lake, but if you’re 16 or older be sure to have a license.
As we near the woods, I stop to read a “story” on a platform. Along the paved trail are several stories that families can read on their walk. The park district’s website says the story platforms are a cooperative effort with the Medina County District Library to promote literacy and physical activity.
Several families are walking and pushing children in strollers along the paved trail today, but Abby and I turn right onto the gravel nature trail.
Runners pass us.
The clearly marked, 1-mile nature trail wends through trees still heavy with leaves that have not yet felt autumn’s touch. Trees, such as pin oak, are identified by picture blocks.
As we walk deeper into the woods, the din of activity from the lake area is hushed by the lush greenery around us. It’s cooler here, too, and darker, though streaks of sunlight break through, illuminating the forest floor, which is a wealth of diversity.
One might be tempted to stray from the path for a closer look, but beware: Those mayapples may be surrounded by poison ivy, and the trail abuts private property, so be mindful of each step.
The nature trail, dog park and lake are part of more than 100 acres that were donated to the park district by Richard and Beverly Mugrage. The park is named for Richard’s mother, Carolyn, who at one time ran a bed and breakfast on the property.
Situated next to HMC Hospice of Medina County, the park off Windfall Road in Granger Township is a respite from the bustling state Route 18 commercial corridor and a place where one, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, can “adopt the pace of nature.”
Contact Managing Editor Liz Sheaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (330) 721-4060.