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.
A golden can lead you to water, but she can’t make you swim, no matter how badly she wants to dive in.
Water and wetlands are synonymous with Killbuck Lakes, a Medina County Park District gem hidden from the bustling commercial corridor on state Route 83 in Harrisville Township.
As Abby pulls on her leash, begging to be set free, a kayaker paddles toward the middle of the 47-acre main lake, creating ripples in the calm water. No motorized boats are allowed.
Three deep bodies of water and one shallower one, the result of mining operations, comprise Killbuck Lakes, which opened in 2015. A Clean Ohio Fund grant was used to buy the 408-acre Baker Sand and Gravel property.
I coax Abby away from the water, and we begin our 1.25-mile hike along the trail that surrounds the main lake.
Sunshine lights up a field of goldenrod to our left. To our right, fishermen in wading boots near the shore and from watercraft cast their lines. Catchable fish include bass, bluegill and crappie.
Wildflowers are abundant along the crushed limestone and grassy trail including white aster, coneflowers and Lady’s Thumb.
Eagle Scout projects are evident in every park we visit. At Killbuck, an Eagle Scout project led by Nelson Custer (Troop 520), provides a place for fishing enthusiasts to “reel in and recycle” their monofilament fishing lines.
A bench made of rough-hewn wood by Tobias S. Kohl (Troop 500), and dedicated a year ago this month, allows hikers and nature lovers a respite by the shore.
On another bench, a grasshopper takes up residence near a can of Bubba Cola someone left behind. I pick up the can to be recycled at home.
Back on the trail, we pass through a grove of trees shedding their leaves, and a basswood leaf falls on Abby’s nose. She tries to flip it off, to no avail, and ends up swiping it with a paw. The park also includes beech, big-toothed aspen and oak varieties.
The trail opens up, and we see sandpipers enjoying a wetland on our left. Park district literature says animals that call the wetland home include northern leopard frogs, chorus frogs, spring peepers and the star-nosed mole, a species of concern in Ohio.
For power walkers, this trail may not be for them. This is a hike to let your pace be in sync with nature’s lazy rhythm, much like a fisherman casting and waiting in zen-like repose.
Contact Managing Editor Liz Sheaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (330) 721-4060.