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.
Abby was on a mission, and was in a hurry to carry it out, whatever it might be.
This retrieving-loving dog probably detected water, and there’s an abundance of it at Hubbard Valley Park — the winding Hubbard Creek and the 21-acre Hubbard Valley Lake, the result of a flood-control project by the Chippewa Subdistrict of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy.
Our joint mission, though, was to hike the Trillium Trail and Sugar Woods Loop.
Near the parking lot, a family was taking holiday pictures on the bridge along the paved All Persons Trail that leads to a playground and fishing pier. Not wishing to disturb them, we headed north-northwest toward the Trillium Trail.
Trees cast spindly, late-afternoon shadows on the sledding hill waiting for winter’s embrace before we crossed a bridge over Hubbard Creek and picked up the Trillium Trail. We plan to return in the spring when the trail’s namesake will be in full bloom along with a wealth of wildflowers.
This trail and the Sugar Woods Loop meander through woods, up and down hilly terrain, and by a pine and spruce restoration area.
The earthy scent of fallen leaves kept us company along the way.
As in every Medina County park we’ve visited, benches donated by families and organizations dotted our path.
This day, carnations graced a bench in memory of Dave Mohn, and a Christmas ornament adorned another one dedicated to the parents of Jack, Julie, Brent and Josiah.
We followed the Trillium Trail to a scenic outlook that offered a view of the lake, where a bunch of ducks paddled. That’s when Abby’s mission became clear: She wanted to join those ducks splashing in the water, and might have if not on a leash.
The ducks’ playground is a reservoir created in 1978 for the Hubbard Valley Dam. This dam is the largest of eight constructed in the Chippewa Subdistrict and includes a grassy spillway that we hiked through on the Trillium Trail.
Together, the reservoir and spillway, expanded in 2002, help protect properties downstream by reducing flooding and conserving water.
From the grassy spillway, we hiked to the top of the dam, where there’s an expansive view of the park’s southern landscape, where Buffalo Creek Retreat is located.
Ducks again taunted Abby with their happy paddling, but I encouraged her along, stopping at the fishing pier and breathing in the cool autumn air.
But daylight was waning, bringing our hike to a close — and our Trekking Through Autumn series.
Contact Managing Editor Liz Sheaffer at email@example.com or (330) 721-4060.