During last year’s hikes, we learned that “Dog Day” at Battelle Darby was the climactic finale! That means hotdogs not canines although there were a fair number of those at this hike. I think a lot of that knowledge was acquired by being sucked into conversations with old dudes who were excited for the meal ahead. Each park has a standard menu that repeat hikers have come to anticipate. For me, the Highbanks pancakes were a great surprise, but the chicken and noodles with a biscuit at Blendon Woods were amazing!
The day of our last hike was dreary, but it wasn’t raining. At about 40 degrees, I was able to forgo my hiking snuggie and put on a slightly lighter coat. Compared to the previous hilly and snow covered hikes, this trail was delightfully too easy: flat, wide, and muddy. Admittedly we only did the 2 mile option when we could have chosen 4 or 6 miles.
These winter hikes are good motivators to get outside, but the Ohio winter palette of gray on gray on blaaaahhhhh is brutal. I don’t know what time of day it is half the time because it always looks like evening.
There was a certain celebratory air to this hike, at least in my mind. The hiking was casual, there was a hot chocolate station and fire at the 2 mile point, and a mounted officer from the sheriff’s department was there. We celebrated seeing a horsie!
I surmised that the officer was there to monitor the crowds gathering to observe the buffalo just in case anyone decided to be a jackass. We discussed the “nerdy” buffalo “haircuts” and tried to find the boy buffalo in the herd. There is usually one male, but we did not find any buffalo balls.
The real celebration was back at the starting point, cashing in our hole punched hike cards to select a stick! We had no idea that there would be such a variety to choose from. The sticks were different lengths and weights, but also different woods: oak, hickory, cherry , plum, persimmon, and elm among others. I chose a hefty hickory stick.
We were also able to purchase that year’s metal medallion and have it attached on the spot. Ironically, the medallion featured the Clear Creek park which was the worst hike for me this year. My map app decided that I need a tour of unplowed, unsalted, slick, narrow country back roads which had me in anxiety based tears by the time I made it to the park.
WE GOT STICKS! Part of me is like “Mission accomplished. We never have to do this again.” It really was a huge weekend time commitment which then led to a number of naps and my Saturdays, sometimes Sundays would disappear. Plus if you missed a weekend hike, you were supposed to make it up another day on your own….without soup.
However another part of me, the part that likes the thrill of the hunt and collecting is like “This stick could use another medallion.”