Hiking Challenge 2015 – Furnace Run – Richfield
Our third hike for the 2015 Fall Hiking Spree Challenge was at Furnace Run Metro Park in Richfield, Ohio, on the Old Mill trail. I didn’t remember being here before, at first, but after we pulled into the parking lot, my dad and I thought it looked a bit familiar. We finally remembered that we hiked at this park a few years ago, later in the year. Mom, of course, thought this was hilarious that neither of us remembered being here until we got into the parking lot. What can I say — dad and I have hiked a lot over the years and we don’t always remember places by name, but we do remember what they look like! LOL After some digging, I found the date as November 18, 2012 that my husband, my dad and I hiked the Rock Creek trail, which was rather flat if I remember correctly. I know it had to be easy because that was right after my physical therapy and I was still using a cane to insure footing.
This time, we were going off to the right at the same park and I had no expectations other than the trail was rated as a 1 which is easy. Old Mill trail is pretty easy as a one mile length, but it does have one up-slope that’s a bit steep and another steep downward gradient at the end of the trail near the large rock marker. I would rate it more difficult than our first two hikes that were also rated as easy, because this one gives you more of a workout going up, and it needs careful footing going down to keep from sliding in the gravel. I wouldn’t rate it a 2, but more like a 1.25 or a 1.50 for those who have difficulty with climbing up or down.
It was such a pretty fall day and the sun was filtering through the trees just perfectly in the first half mile of the hike. This is the first part of the trail and then you get to the part of the path that dips a bit near a bridge that’s pictured in the featured photo at the top of this blog post. We saw a gorgeous hawk-like bird with very dark under-feathers circling along the creek. I did capture him on film but it was a bit too blurry to show here. I also captured a squirrel flying through the leaves but my zoom didn’t focus quickly enough to to blow up that picture here on the blog. I’ll have to take the more stable camera with me next time so I can get some of those action shots to show you.
While watching my footing, making sure I didn’t trip over a tree root, I found this huge woolly bear, which I believe will become a Giant Leopard Moth. He climbed up onto a large yellow leaf so I could easily move him off the pathway so no one would crush him. Isn’t he gorgeous? I never saw a caterpillar that big before. He was really fluffy looking – something that doesn’t stand out as well in the photo as it does in real life.
In this section of the pathway, if you look closely, you can see the yellow leaves turning a bit russet in the upper part of the trees before they fall to the ground. We were sitting down on the park bench resting at this point in the hike if I remember correctly.
I couldn’t help but notice the volume of leaves on the ground. It seems this year’s leaf color change and progression to dropping off the trees happened in a matter of days. Is it just me, or did this happen much quicker this year than normal? I get antsy when this starts to happen, because I don’t have enough nice days to get out and enjoy the color — I start to panic that the leaves are going to fall and leave the stark backdrop of tree limbs before I’m ready. You know what that means, don’t you? The dreaded S word! SNOW!
After we went up the little incline into this section of trail, it got darker and cooler. Almost as if Mother Nature knew I was dreading snow! This is a gorgeous trail but the one thing that was a bit overwhelming was the sound of traffic. Yes, you heard that right. The screaming sound of trucks barreling down the turnpike could be heard loud and clear at this point of the hike. We could even see the freeway from parts of the trail in this upper section. I didn’t see a single animal at this point and it makes me wonder if the animals hate noise pollution as much as I do. If some billionaire has some spare change, can you thrown it at the Furnace Run Metro Park so they can put up a sound barrier in this section? This trail is such a beautiful spot and that noise really detracts from the enjoyment.
There are a lot of cut trees left to harbor food for birds in this section of trail. Isn’t this growth the coolest thing? Is it a lichen or not? I’m not an expert on whether it’s a good or bad growth but it sure is interesting.
Speaking of growths – I spotted this anomaly deep in the woods and couldn’t really tell with my eyes alone if it was part of the tree or something hanging on the tree. I zoomed in with the camera to see it better and although it reminds me of a giant acorn, I still couldn’t tell what it was and even now, with it blown up in this photograph, I find it an oddball of nature. Anyone know what it is by chance?
Mom, dad and I had a great time on this hike. We never did find the Old Mill that dad was sure would be somewhere on this trail.
Was it hiding or just a figment of someone’s imagination? We may never know but it was fun trying to find it hid in the treeline.
One thing for sure — we have to go back here for the 40,000 Daffodils in bloom in April. Won’t that be a sight to behold?