Monday, July 16, 2012

Maumee River Overlook, Allen County
      On a very hot day, when everyone had finally achieved exhaustion from a week full of 4-H fair duties, competitions, and of course, midway rides, I planned a preserve hike. I picked the Maumee River Overlook Nature Preserve for two reasons: 1) it is very far away, necessitating a long, relaxing drive in a frosty-cool air-conditioned car, and 2) I knew it was a very, VERY small preserve and would require hardly any hiking. 

Hank and Evelynn racing to the end of the trail.  
     We were not to be disappointed. This preserve in a single acre of land, with about 1/10th of a mile of, trail. Evelynn and Hank walked quickly to the end, turned around, and announced that it was time to go to the nearest McDonald's.  
Overlooking the Maumee River...I think?
      When the land was given to ACRES in 1976 as a gift, it offered a panoramic view of the Maumee River. Visitors looking east could even see the riffling waters of Bull Rapids, the site of a water powered sawmill in the 1870's. This sawmill provided lumber used to construct the Wabash-Erie canal, which was located along the southern border of the preserve. 
A spy's view of the opposite river bank.
      However, the view from atop the steep bluff today is quite obscured by trees, foliage, and typical woodland undergrowth. We were a little disappointed that we could not actually over look the Maumee River.  
The zoom on my camera caught a few peeks of the illusive river view.
      We caught occasional glimpses of the flowing river waters through tiny windows in the foliage, and were seriously tempted to go off-trail hiking down the steep incline to the water's edge.  But our flip-flops and exhaustion from the prior week's activities got the better of us, and we opted for a family discussion about how forests grow and evolve over time, and how it is actually a good, healthy sign that we can no longer see the river from this trail.  
      Not allowed a river view, we focused on the things we could see around us, and discovered these...

Ohio Buckeyes.
Inside these bumpy hulls are the nuts of the buckeye tree.  In September the hulls will
become ripe, split open, and drop their shiny brown nuts to the ground.  The name "Buckeye"
 came from the Native Americans who noticed that the glossy brown seeds with the lighter
circular "eye" looked very similar to the eye of a buck deer.  

Many consider buckeye nuts to be good luck charms.
And if you suffer from rheumatism or arthritis pain, carrying a buckeye in
your pocket is said to bring relief.  
An omen of an early autumn? Or just evidence of a really dry summer?
Hot, dry weather will speed up the rate at which pine cones open up and release their seeds.  
 Leaves turning yellow like these are a sign that the tree is not getting enough water.  
      After hiking a full 2/10th's of a mile into and back out of the preserve and taking a few interesting snapshots, it was time to head home again.  Today we were thankful for a quick and easy hike, and a functioning a/c!  See you next time.

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