3 Parks in 1 day

Three Parks in One Day

So far, Dan, Dora, and I have walked/hiked in 10 of the 19 Metro Parks in the Columbus area. Although we did not attempt to walk every foot of every trail, we did manage an average of 3.5 miles per park. I was satisfied with the distances, given that lately, I’ve been experiencing a return of a grumpy Sacroiliac. So as we traveled northwest of Columbus toward our next adventure, Homestead Park near Hilliard, I wondered if my leg would behave. I hoped I wouldn’t be the party-pooper and have to leave before Dan and Dora had had a good walk.

Lucky for me, we hit 2 in 1. Homestead Park is where Heritage Trail begins or ends, depending on where you start. We walked a very short distance on a paved path at Homestead. Paved paths are the most painful for me, so I was delighted to have the diversion of exploring a train car, as pictured here. Sad that we don’t have train service in Columbus, but I remember riding them as a kid. The train car was preserved to be displayed there to add to the “rails to trails” concept of Heritage Park. A paved path that ran for miles is popular with cyclists and walkers who are out for a good flat surface to run, jog, walk, or cycle. But there isn’t much to entertain you along the way, or so I assume. The closest we got to experiencing that was to walk into the covered bridge, pictured here. We chatted with a very pleasant ranger who was happy to inform us about the two parks. He told us that the big structure that looks like a bubble is the Bo Jackson Sports Facility. One of the benefits of making the rounds of our Metro Parks is that we feel like tourists, discovering the little known fun facts about the area.

Because I wasn’t able to walk on that long paved path without pain, we moved on to Prairie Oaks, on the recommendation of our friendly ranger. The paths there were mostly grass, dirt, and gravel, exactly what I needed.

The feature of this park is the Hopewell Indian Mound, pictured here, although the size and integrity of the Mound has been diminished by flooding, farming, and archaeological digging over the past 2,000 years, according to the plaque. Earlier in our walk, we thought we had found the mound, but it turned out to be a tiny island in the pond. Funny place for a mound, but what did we know? As we passed by that lake, or maybe it was a different lake, we saw a lone fisherman in a boat, catching and releasing. He must have been there just for the peace and quiet. Dan took a picture of a particularly pretty lake scene, with reflections of the trees in the water, which was the deepest of blues, a rare sight these days in Ohio.

Once again, we found a stretch of grassy path, where Dora could trot ahead of us, swinging her tail like crazy without the restraint of a harness. But after she took care of her business in the weeds, she came back and seemed to be eager to get back into her working uniform. It is such a joy to see her have such a glorious time in the country.

On our way back to the parking lot, we let her “have her head” as she was positive she knew where the car was. She did take us to a parking lot, but it turned out not to be the right one. Since I was spent by that time, Dan jogged down the road to where he had parked the car and came back for us. After 4.5 miles, we were all ready to head down the road for burgers and shakes. Dora and I are indeed the luckiest dog guide team to have Dan for a friend.

Mary Hiland

Author of

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir

And

Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available at www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland

www.seeingitmyway.com

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