Scioto Grove Metro Park, 16 of 19

M crouching nest to D sittingScioto Grove Metro Park

After traveling south of Columbus for some distance, we finally turned onto a deeply rutted dirt and gravel road to the entrance of the park. Our first impression could be described in one word, rustic. The parking lot was nothing more than a clearing of dirt with not another single car parked there. Later, we learned that we must have gone to the “back door” because there were none of the amenities mentioned on the internet, such as picnic tables and shelter house. The thought of having the whole park completely to ourselves was appealing to me and absolutely a joy to Dora. Dan, the cautious one, was slightly less joyful, thinking of leaving his car out in the middle of nowhere. No ranger, no maps, no brochures, made him a little uneasy until he saw another car pull in. Funny though, the car seemed to glide in without a sound. We walked away on the dirt path for just long enough for the driver to mysteriously disappear. Dan walked back and took a picture of the license plate, just in case we would need it later. It was a little disconcerting, but that was really the end of the excitement. Sorry, but I had to add that to get your attention so you wouldn’t think this was just another account of a beautiful walk in the woods.

Dora’s excitement started by jumping out of the car, and nobody, namely me, put a harness or a leash on her. I wore the leash on my shoulder, just in case we were wrong about not meeting another soul on the trail. She immediately took the lead but often looked back to make sure we were following. My heart was touched when we first started out, and then Dan went back to take that picture, and Dora ran back to follow him. But she suddenly stopped and looked back at me as if to say, “Wait. We can’t go anywhere without Mary.” She loped back up the trail to where I was waiting and got a happy greeting from me. Then, she’d turn around and start back for Dan and would remember that I was still not coming too and would run back to me. She got a little extra exercise running back and forth before we set off for real along the trail.

Much of the trail was flanked by zillions of yellow flowers Dan determined were Black eyed Susans. I had never seen one up close and personal before, and I was surprised that they were so tall. A side path led toward the river, but we stopped at what looked like a campsite. A fire pit and a square of dirt surrounded by logs for sitting or some other purpose were intriguing, but we turned back to the main trail. From time to time, Dan could glimpse the river. A man was walking on the other side with a back pack on, and he was wearing boots and wading in the water. Could that be our mysterious neighbor in the so called parking lot?

The trail followed the contour of the river and then formed a loop before it turned back toward the trail head. Now the trail was bordered by zillions of Golden Rod. We stopped here for our one and only photo op. I had to hold onto Dora’s collar, not to keep her from running off but to keep her from running over to Dan, who was also kneeling to get the right angle for the picture.

The loop was not long enough to tire any of us, so we walked part of the loop again. It truly felt like walking on an old path in the country, not a metro park, but the peace and quiet was such a blessing that we walked a total of 4.5 miles. The only disturbance was a convention of thousands of grasshoppers on one stretch, especially when they jumped on my legs and one landed on my arm. As you might guess, I am not a fan of insects. But Dora and I are a big fan of parks, and we can hardly wait to visit the next one. 3 more to go.

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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