What a great day to kick off the start of our hiking challenge. We chose our first hike to be the first hike in the Columbus Metro Park Winter Hiking Series. The weather was unseasonably warm, and it was awesome to see so many people out hiking on the trails. The trails were marked with the 2- and 4-miles routes and there were plenty of Metro park staff and rangers around to help answer questions. There was hot chocolate, soup and a warm fire at the Beech Maple Lodge which we all enjoyed! Overall an enjoyable trail and experience to kick of our 52 Hike Challenge.
At one time or another we were on all the trails: Maple Loop, Walter A Tucker Trail, Buttonbush and Beech Trail.
About 1.5-2 miles… I wore a watch to track the mileage, but not too sure how accurate it was…
Weather and Trail conditions:
We started the hike about 9:45 am and it was already in the mid 40’s. We left the park around 12:30 pm and it was in the lower 50’s. Sunshine the whole time!
Trail was mostly damp from all the previous rain we’ve had and there were sections that were completely covered with puddles. The trail was mostly gravel with some boardwalks. The boardwalks were a little slippery. Overall easy trails with no inclines.
Birds and squirrels today,
This is a large park with plenty of parking near trail heads and playgrounds.
There were plenty of areas with restrooms, but most of these had already been winterized. Our first stop was the Nature Center where there was a restroom then the next stop was at Beech Maple Lodge. When hiking with kids, these are areas we frequent quite often!
Water proof boots was a must on this trip. We did see people using hiking poles or sticks, but this is something that we do not have at this time.
Nature Center and Activities:
The nature center is located at the end of the Buttonbush trail. Really cool setting back in the woods with bird watching, live animals (turtles and snakes) and a play area for kids. We spent a lot of time in this area.
Overall this was a very good trip for us. I tend to think of these trips in sections because there are highs and lows during any given section of time. The sections are: The preparation (getting organized), getting out of the house, arrival and the dreaded “are we there yet question”, beginning, mid and end of hike feelings/attitudes and final impressions during the ride home.
Preparation was the highlight for this trip! For about a week or so before hand, we had prepped the kids about what we were doing. We told them about doing more hikes and gave them a task to do. Each kid was given an old camera and a notebook (binder) to be able to document their hikes. We practiced how to handle the cameras, how to take care of them and about what type of things to write/draw in their binders. We talked about collecting trail maps and printing some pictures as well. I had no idea how successful this was going to be (or not), but when it came time on Saturday morning to get ready, they were all on board. This typically can be a very stressful area for us…I mean crying and whining because they don’t want to go, or “it’s too boring”. We really made a point to make this special for them and have an activity that they can do, which helped tremendously. We also made a list of what to pack: food, drinks, extra clothes and camera gear, which made our packing easier and less cluttered. While there is always room for improvement, I'll call it a success for now! On the way home everyone was in agreement that we needed to do this again next weekend…and we will be! Next hike is planned for January 12 at Sharon Woods Metro Park – Hike 2 in the Columbus Metro Park Winter Hiking Series.
Blacklick Woods Metro Park 6975 E Livingston Ave, Reynoldsburg OH
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