Cathy and I spent most of Presidents’ Day at Deer Creek State Park in Mt Sterling, OH. Our plan was to take advantage of a free breakfast in the restaurant and then scout out some trails around the park. When we arose we discovered that it was only 10 degrees outside with a promise of mid 20s by noon. We did not abandon the breakfast plan but rather enjoyed a nice meal and an extra cup of tea/coffee overlooking an icy, snow-covered lake. I love a good breakfast, especially if it is free!
We waited until 10:00 before checking out then hopped in the car driving toward some shorter loop trails down by the cottages. We discovered three that looked interesting. The Adena Ridge trail was a 3/4 –mile loop around a peninsula that juts out into the lake thus it borders the shoreline for the entire route. The path was in good shape with the snow packed by others before us. There was a really cold wind and when we exited the wooded canopy and walked along the exposed shoreline the rawness of the breeze made an impression. Undeterred by the North Wind, we turned around at the end of the loop and hiked the trail a second time.
The second loop, Waterloo Trail, was really short – ¼ mile. It was advertised as a “pleasant after-dinner stroll.” With eight inches of snow I would not have called it a stroll, but it was enjoyable. The short trail was basically a downhill to the lake and then back up to the cottage road. Cathy and I retraced our steps on this trail as well.
The last loop was called the Ridge Trail and it was 1.5 miles in length. I like hiking a loop one direction and then turning around and hiking it the other direction – it really makes two trails out of one. On the first go round, close to the end, I saw something I have never seen before – it was a special tree. As soon as I saw it I dedicated it to Cathy and would have dug it up and brought it home if that were not illegal and if I had a dump truck big enough to transport it. The tree was nothing unusual but the knothole in its trunk was so cool. It was a perfect heart. In the starkness of the woods and in the midst of the pure white snow, there stood the symbol of unconditional love and commitment. We have claimed the tree as ours but have permitted the State of Ohio to protect and preserve the tree for us.