Self-Isolation: A Good Excuse for a Walk

Today, I didn’t get dressed until noon. Oh, I was up – drinking tea, doing laundry and dishes, and writing about Harriet.

Still, spending a third of the day in one’s nightie does tend to make one feel rather slothful and slovenly.

Fortunately, I was able to convince The Engineer we needed a walk.

We are lucky to live within driving distance of several parks, with many trails at our disposal, and today I had a hankering to see the heronry.

The males return each year in late winter to scout a nest site, and the females follow a few weeks later. Courtship involves the mail finding sticks to present to the female.

After the pair builds the nest, the female will lay three to seven eggs, which are incubated by both parents until they hatch in late April or May. The heronry is a busy place in early summer, with so many mouths to feed!

We have been to the spot in the past, watching the harried parents try to keep their hungry offspring happy, but today, we saw the courtship behavior!

It was too chilly to stand and birdwatch for long, however, so we drove to a trailhead to start our walk along the river.

The trail follows what used to be the towpath for the Ohio-Erie Canal, and so follows the river, with the now-empty canal on the other side. Behind the wall you see in the picture above, there used to be a gristmill.

As we walked, we saw mounds of snowdrops.

We have enjoyed cycling this path many times, but it’s a different experience to walk it on a cool, spring weekday, allowing more time to take photos.

Whenever I pass this little ruin, I wonder about the person who built it and what it was. The pretty part is stone, but there’s also a bit made of concrete block, so it can’t have been abandoned that long ago.

The river is wide in parts, but shallow. We tend to see a lot of empty bottles and cans, especially on the parts where there are little beachy-like banks. A few years ago, The Engineer began bringing a plastic bag to fill for recycling. And we always seem to fill it.

In fact, on Sunday, we filled the bag twice because we found a recycle bin ♻️ at our turnaround point!

But what amazes me is the number of little plastic bags of dog poop people leave by the side of the path. I mean, why bother bagging it if you’re going to leave it? Do they think there’s some kind of doggie cleanup brigade that patrols the path?

Today, we explored an offshoot of the main trail. It connects to another park system, running directly above the main trail in parts. It’s higher than it looks in the photo, but I was still surprised it was there because I’ve cycled the main path for at least fifteen years and never knew about the offshoot.

The second path leads to a former quarry, where sandstone was cut for the canal, and later for buildings in Cleveland and Akron. They also cut millstones for the German Mills American Oatmeal Company of Akron, which became the basis for Quaker Oats.

This signpost was at the edge of the quarry.

And the path eventually led to the top of the quarry.

These tracks are left from a narrow gauge railway, used to transport the stones to a feeder canal where the heavy cargo would be loaded on a boat for further transport.

I took a picture of this tree because I liked the way the roots look, and the way it seemed determined to grow, even as those roots clung to the earth, trying to find the support it needed to do so.

Lastly, I include these two photos because both made me smile. The first is because someone took the time and dirtied her hands to smile at us.

And, the second because seeing green buds on trees in spring is a joyful occasion.

I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the season too.

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