Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter walk

Yesterday we discovered a gem of a natural area close to where I spent my childhood in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Metroparks' North Chagrin Reservation straddles the escarpment that delineates Ohio's Lake Plains region and the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau. I've visited the park many times before, but until yesterday hadn't been to the 1-mile White Pines Loop trail. The trail splinters from a busy parking lot called Strawberry Lane. It was cold and windy yesterday, 29 degrees as we left the parking lot. It was pleasant, though, with puffy clouds and some blue sky. The trail winds along a lobe of a ridge that is surrounded by steep ravines on three sides. The ridge is dotted with hemlocks and beeches. And white pines--about 15 that are the only virgin stand in the area, perhaps protected by the rugged terrain. The pines reach 140-feet in height. To complete the wintry tableau, chickadees, titmice and white-breasted nuthatches were hanging around the trail. (Note: the photo above is of the nearby Chagrin River Valley. The headwaters of some tributaries are very close to the White Pines Loop.)

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