Today was a perfectly sunny early November fall day here in central Ohio. As I was thinking about that, I realized that I should simply put on my newish Merrell hiking boots and head for the woods–so I did!

My Merrell mid-rise hikers

I drove to nearby Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, not very far out the National Road (U.S. 40) from where I live. My first stop along the National Road was in the village of Alton at Dave’s Country Drive-Thru. Dominated by huge stacks of giant bags of cattle, horse, and hog food, with some stacks of dog food thrown in for good measure, at the far end of the Drive-Thru was the popular section of the store for this weekending leisure day: the beer and pop (aka “soda” or “soft drinks” for you more genteel types, but “pop” here at the Country Drive-Thru, as it was in rural southwestern Ohio where I grew up) and junk food part. I had forgotten to bring a can of Diet Pepsi with me from home for my proposed hike.

While I waited for the truck in front of me to get its order (beer and junk food, I saw), I examined the shelves of chips and spied two kinds I couldn’t resist: Jenny’s Old Fashioned Caramel Dittos, a mutant kind of popcorn, and Grippo’s Barbecue Chips, which I discovered after devouring half a bag are loaded with evil MSG. No wonder they taste so good! 😉 Now I was all set to get some exercise in the fresh air!

Here’s what the Franklin County Metro Park System has to say about Battelle Darby Creek Park:

Galloway, Ohio. Battelle Darby features more than 7,000 acres of forest, prairies and wetlands. It stretches along 13 miles of the Big and Little Darby Creeks, both State and National Scenic Rivers. Besides the areas surrounding the creeks, there are also over 200 acres of restored wetlands and prairies. Bison have been reintroduced to the park and roam freely within two enclosed pastures.


I first stopped at the Nature Center, where they were observing National Bison Day, because of the herd of bison on the prairie that makes up part of this huge Metro Park. But the bison were not being very cooperative while I was there, hanging out in a side area that is hard to observe or photograph, rather than in the new big pasture that has been opened up for them below the observation deck of the Center.  Maybe they didn’t feel like being watched. It is possible to hike along a trail that brings you close to that side area, but that was not my goal for the afternoon.  Here’s a photo taken by Park staff of one of our first mama and baby bison pairs:


Instead of hiking out to see the bison on their National Day, I briefly re-examined my favorite exhibit in the Center, the living stream, before setting out for the real stream. The living stream is an ingenious series of interconnected tanks that stair-step down the levels of the Center, increasing in depth and in the life forms that live in each depth. A current mimics perfectly the current of Big Darby Creek, with still sections, fast-eddies, side-currents, and all.  The living stream is a monument of engineering and natural studies.

A turtle basks in the shallow end of the living stream
The deep end of the living stream is home to some quite big fish!

I did wave briefly at the bison before returning to the car to head to the Cedar Ridge area of this huge park–over 7000 acres.  I sat at a sunny picnic table people-watching as I drank my Diet Pepsi and ate my junk food. There were quite a few people at the park, but since it is so spacious, it never seems crowded.


After spilling about a third of my Pepsi down my jeans, it was time to head down Cobshell Trail to see the creek. I prevailed upon a kind stranger to take my photo down by the water.


It was a lovely day to walk beside Big Darby Creek.



Going back up the trail to the top of the bluff, there is a lovely huge meadow circled by tall trees across from the picnic and playground areas.

Walking back to my car, I saw this blasted tree, perhaps a harbinger of winter?


In any case, winter will have to wait. Autumn days like today are not yet at an end!