Armed with a phone camera of questionable quality and the motivation that arises from the alarming realization that I weigh about 20 pounds more than I would like to be (I suspect I am not alone in this), I decided to take advantage of a nice 85 degree day and start to burn off some of the winter insulation I accrued. Being short on time the logical choice was Blendon Woods Metro Park, located on the edge of Northeastern Columbus off 270 and 161.
Blendon Woods has a few trails that can be linked together for a decent fitness hike, running along ridges, dipping into deciduous ravines and crossing over ancient shale-bed creeks. While the road noise from 270 and 161 means that you will never quite forget you are in the city, you couldn’t tell by looks alone. The 653 acres of the park present a reasonable illusion of wilderness.
At the end of April, the foliage was just beginning to surge back into its prime. With limited time to spare, I chose the Sugarbush trail, a flat two mile trail that spurs off from the parking lot by the nature center.
The Sugarbush trail has less gravel than some of the other trails, and thus softer underfoot and a little more forgiving to soft-lugged trail running shoes. As a result, however, Spring rains can bring some mud, as shown by this rather bizarre and well-worn detour below. Are people really that afraid of a little mud on their shoes?
Wildlife abounds, although decidedly less wild in behavior due to frequent acclimatization to human presence. Many times I have walked along a birch-covered ridge in Summer less than 30 feet from a procession of turkeys scanning for cicadas. (Fun fact, the plural of wild turkeys is a flock, whereas the plural of domesticated turkeys is a gang.)
There are benches along the trail for those who just want to sit for a spell and just enjoy being outside. Ultimately, I have found that the best way to kick off the season is to just get out, get moving, and build momentum and enthusiasm. Blendon Woods Metro Park is a great resource for that endeavor, offering a quick and easy access for those wanting to get outside and get some exercise. Blendon Woods makes for a great after-work destination within easy reach for those on the east side of Columbus. Give it a shot on a nice afternoon, I think you’ll like it.
Written by John T.