Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cincinnati Dayscapes: Great Oaks Trail

We actually went hiking on this trail in late September, and then the weather turned too cool for hiking, and I forgot about posting it. But now the weather is nice again, so....if you are looking for a nice, relatively short, fall hike, this one is for you.

Great Oaks Trail in Winton Woods is a .7 mile loop.

 The trail itself is an interesting hike, with a few stairs and changes of level, but not enough to be exhausting.
The far loop of the trail runs along a bank above a stream bed, with a few spots for sitting and snacking or for taking in the fall colors.

Then the trail dips down slightly, to afford a closer look of the stream...we kept hearing some loud plops and seeing the ripples made by whatever it was. We searched for frogs and fish, before realizing that it must just be acorns and walnuts falling from the overhanging branches.

Looping around away from the stream, the trail climbed back up the hillside, and my kids loved climbing on the large trunks of fallen trees that made a natural jungle gym beside the path.

The last stretch of the trail ran through a picturesque autumn woods, and our hike was then filled with discussions of fairies, forest gnomes, and unicorns.

At the trail head, to the right of the trail as you are facing the forest, is a large oak tree and a treasure trove of acorns in the grass beneath it. We collected a large bag full to bring home. We popped the top off several off them, and baked them in the oven for (I think) maybe ten minutes at 200 degrees. (I don't remember, check them often and don't burn them....but you want to bake them to kill any worms or bugs that might be in them.)

When they had cooled, we painted them orange. (This took three coats of acrylic craft paint. If I had known, I would have used some sort of primer on them.) Our original intent was to make little jack-o-lantern faces on them with fine-point black permanent markers. But, Halloween came and went, and there they still sat, faceless.... so they have just become Thanksgiving pumpkins instead.

(For those looking for a slightly longer hike, the Kingfisher Trail in Winton Woods is close to the Great Oaks trail and is a loop trail of just over a mile in length. You can find a map of Winton Woods and the trails here. )

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