Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shades State Park

The color around this small pond were very good and the reflection was great.

After coming home from college for the weekend my mom and I decided to go to Shades State Park which is about an hour from our house. We got up early so we would be there at daybreak which helped us find birds. Before leaving the parking lot, we had already seen a Golden-crowned Kinglet and 4 woodpeckers which included Red-headed, Flicker, Red-bellied, and the Pileated Woodpecker. It was a great way to start the day. I had not visited this park for quite a few years and didn’t remember any of the awesome geographical features that are located along Sugar Creek.

This photo is of Sugar Creek from one of the overlooks.

We decided to take Trail 1 first which takes you on an easy hike through some mature forest. It takes you to a feature called the Devil’s Punch Bowl which is an amazing waterfall. Unfortunately for us there was very little water in this part of the creek. The trail then leads you to Silver Cascade Falls which is another awesome waterfall but there was just a trickle. After this the trail continues to Sugar Creek giving hikers two great views of the area. While we were overlooking the area we were able to watch two Bald Eagles, one adult and one young.

Sugar Creek

We than took parts of Trails 4 and 5. Both of these trails use ladders to get through some of the areas. These ladders are great fun to use and the ravines that you are hiking through are very beautiful and have great plant diversity. These trails lead to Sugar Creek but instead of giving overviews of the creek, they give you access to actually walk around the creek.

Me sitting at the top of one of the ladders. Photo courtesy of my mom.

We then decided to go to another section of the park called Pine Hills Nature Preserve. This area is considered part of the state park but really borders the park making the protected area in the Sugar Creek watershed much larger. On the trail through the area you start at the top of a ridge and then descend down to the level of the creek. As we were making our way back towards the parking area we ran into a large flock of birds. I saw my first Red-breasted Nuthatches of the fall in a small group consisting of at least four individuals. We then found a couple Brown Creepers and both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. I was also able to find my first Fox Sparrow and Pine Siskin in the same flock as well.

Burr Oak leaves against a log.

The area around Sugar Creek holds many treasures and if you have a chance to visit make the most of your time in this beautiful area.

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