Walking through winter wonderlands

By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

Despite the bitterly cold weather winter brings, there’s one group of people in the Columbus area that isn’t deterred from spending time outdoors.

Columbus Metro Parks kicked off its Winter Hikes Series Jan. 4 – one of 12 hikes scheduled for this season.

Last year’s hikes drew an attendance of more than 11,600, and Metro Parks staff members expect the event to draw high numbers again this year, despite the cold weather.

“It’s a great way to start the New Year while taking in the beautiful scenery in each of the parks and enjoying an outing with a friend or family,” said Peg Hanley, the Metro Parks spokeswoman.

Now in its 41st year, the hike series kicked off earlier this month with a walk at Blacklick Woods. Future walks are planned throughout January and February, including the Feb. 22 hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

The hike will include three options for walkers – two, four or six miles – and will begin at the ranger station, located just inside the main park entrance at Cedar Ridge Lodge.

“One of the hikes will be on the Darby Creek Greenway Trail, so folks can see the bison, and others will wind through the Cobshell and Indian Ridge trails,” Hanley said.

The hikes at Darby Creek begin at 10 a.m., followed by a cup of hot soup for participants.

Can’t wait for Feb. 22? Try the upcoming hike at Prairie Oaks Metro Park Jan. 12. Participants will have the choice of one, three or five-mile hikes and will begin at Darby Bend Lakes, 2755 Amity Road.

“The one and three-mile hikes will go along the tree line and around the lakes,” Hanley said. “The five-mile hike will follow the Darby Creek Greenway Trail in the park.”

Park staff will serve chicken noodle soup after the hike, she said.

If participants complete hikes at seven of the parks, they will receive a patch for their accomplishment, Hanley said.

Below is a list of this year’s hikes. For more information, go to metroparks.net.

•Scioto Audubon
10 a.m., Jan. 18
1 or 2 miles
•Clear Creek
10 a.m., Jan. 25
1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 miles
•Inniswood
2 p.m., Jan. 26
2 miles
•Blendon Woods
10 a.m., Feb. 1
2, 4 or 6 miles
•Highbanks
10 a.m., Feb. 8
2.5 or 5 miles
•Glacier Ridge
2 p.m., Feb. 9
2 miles
•Three Creeks
10 a.m., Feb. 15
1, 3 or 5.6 miles
•Slate Run
2 p.m., Feb. 16
2.5 or 5 miles
•Battelle Darby Creek
10 a.m., Feb. 22
2, 4 or 6 miles

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