Rain was predicted for much of the day’s hike to Oak Openings, mainly in the afternoon. I just hoped it would be light and sporadic.
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Marianne dropped me off back in Wauseon a little after 9 a.m., and I was off. This part of the Wabash Cannonball Trail is blacktop, so it made for quick trekking. I passed through a few interesting covered bridges, but didn’t notice the sign to detour around the railroad. Oops. Soon I was hiking along railroad tracks as two trains went past. Luckily, I was able to get back on track soon.
After maybe 7 miles (11.3 km) of hiking, the wind picked up and it began to rain. At this point, the path was pretty much out in the open, so there were no trees or buildings or anything to shelter me from the wind and rain. Luckily, my hiking umbrella helped a fair amount. Still, my pants began to get soaked.
Destination: Oak Openings
Right before entering Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, there was a restroom that was open (!), and warm. I ducked in there and it was great.
The trail through Oak Openings is maybe 6 miles (10 km) long; I can’t recall exactly. But it winds through the park and is quite scenic, especially after hiking on a recreational path for the last two days. The trail sports a few small rollers, but is essentially flat. A lot of the terrain is lovely, soft pine needles.
Due to all of the recent rain, including today, there were several flooded spots, some quite extensive. When you come upon one of these spots, it’s like solving a puzzle: how do you cross the puddles without getting wet? It often means switching from one side of the path to the other, on logs or small, dry spots – if you can! I balanced on many logs and thick sticks to navigate them, but did end up with wet, stinky feet. Ugh.
Toward the end of Oak Openings, the trail suddenly became quite gorgeous, despite the gray skies. There were striking pops of bright-green moss, plus the most beautiful copper and amber tones on some of the vegetation. I snacked on a tree stump with a gorgeous ring pattern.
Marianne picked me up at the end of the day, and I’m once again ensconced in her lovely home.
NCT Miles Today: 20.4 (32.8 km)
Ohio NCT miles to date: 45.4 (73.1 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,984.2 (3,193.3 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,615.8 (4,209.7 km)