At The Nature Conservancy we take good care of our preserves, and we've decided to stay on the trail for this hike. The snow and meltoff have created a situation where the off-trail hiking may cause excessive damage to the preserve, and the clayey soils are very slippery when wet. So -- we'll stay on the trail, which will make this a 2.5-mile hike. We promise to schedule an off-trail bushwhack when it dries out.
A full moon is always special but the first full moon of Spring comes with a special promise of warm nights (and days) to come (we hope). The Nature Conservancy and the Central Ohio Hikers and Backpackers Meetup Group are co-hosting this full moon hike at the Conservancy’s Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve not far from Bellefontaine.
This is an 800-acre preserve encompassing a mixture of wetlands and streamside forests that a variety of plant and animal species, including 100 species of fish, 44 types of mussels, trillium, skunk cabbage, jack-in-the-pulpit, eastern screech owls, wild turkeys and great crested fly catchers, all call home.
We'll hike about about 5 2.5 miles along easy to moderate terrain, but we'll go off trail some, and bushwhacking at night will present a little more challenge.
We’ll hike parts of the trail that was first opened last year, and check the progress of the Big Darby Headwaters restoration project. Preserve manager Steve Ross will also lead us on a bushwhacking adventure to places not normally opened to the public.
Wear waterproof boots and long pants that will survive a stray encounter with greenbrier and bring a light (headlamp is best).
Parking is limited, so if you'd like to carpool we can meet at 6:30 p.m. at The Nature Conservancy's office at 6375 Riverside Drive in Dublin, OH
Otherwise, from Columbus, take US 33 West to the S.R. 287 exit (2nd Honda Parkway exit). Turn left off the ramp and drive approximately 0.3 miles. Turn right onto S.R. 287 and drive approximately 2.5 miles. Follow S.R. 287 by making a left-hand turn at the Middleburg sign and drive approximately 1 mile. Turn right onto Township Road 227. In approximately .2 miles Township Road 227 merges with County Road 152. Continue on County Road 152 for another 0.1 miles until you see a sign for Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve on your right.