Amish CountryPosted: April 10, 2012
Saturday morning was cold and frosty here in the Bogs. The overnight temperature had dipped down into the 20s, and the flowers drooped and dipped with it. Fortunately, the day was sunny and warmed up quickly. The flowers bounced back, and M and I had great weather for a bike ride and a visit to Holmes County, also known as Amish Country, Ohio.
Our destination was a parking area in Killbuck near mile 15 of the Holmes County Trail. That’s where we had agreed to meet our friend (the one training for the long bike ride from Columbus to Cincinnati). The Holmes County Trail is a rail trail that accommodates Amish buggies as well as the usual hikers, bikers, roller-bladers, etc.
It was easy to tell when we entered Amish Country. M thinks there must have been some kind of meeting that day as there was a lot of horse and buggy traffic out on the roads. It could be it was just a Saturday and everyone was out running errands, doing their shopping, etc. The Wal-Mart in Millersburg has a special stall for horse and buggy parking, and a lot of the other businesses have hitching posts, at the very least, to accommodate the Amish and their horses. Millersburg, by the way, was our biking destination. Our friend continued on from there to get in her training ride.
The meeting spot was a half-way point for us. It is 67 miles from Columbus and 66 miles from Hudson (which is not too far from the Bogs).
Because it was such a beautiful day, and a Saturday to boot, I was expecting the trail to be crowded with walkers and bikers. The section we rode was relatively quiet and we didn’t see too many people on our 6+ mile ride to Millersburg. There were a few more people out and about on our return trip to the car later in the day, including quite a few Amish either on bicycles or buggies.
There was plenty of evidence, some of it fresh, that the Amish had been using the trail that day. Don’t worry. I didn’t take photos to prove it. You do want to be careful where you ride or step. Country horses, unlike their city cousins, do not wear diapers.
The low lying area alongside the trail is part of the largest wetland system remaining in Ohio (the Lower Killbuck Creek wetlands). Ninety percent of Ohio’s original wetlands have been destroyed. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been acquiring and preserving land in the Killbuck Creek Valley, and it is now a 161-acre wildlife area.
Some of the swamps are known as buttonbush swamps because there are woody shrubs growing in the water that have button-like knobs on the tips of their branches. They are, obviously, buttonbushes, and can eventually grow into small trees of up to 7 feet in height and 15 feet in width.
Wetlands filter water to keep it clean, hold water when there has been an excess of rain or snow, and help to recharge ground water resources, all without monetary charge or assistance from us humans. Mother Nature is a marvelous engineer. The Killbuck Creek area supports a wide variety of wildlife including beaver, river otters, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, wood ducks, muskrats, and the usual raccoons, muskrats, frogs, and turtles.
I think that’s enough for today. Thank you so much for stopping by to have a look at the Holmes County Trail and some of our bicycle adventures. I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more sights from the trail and from Millersburg where we wandered around for a little while, and had dinner later that evening.
It is chilly and cloudy here in the Bogs today. We had snow showers this morning and there’s a possibility of more snow tonight. That’s April for ya. Warm one day, snowing the next. Don’t get your hopes up for sledding or skiing. It’s unlikely the snow will stick.