Experience the rewards of trekking through autumn

Medina County Park District’s annual self-guided hiking program, Trekking Through Autumn, is the perfect opportunity for families and individuals to get out and experience the crisp days and spectacular colors of fall.

Back for its 17th year, the program offers participants the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the season and earn awards by completing at least eight designated hikes between through Nov. 30. Hikers complete the walks at their own pace and on their own schedules.

Trekking Through Autumn offers a choice of 12 parks and nature preserves that show off the beauty and natural diversity of Medina County. A new program feature is the “Do It Again” option. If an individual truly enjoyed a specific hike, it can be repeated.

Medina County park sites are open every day from 6 a.m. until one hour past sunset. Also new this year is the option to hike at Oenslager Nature Center/Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary on a daily basis from 6 a.m. to one hour past sunset. Park-goers are asked to take note that the park district does not allow pets at Oenslager Nature Center/Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary. Dogs on leashes are welcome at all other park locations.

To participate, hikers are asked to pick up a Trekking Through Autumn form at Medina County Park District Headquarters, Oenslager Nature Center, or print one at medinacountyparks.com. Check trails off the list as you complete them. When you’ve hiked eight or more, bring your completed form to Oenslager Nature Center by Dec. 17 to claim your award (while supplies last). Backpacks are awarded to first-year participants. Hiking pins are awarded in successive years. Awards are free for Medina County residents. Out-of-county residents as well as Hinckley residents pay $10 for backpacks and $3 for hiking pins. Pins are not available to first-year hikers.

A new backpack or hiking pin isn’t the only reward in store, however. Walking a trail on a fall day is a great way to experience nature, spend time with friends and family and get some outdoor exercise at a time when temperatures are at their most comfortable and the season’s beauty is at its peak. ∞