October 15, 2014

An October Walk in Pickaway County

For several months I've been thinking that I'd like to do the 5-mile Hargus Lake Perimeter Loop Trail at A.W. Marion State Park near Circleville, and today was the day that we finally did it. I tend to overuse the word "spectacular" but it accurately describes the fall color along the trail this afternoon. The colorful foliage, coupled with clearing skies and a few late wildflowers made for an excellent hike.

The trail stays in the woods for most of its length, providing frequent views of the lake below. After a dry September we have had rain the past few days, so as we walked we saw mushrooms and lots of other fungi. 

These tiny mushrooms probably belong to the genus Marasmius

Much of the fall color came from large and small maple trees

but we were particularly impressed with this exceptional sassafras tree that was growing in the open near one of the picnic areas:

Sassafras leaves can be 3 different shapes, and crushing the leaf stems and twigs yields a spicy fragrance. Here is a photo of the leaves of one of the shrubby plants, showing the color variation that is typical of this species:

All along the trail we couldn't help stopping to take pictures:

The views near the water were irresistible too:

This bright orange maple stood out in front of the evergreens:

Here is a view of the same tree from another angle, a bit farther along the trail:

While the trees were the main show, a few remaining wildflowers caught our attention too. This is blue-stemmed goldenrod with an aster in the background:

Here is one last shot from this lovely afternoon hike

which turned out to be even better than I expected!


  1. I have always loved sassafras, ever since Girl Scout camp when we used to be allowed to do lashing and build stuff out of sticks. Once I had some sassafras and remember how it smelled as I pounded it into the ground to make a "table" leg. I never realized it turns different colors in fall. These photos are gorgeous! Glad you had such a nice day.

  2. Sassafras is a favorite fall tree -- such a spectrum and intensity of colors!