Slate Run Metro Park, nestled in the farm country south of Franklin County, deserves a visit during the sunny days of spring. (Yeah, I picked a hell of a day to feature this place. Seemed like a better idea Sunday morning...)

[Slate Run homepage]

I'm a sucker for a good field walk, which have become increasingly rare with the loss of prairie land statewide. Over the years, this habitat actually has been diminished more than wetlands in Ohio. The bulk of Slate Run's 12-mile trail system meanders along fields, fence rows and small, precious ponds -- the places you imagine great poets often walk.

Birding is great, with numerous vultures and hawks soaring overhead. The aquatic system of wetlands and ponds also has benches for wildlife watching and handy bulletins telling you what might be floating by. The trails are almost completely flat, though they get rather muddy after even a bit of rain.

Thanks to my dear friend Jon Kline for accompanying me this weekend and for taking these great shots with his new camera.

(Jon Kline photos)