Story by

Darcel White

June 21st, 2016

I grew up in Ohio, but had been gone for a decade, so after I made the move back I was on the search for what I like to call my "happy place." I grew up riding the bike trails through the Metroparks with my family. We would ride from city to city and make a day of it. I wanted to do something similar for and with my kids.

One day I decided to take the kids on one of the hiking trails. To my surprise, we spent over three hours exploring the area. After that, we were hooked! We have our favorites, but this year my goal is to visit a new trail at least once a month. That's exactly what we did this month.

When I asked the kids if they wanted to hike a trail where we could see trees that were over 550 years old, they started jumping up and down, yelling, "Yes! Are we going today? When do we leave?" We made the -minute drive to Sugarcreek Metro Park, and found the orange trail that would take us to the Three Sisters Oak Trees. Along the way, we stopped to sit on a swing and check out the amazing view, collect rocks, and chat with others as they were walking the trail.

As we walked the trail, I answered their questions as best I could from the little research I had done before we left. The trail has a beautiful canopy of trees called Osage Orange Trees. Walking through this tunnel of trees, we talked about how it felt like we stepped inside a storybook.

After walking a bit further, we arrived at the Three Sisters, trees that have been growing here since the year 1440. After a quick search online, I found out one of the trees came down in a storm. My oldest loves storms, so she couldn't wait to run down and get a better look at a 550-year-old tree that a storm was able to take down.

As we got closer, we could see how the tree landed. It has been on its side for almost 10 years now. You wouldn't think something like that could be beautiful, but it was. The trees are MASSIVE! The one that still stands is magnificent. No matter where I stood, I couldn't get all of her in the frame. We enjoyed this spot for over an hour, running around the tree, touching it, back up the hill to admire it. On the way back, we stopped to check out a moth caterpillar and play around another big tree for a while before making it back to the car.

I enjoy being out in nature with my kids because it's peaceful, and there's so much to see. I feel connected. I love listening to the birds, and the sound of my kids chasing each other, the conversations and theories they have. Being on the trails makes me very happy and I always leave feeling relaxed. Adventure doesn't have to be expensive and you don't even have to leave your state to find it. The cost of gas and snacks is well worth it to me. How many people can say they spent the day with a 550-year-old old tree? We're making great memories while learning and exploring together like this.