Toledo sits right on the southwestern-most corner of Lake Erie, about an hour south of Detroit. As such, it's a quite unique mix of lakeshore and woodland/scrubby grassland environments (or at least it seems that way from three hours south of Toledo). They have a forest with sand dunes in! Part of that odd environment is the Great Black Swamp, which covered most of northeastern Ohio before serious European settlement. For some reason or another, I started playing around with the "Things to do in Toledo" pages of TripAdvisor over the fall and found the Irwin Prairie State Nature Reserve, which preserves just about the biggest piece of the swamp left. I don't know a whole lot about it; mostly just what I read in the map/brochure from the trailhead and what's on the state DNR
webpage. Just... here is a nature reserve, stay on the boardwalk. I suppose that it's pretty normal to people up there, but it seemed so amazing coming from just a few hours away.
I drove up there in... May or June, I want to say, back before it got so soul-killingly hot out even on the lake. It was absolutely worth the trip.( 19 more )