Looking for a leisurely stroll in the park? Tiffin’s got you covered

Sometimes you just want to get out and stretch your legs. Maybe you have a workout regimen. Either way, if you are looking for a place to walk, jog or bike — Tiffin gives you plenty of options.

The crown jewel of Tiffin’s 13 city parks is Hedges-Boyer. It has so many amenities, including baseball diamonds, basketball hoops, walking paths, a swimming pool and beach volleyball courts. Shelter houses, a barn for parties and even the local YMCA are located within the confines of the park.

I spent many an evening playing baseball on Vic Wurm field during Legion ball, for the Tiffin Elks semi-pro team and once in college when Hiram played Heidelberg at Hedges.

I’m guessing that many of you have been at the park for the Fourth of July fireworks. Hedges-Boyer Park is indeed special.

Most of my time walking these days involves a trip to Schekelhoff Nature Preserve. Located at the end of Water Street, a parking area greets you. A tree lined asphalt path will take you out to Clinton Nature Preserve where, if you choose, you can continue your journey.

It is such a scenic place that includes Eagle Landing, a place from which you can sit and watch the Sandusky River. It is a great viewing spot when the river is up and angry. It’s also cool when the river is barely flowing.

People like to walk their dogs, ride their bikes, jog and simply enjoy nature’s beauty at Schekelhoff. Many bring binoculars and cameras in hopes of seeing wildlife. Many bird species can be spotted including the beautiful blue jay and cardinal. I have seen eagles flying overhead.

In addition to the birds you may see deer, bunnies and chipmunks. I once even saw a snake sitting on the path. Now this was not good news for me as I don’t particularly care for snakes.

This one was a garter snake, pencil thin and less than a ruler long. That didn’t stop me from pausing though. As I slowed, the snake decided to slither off into the grass and I walked on by.

It worked out for everyone!

People do ride bikes at Schekelhoff. One day, as I was walking while deep in thought, a bicyclist went by causing me to flinch — yes, it was kind of like the snake incident. I remembered going to Lynchburg, Virginia to visit my daughter and taking walks in their parks. Invariably a “biker” would announce their presence with a “behind you”or “on your left” if not ringing a little bell on their handlebars.

I couldn’t help but wonder why Tiffin’s cyclists wouldn’t do the same. Then one day a gentleman said quietly, “behind you” giving me warning. As he passed by on his bike I thanked him for the greeting, though if truth be known, his announcement startled me a little as once again I was deep in reverie.

Frequently I see people I know at Schekelhoff including Matt Miller, former guidance counselor at Columbian. A jogger passed me the other day saying “Hi” and calling me by name. After he went by I realized it was Chris Monsour, a science teacher at TC.

Even if I don’t know them, most people will still greet me with some word. Good morning is the most common phrase as I do walk in the A.M. One lady in particular always gave me a cheerful good morning until one day. She was talking on her cell phone when I approached, so I gave her a wave only to have her say her traditional “Good morning” in mid-sentence.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the person on the other end of the phone thought about that interruption. So a few days later I stopped her and asked about the incident. Sarah McIntyre laughed and said she was talking to her son and he knew her daily routine so he was not surprised by her comment.

While talking, Sarah mentioned that Clinton Nature Preserve was also quite interesting. When I told her that I had ventured into that area briefly and didn’t like that it was more open than Schekelhoff, she said I didn’t go far enough. It would eventually return to trees on both sides.

Sarah said I might enjoy seeing the sycamore tree and a neat little hill awaited walkers at the end of the preserve. So I decided to see for myself. The sycamore tree was located in the middle of the path. Two things came to mind when I encountered the tree.

First it was beautiful, a real work of nature. Secondly, you could go around the tree on either side and I thought of Yogi Berra who once said when you come to the fork in the road, take it. There is more to that statement than it seems. See me, ask me.

As for the hill… sorry Sarah, that might be a one and done for me. It’s cute, but I’m old!

There is one dog that I stop and pet every time I see him at Schekelhoff. Deb Hicks, mother of my neighbor Rod, takes her two poodles to the park every day. Baby will come over to me and smile (seriously, he shows his teeth) and then cries softly when I pet him.

Big brother Darby on the other hand, doesn’t seem to trust me. He hides behind Deb probably wondering why this strange guy interrupts his walk all the time.

There are other places one can walk including the Tiffin University Nature Preserve and the woods behind Mercy Hospital. For sure, if one is seeking a stroll, the city of Tiffin gives you plenty of options.

Al Stephenson is a columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

Read his blog at: