This park is a little difficult to find, so please email me (via contact the placer or on AQ) for directions and a park map. If you already have a map from another letterboxer, please note that these clues assume you are starting from a different parking lot.
Invasive species are organisms that have been introduced by man, intentionally or otherwise, to areas in which they are not native. Unlike the native species in an area, invasive species are free from their natural enemies (herbivores, diseases, etc) and so can out-compete native species. These boxes depict the top 10 invasive plant species in Ohio, as determined by the Department of Natural Resources. To learn more about these plants and how to control them, please visit the DNR's website at
From the parking lot, follow the gravel past the buildings to the trail head. Cross the creek (depending on the amount of rain, this may be dry or may require you to get your feet wet). Notice the multiflora rose to the right (this is not a clue, just an observation). At the clearing, take the trail that is at 60 degrees. Head uphill. Keep going up. This is not the biggest hill in the park but it might seem like it when you are halfway up. Eventually, you will reach an oil well and power lines. Continue to head in the same direction, past the oil well. In the back left corner of the clearing is a trail head, marked on the map as the Eastern Ridge Trail. It will take you slightly uphill to a long narrow clearing. Shortly after you reenter the woods, you will see a vine hanging down onto the trail. Stand with that vine at your left shoulder and look at 15 degrees to a stump. Inside that stump the Reed Canary Grass letterbox.
Continue along the path. As I walked this today, there were tons of blackberries ripening. The trail will turn sharply to the left (if you continue straight, you'll be stopped by a fence). Listen to the sounds of the traffic on I-77. In this spot I (and only I, thank goodness) found a fawn. The dogs found a dying box turtle, hit by the ATV users that illegally use these trails. You'll come back to the power line trail before too long. At the junction, look to the right for a fallen giant. In the second upright branch, under some bark, you will find the Autumn Olive letterbox. There is some poison ivy in this area, so be careful.
Follow the Power Line trail in the direction indicated on the post at this trail junction. You will notice several trails that are not marked or on the map, but ignore them for now. As we hiked through the bright sun, we listened to the hawks cry. I was reminded of the time I successfully navigated my way to Niagra Falls simply by following the power lines. The trail becomes gravel. Just before the trees end on the right, look right for the Indian Mound. The gravel road will reach a T-junction; at the last set of power line poles before this, look left for a large flat pinkish rock, almost big enough for me, Yuki, and Claire to sit on. Take a seat and cool off for a minute, then look right for a SPOR hiding the Multiflora Rose letterbox.
Return to the gravel trail. Go right down the grassy path if you want to see the pond, but if you want more letterboxes, head left at the park bench, following the gravel road just a few more steps. Do not go down the hill, but instead look to your right for the trail. Although there isn't a marker here, there are a few bare logs alongside the trail and some pink tape. Follow this trail. At the intersection, stay on the side of the ridge and do not head uphill, as you will end up in someone's backyard. The trail veers downhill and to the left. As it levels out some, notice the pawpaws growing here. The ripe fruit can be tasty. The trail becomes pretty muddy here, and you should see a clearing with an oil pump (at the end of that gravel road I told you not to go down) to the left. Lots of mud and frankly, this is my least favorite stretch of trail in the park. At the junction, turn left onto the Valley Trail (if you look at the map, it is misleading, because you haven't hit the pond yet). On the left of the trail, as you are heading downhill, notice two small maples, about one step apart from one another, and just before and in front of a large broken stump. 12 steps past the stump, leave the trail and take 18 steps to the left to a big rock. Standing on the rock in the middle, look down by your right foot and see a wide cleft in the rock. Buckthorn letterbox is under a flat rock leaning against this larger rock.
Continue down the trail. You will reach an intersection with the blue trail, but stay on the Valley Trail and cross the small creek. Notice more evidence of ATV use. Cross the bigger creek once and then again (unless you are Yuki, in which case lay down in the creek). The trail will follow the creek for a little while. When the trail leaves the creek, you will find an intersection of trails. Veer left, heading uphill towards the Power Line Trail. Go uphill, past the oil well and at the Y, stay right on the less steep trail (do your calves hurt yet?). The next junction has an arrow pointing the direction you came from; here go right again, heading slightly downhill. Notice a large oak on the right with many branches. 29 paces past this tree you will come to a steeper down hill section, which will level out after 10 paces. Look straight ahead to a largish, square rock, located to the right of the trail. (If you can't see it, continue down the trail and stop at the oak with a large dead branch 10 feet up. The rock is just a pace before this tree). Two logs intersect by this rock, forming a backwards L in which you will find the Japanese Knotweed Letterbox.
Continue along this trail which is not on the maps but intersects with the Valley Trail. If you keep going pretty much straight, you will end up back at your car.
The next 5 boxes in the top 10 will be posted soon.