by Janani Amarasekara
The Saturday was glorious. Unlike the earlier days, the atmosphere was filled with a cool breeze and warm sunshine. It was the perfect day for an outdoor stroll. Weekends here in Columbus are usually sunny. We, along with some other Sri Lankans who live in Columbus, decided to take advantage of this perfect day. “It is the tail end of autumn.
Before the snow begins there’s something we should see,” suggested one of the Sri Lankans who had been living here for a while. I being a novice had no idea where to go and what to see. By about 10 in the morning everyone gathered at the hotel where we stayed. We packed snacks and drinks in our picnic bags, and armed with enough warm clothes, everyone was ready to leave.
Within a few minutes, everybody was in the vehicle and with the aid of a global positioning tool (GPS); we were on our way to our destination. Since it was Saturday, the road was full of vehicles. However, to my surprise I did not hear any honking at all.
There were queues of hundreds of vehicles, but I could hardly call it heavy traffic unlike Colombo. People were in their lanes, following the traffic lights. It was a smooth journey. We were driving along a river, and by the side of the road were trees of different hue.
“Hey, look at those trees. Those are beautiful. Don’t they grow in our country?” My voice was rather loud, almost everybody in the vehicle started giggling, and my husband’s flushed face turned towards me. It showed signs of discomfort. I realised that I said something stupid. “Idiot, those are not a special type of trees,” my husband whispered slowly into my ear.
“Then, what are they?” I was inquisitive and still loud. “Shush, haven’t you heard that in autumn leaves take different colours?,” “Oh! I know. But, I never thought they would be so amazing,” I tried to cover up and fake a relaxed smile at the others. What a shame! “We are going to Olentangy trails to see the Fall colours,” said a fellow traveller to rescue me from the difficult situation. “I heard we can see striking Fall colours in that locale.” He added.
Thanks to the GPS tool, we reached our haven soon. After parking the vehicle near the entrance, we unloaded our picnic bags and warm clothes. Though, it was a bright and sunny day, a slight chilly weather made us stick to our warm clothes, something unusual for me. In the morning, I was so delighted with the sight of sunshine, and was ready to leave my warm clothes behind at the hotel. However, luckily I listened to my husband and brought them with me.
If not I would definitely be freezing while on the trail. Finally, after the preparation, we were ready to see the Fall colours at the Olentangy trail. This is a beautiful greenway-walking path along the Olentangy River. It is one of the most popular greenways in Ohio. This trail offers an unspoiled 22 kilometres, from Worthington Hills to downtown Columbus.
This well-liked bikeway winds through several neighbourhoods, with trailheads at several major city parks. We did not walk until the end of the trail. However, we hiked quite a distance. On our way through, we passed a few artistic bridges, picturesque multi-coloured trees and a massive playground. By the side of the playground there was a Skateboard Park too, something we do not witness in our country.
A few boys on their skateboards were playing on the cement structure. Bikers and runners were a usual site on the trail.Unfortunately, we were a little tardy to see the Fall colours at that spot. To our relief there were some amazing trees, although the majority of the trees had already shed their leaves. One of the members of our crew said, “We came here to see the Fall colours, in vain all the colours have already fallen.” It was the joke of the day. However, it was a pretty good day outdoors, out of Columbus!