A day at the beach


My destination for today’s trail walk was Headlands State Nature Preserve, a unique combination of beach, dunes, and water, with a lighthouse thrown in as a bonus. I hadn’t visited Headlands for the better part of a year (that’s an estimate). As this was a beautiful fall day, with plenty of sunshine and blue skies, I decided this should be the day. So off I went. If you like beaches, get your water bottle and walking shoes and come along.


We’ll park at the far eastern end of Headlands Beach and begin our walk here at the Northern Terminus of the Buckeye Trail.

Wickipedia describes the Buckeye Trail as “a 1,444-mile hiking trail and long-distance trail that loops around the state of Ohio. Part of it is on roads and part is on wooded trail. Road portions of the trail are gradually being relocated to separate trail. The trail, begun in the 1950s was marked by blue blazes, and according to the plaque pictured above, the last blaze was painted on a post at this spot on October 10, 1970, completing the trail from Cincinnati to Mentor, Ohio.

At the beginning of the trail, we will walk through sand dunes, and you should heed this sign:


Our goal today isn’t to “Follow the Blue Blazes” and hike the trail. This is just the starting point for our walk along the beach, so follow me through the dunes until we reach Lake Erie. Fortunately it’s a very short walk!

There’s Lake Erie, and believe it or not, there are people on the beach, looking for “sea glass” and simply enjoying the sun. There is even one person covered by a blanket and apparently taking a nap.

A sleeper camped out on the sand

Now that we’ve reached the beach, look to your right and you will see the lighthouse. Until recently it was an operating light guarding the breakwater into Fairport Harbor, but several years ago, it was sold, and it is currently being renovated by the new owner. Once a year, she gives a tour to anyone hardy enough to clamber across the rocky breakwall to get inside. Have I done that? Nope, never even considered it. I’d be likely to break a leg, falling off the breakwall!

If you want to climb out on the breakwall, go ahead, but I’m going to turn west and walk down the beach for a short way to see what else we can encounter:

This is about as far as we have time for today, so let’s say goodbye to Lake Erie, and head back through the dunes to the parking lot.

We’ll pass by this sign…
…turn and take one more good look at the lake…
…and walk past these tall trees to get to our car.

That’s it for our trip to the Nature Preserve and Headlands Beach. If you enjoyed it, maybe we’ll come back in the winter. I did that one time (and one time only) and discovered that someone had built a snowman on the beach. It looked just a little bit out of place!

Thanks for coming along today. See you soon.
Trail Walker


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