A perfect day for ‘Hike and Hot Chocolate’ program at Fox Island County Park near Fort Wayne

Children help part-time naturalist Jeff Ormiston lead the way during the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
During the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park, part-time naturalist Jeff Ormiston points to a tree that once had a young barred owl fall from it. The baby own then spent time at Soarin' Hawk Raptor Rehabilitation. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
This soggy area has green duckweed, sometimes mistaken for algae, during the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
Part-time naturalist Jeff Ormiston talks about the oxidation of cherry wood next to a tree during the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
A boy leans against a fragrant sassafras tree trunk filled with woodpecker holes during the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
This tree's roots couldn't hold it into the sandy soil during a rain-soaked spring, explains part-time naturalist Jeff Ormiston to those on the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program on Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
A stick provides a good tool to examine leaves for this boy on the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
Sun streams through the trees on a trail during the "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program Sunday afternoon at Fox Island County Park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
Fox Island County Park part-time naturalist Jeff Ormiston answers a young hiker's question about beavers during Sunday afternoon's "Hike and Hot Chocolate" program at the park. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)

With temperatures in the mid-50s, about 30 people took advantage Sunday afternoon of a guided hike at Fox Island County Park, 7324 Yohne Road on Fort Wayne’s southwest side.

Fallen leaves crunched as hikers followed part-time naturalist Jeff Ormiston up the steep dune created by glacial sand, past fallen trees that serve as animal homes, and by a wet area and charred spots where the park held a controlled burn Wednesday to get rid of invasive plants.

Then, after about two hours and a mile and a half of hiking, it was back to the park’s nature center for hot chocolate, apple cider and doughnut holes.

The park is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, but will be closed Christmas Day. For more information, see http://allencountyparks.org/parks/fox-island.

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