We spend lots of time planning our travel. So far, it almost always pays off. Luck plays a part, too, but sometimes both hard work and luck aren’t enough. Read on….
We discovered a year ago that the #1 bird watching destination in the U.S. is in Ohio at Magee Marsh (noteworthy for the spring migration). Was a visit possible? Spring wouldn’t work, but an autumn trip would. Magee Marsh was dropped into the schedule.
The time arrived. We left Michigan with great expectations and headed for Magee Marsh in northwestern Ohio. Why was the parking lot so empty? Then we saw the sign. CLOSED. Closed due to hunting. WHAT!? No! It can’t be! We’d just looked on the website the day before and there was no indication the famous boardwalk would be closed.
What to do now? We took a short walk on the one open trail at Magee Marsh and saw very few birds. We drove over to nearby Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for a short walk, but again, it was pretty quiet. The day had been a disappointment.
That night we stayed at Maumee Bay State Park’s lodge and discovered a long boardwalk trail just outside the lodge. The next day was unusually warm; the leaves were turning lovely colors; and we decided what was past was now past.
We remembered a trip we took many years ago while in Milan, Italy to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” When we arrived at the refectory, the crowd gathered outside was very angry. A sign told us why: CLOSED. No explanation given. Tourists complained that they’d traveled all the way to Milan for the day just to see “The Last Supper.” How could this happen? For us it was not a problem. We stayed in Milan for a month – so, we came back another day and did see the amazing painting. Sadly, for us, we had only one day at Magee Marsh.
When we research and put travel plans together, we do the best we can to check arrangements, schedules, and allow plenty of time for key visits. Sometimes that’s just not enough. Next time we see the word “CLOSED” on our travels, we’ll know to take a deep breath and just move on to the next best thing.
A closing note: We did encourage the ranger whom we met at Magee Marsh to post closures on their website for future visitors. If they had done that, it would have saved us – and other visitors – a lot of angst, energy, time, and money.