Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 2/23/18

This past week, on a fairly warm February Friday, I planned to go to explore the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, near the Illinois town of Danville. Needless to say, I stayed up too late Thursday night and sought out quality hiking a little closer to home. Within about an hour, I brainstormed the outlines of a trip to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and within 75 minutes of leaving my front door, was parking at my first stop for the day, Cowles Bog. Cowles Bog, actually a slightly alkaline fen, takes its name from the botanist Henry Cowles, … Continue reading Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 2/23/18

Cross Country Skiing at Sagawau Canyon ✶✶✶✶

Sherry (my Mom) and I went out cross country skiing yesterday (February 10), after we got about 10 inches of snow the day before–Chicago’s largest snowstorm in quite some time! And on a day that only hit a high of 22F, we stayed pretty warm, and only partly because of the roaring fire in the Sagawau Nordic Ski Lodge. Dressed in just a button up, flannel, and Carhart coat on my torso and long underwear and jeans on my legs, I stayed nice and toasty from the constant motion; in fact, if anything, I wore a little too much! Rolling … Continue reading Cross Country Skiing at Sagawau Canyon ✶✶✶✶

Hiking Starved Rock State Park, East Side ✶✶✶✶✶

After our we watched the eclipse this past week, we went back to our room at the Starved Rock Lodge, built in 19xx by Roosevelt’s Conservation Corps, and hung out, spending some time in their new indoor hot tub. You know, to recover from the hiking we were, uh, about to do. I also took a few minutes to cross over the LINK Illinois River and visit the Illinois Waterway Visitor’s Center. Here I got to get my first definitive sighting of a bald eagle roosting on Plum Island–at the visitor’s center, they have a balcony outside with scopes to … Continue reading Hiking Starved Rock State Park, East Side ✶✶✶✶✶

Castle Rock State Park (Northern Half) ✶✶✶

Chrissy and I, with a day off together, determined to get outside yesterday. In spite of the clouds, cold (about 30), and hour and a half drive, we checked out Castle Rock State Park near the town of Oregon, Illinois. The park itself is only about 2,000 acres–smaller than some forest preserves within a few minutes of us. The topography, though, stands much starker than anything within Chicagoland, with some sections hitting over 800 feet above sea level.       The trails in the northern half of the park total about 4.75 miles–I’d guess we walked at least 4-5 … Continue reading Castle Rock State Park (Northern Half) ✶✶✶