Day One Hundred Fifty

Listen in . . .

Son:  (an hour after dinner) “What about dessert?”

Me:  “What about it?” (trying to encourage my son with Autism Spectrum Disorder to express himself or, at least, use more language)

Son:  “We should have it.”

Me:  “We should?  What do you want?”  (knowing full well that he wanted to go out for ice cream)

Son:  “We should go out.”

Me:  “It’s fine with me, but you’ll have to ask Dad.” (the person who usually suggests that we go out for ice cream)

Son:  “We should go out.”

Dad/Husband:  “We should?  What for?”

Son:  “For dessert.”

Dad/Husband:  “That sounds good.”

Me:  “Oh no!  I haven’t gone for a walk yet today.”

Dad/Husband:  “You go for a walk, so we can get dessert.”

I walked, so we could go out for ice cream.  It was worth it.

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Day One Hundred Forty-nine

Lampposts and Flower Baskets

As I walked through my neighborhood and town today, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful flowers hanging from new light fixtures that the village put downtown last fall.  It got me thinking:  the guy or gal that came up with the idea to make street lamps with flag holders and flower basket hooks was a genius.

Lamps and Flowers

(I won’t go into how much water the village must use to keep these baskets looking so nice, I’ll just enjoy their beauty.)

Good day, good walk.

Day One Hundred Forty-seven

Back to a Destination

With rather gloomy weather and our cookout plans set for the evening, we were looking for something to do this Memorial Day holiday afternoon.

We decided to make the drive to Aurora, Illinois, to visit one of the starting points of the Illinois Prairie Path.  We visited this trail briefly on Day Ninety-seven, but we were east of here on the main line in Elmhurst.  We were just across the Fox River in the same spot on Day One Hundred Twenty-four, but on the Fox River Trail that day.

Both the Fox River Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path are one of Trail Link.com’s Top 100 Destination Trails.  The Illinois Prairie Path is also one of their Rail-Trail Hall of Fame inductees.  We’ve only been on a couple of miles of both of these extensive trails, but it’s easy to see why they are chosen as examples of great trails.

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Within moments of parking our car near the river and heading northeast on the Aurora branch of the trail, we saw and heard a catbird, red-wing blackbirds, a red-bellied woodpecker, a Baltimore oriole, killdeer, and several cedar waxwings.

After a short walk on this portion of the trail, we drove to another part of the trail that we had crossed as we drove in.  The trail here is unpaved and runs under extensive high voltage electric lines.  We noticed this part of the trail being used more as a travel route with people carrying shopping bags between commercial and residential areas.

Illinois Prairie Path-Aurora BranchWhether used for bird watching, exercise, or as a travel route, this trail gets the job done!  I don’t know when we’ll get back out this way, but we’re looking forward to visiting again sometime.  Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Forty-six

Guest Photographer

Waubonsie Glacial-North 1

The north end of the Wauponsee Glacial Trail differs so much from the middle section that we visited on Day One Hundred Twenty-five, it’s difficult to believe that it’s the same trail.

Wauponsie-North 4

The Wauponsee Glacial Trail section from that day is surrounded by wide open prairie and farmland with the wind blowing continuously on that flat open land; today’s section is heavily wooded with creeks moving below us, but the air hardly moved between the trees.  The section on that day is narrow, rutty, and made of crushed limestone; today’s section is wide and paved.  On that day we rode our bikes; today we walked.  The two sections of the Wauponsee Glacial Trail may be totally different from each other, but both provided us with a great place to enjoy nature and get some exercise.

Waubonsie Glacial-North 2

Today was different in one other respect.  I handed the camera over to my middle son, a 19 year-old college student who’s home with us for awhile and joined us today.  He did a great job!

Waubonsie Glacial-North 3Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Forty-five

No Day Thirty-four

It was an awfully gloomy, cold day for the first unofficial Saturday of the summer.  We decided to head to a new trail anyhow and traveled up to the Sag Valley Trail System of the Cook County Forest Preserve.  We picked the Purple Trail, an unpaved trail that runs near and parallel to the Calumet-Sag Channel.   We picked adequately, at best.

My middle son, who joined our normal walking group (my husband, youngest son, and myself), described the trail as a monster truck two-track.  He made a good point.  We figured the trail might be a little wet in spots, but we mostly encountered water-filled monster truck potholes.

Palos Purple TrailWe glimpsed sight of a barge and saw the canal itself a few times, but a row of trees blocked our view of the canal during most of our walk. Luckily, we parked on the opposite side and got a great view of the canal as we crossed it on the 104th Avenue bridge.  We parked along the Saganashkee Slough, which was rather pretty and apparently a good place to fish.

All in all we had a good walk, but I have to admit that we were a little disappointed.  The last time we were up here was on Day Thirty-four, and it was almost magical (easily one of my favorite walks of the year).  It was a clear day with a fresh snowfall.  We lucked into finding a great trail through the woods that took us right above the canal.  That day, I learned that it is possible to have a really nice time, in the winter, outdoors.

I guess I was hoping for another day like that one, but it was still a good day and a good walk.

Day One Hundred Forty-four

Rubio Woods

We had plans to pick up dinner at a favorite barbecue joint tonight.  With some extra time for a walk first, I picked a trail near the restaurant in the Cook Country Forest Preserve.  My husband, youngest son, and I drove to the Rubio Woods picnic and parking area, part of the Tinley Creek Trail System, and headed out on the Red Loop.  This is the longest trail in the Tinley Creek system at 9.4 miles and an obvious favorite with the bicyclists.

The Red Loop snakes around a five or six square mile swath of land, crossing some major roads at various intersections, but we stayed in the corner near the Midlothian Turnpike.  Rubio Woods borders on the towns of Oak Forest and Midlothian.  Once we started walking into the woods and saw all of the oak trees, it was easy to figure out how the town of Oak Forest picked their name.  What a dense collection of oak trees!Rubio Woods

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Once we meandered through the woods, the trail opened abruptly on an open meadow spoiled only by the suburban need for electricity.  In other words, a giant row of high voltage transmission lines cut through here*.  It did give us a nice look at the edge of the forest on our way back.

As we drew near our car, two men on bikes came up behind us and stopped.  They asked us if we saw the large coyote near the edge of the woods.  We told them we had not.  They said they were glad they were on bikes and got through the trail quickly, because it was the biggest coyote they had ever seen.  Since we both wanted to see it, we got in our car and drove deeper into the lot, hoping to get a glimpse of it before heading to the restaurant.  No luck on the coyote, but the brisket was tasty!

Good day, good walk!

*I took WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge on this part of  walk.  You can find it here.