I think I’ll take my nature paved for awhile.
We each had several deer ticks on our socks and legs after walking today at the Iroquois County State Wildlife Area. Even as we started walking, my husband, ever the Eagle Scout, stated that he did not like the conditions.
It was supposed to be a mowed path (or we were supposed to be wearing pants and long socks). But it wasn’t mowed, at least not recently, and sporadic foot-high plants littered the path. Don’t get me wrong, some of the plants were really pretty, they were just too long for us to be walking through them wearing shorts and short socks.
The state established this wildlife area in 1940 for prairie chickens, because the birds’ numbers were rapidly declining in the area. Unfortunately, it didn’t work; the prairie chickens disappeared from the area anyhow, but the wildlife area remains.
We hiked in the Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve section. The area is full of oaks, sumac bushes, and wildflowers. I was surprised on how sandy the soil is. I felt like we were walking at the dunes, even though the nearest dunes are 50-60 miles away. (I learned later that a glacial lake sat here at one time.) Although we didn’t see many birds, we did see a couple of red-headed woodpeckers atop a far-off dead tree.
After finding so many ticks at the end of our hike, we decided that we likely won’t be making a return trip anytime soon.
If the prairie chickens return, we’ll return.
Good day, good walk!