Day Three Hundred Thirty-two

Happy Thanksgiving

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws today. On our way home, my daughter, middle son, and I stopped and walked on the Crete Bike Trail in Crete, Illinois.

Crete Bike Trail 2We did a brisk 1.5 miles on the paved path through the heavy woods, rushing to finish before it got dark. We were cold, but it felt good to get a little exercise after a big meal!

Good Thanksgiving, good walk!

Day Three Hundred Thirty-one

Stay Warm, Great Blue

My youngest son and I bundled up and headed out this afternoon for a walk along Village Commons Drive in Matteson, Illinois. The wind chills almost had us turning around once we got to the top of the bridge over I-57, but thankfully we kept walking.
Village Commons Drive

Once we crossed I-57, I spotted a great blue heron in the marshy area next to the road. With great lighting and a good vantage point, It was so much fun watching this giant bird fly by in grand attempts to put more space between us.Heron in MattesonI figured all of the great blue herons would be south by now.  I hope this one stays warm, but I am glad I got to see it today!

Good walk!

Day Three Hundred Thirty

Elk in Elk Grove Village and a Bonus Bridge

I was up at O’Hare International Airport today dropping off my oldest son for a flight. I had some time afterwards and decided to head to the Busse Woods Forest Preserve for a walk. My youngest son, off for parent-teacher conferences joined me. We walked a different portion of this preserve back in August on Day 220 and saw butterflies galore. Today, we came to see the elk.

Elk Grove WoodsThe forest preserve district started the herd at this location in 1925. The adjacent town of Elk Grove Village was named for the native herd of elk that roamed here in the 1800s. Today’s elk watched us very carefully from behind the fenced-in area as we walked by on the snow-covered paved trail.

What I didn’t realize until we arrived was that we’d get to cross busy Higgins Road on a nice pedestrian/bike bridge.
Elk Grove Woods BridgeMy son and I always love a good bridge.

Good walk!

Day Three Hundred Twenty-eight

Stairs and Heading in the Opposite Direction

This afternoon, after raking up leaves for the final pick-up of the season, we drove to Swallow Cliff Woods of the Cook County Forest Preserve. We have visited this preserve in Palos Park, Illinois, before but planned a different route in the Sag Valley Trail System today.

We started our planned walk, a counter-clockwise loop, by climbing the 125 limestone stairs constructed in 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. I did slightly better on this demanding climb today than the last time we were here (and I mean very slightly better). When we got to the top, however, a woman was having trouble controlling her large dog and was sort of blocking the trail. With my youngest son’s struggles with dogs (one of his autism “things”), we ended up turning right around and going down the stairs to walk our route in the opposite, clockwise direction. So, we ended up doing those stairs for nothing–except our health! (Our daughter, who rode along with us today, actually did the stairs the entire time we walked. Yikes.)

We headed out on the Yellow Trail and under LaGrange Avenue. We took the Purple Trail cut and looped back under LaGrange and towards the top of the stairs. The two mile hike was mostly through hilly forest and was lovely. Even though it was cooler than average, the sun was bright, and it was a great day for a walk!

Swallow Cliff Woods EastOf note:

  • We passed far too many ash trees, victims of the emerald ash borer, marked for removal.
  • We passed two horseback riders and saw numerous bike tracks. No wonder there were so many posted signs about right of way on this wonderful multi-use trail.
  • We ended up passing the lady with the dog, by then thankfully under control, as we neared the top of that stairway. We couldn’t help but wonder what she was doing that whole time . . .  

Great walk!

Day Three Hundred Twenty-seven

Today, we visited Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. The single-digit wind-chills kept our walking around campus to a minimum, but we still enjoyed ourselves. The Titans were playing an NCAA Division III playoff game while we were there which added a festive feel to the campus.

I had hoped to walk on Bloomington-Normal’s Constitution Trail today while we were in town. We had walked on a northern portion of this trail back in March, liked it, and wanted to walk some more of it. Unfortunately, it was just too cold today. Maybe next time.

I only took one picture all day, but it was of a wind farm on our way home.