Day Three Hundred Fifty-five

Tiny Beads

I knew if I was going to walk today, I’d have to do it first thing in the morning. Thankfully, I woke early enough to get it in. Since it was raining, I left my camera at home and headed out.

What a quiet morning it was in the neighborhood. The fog and drizzle kept many inside, and I only saw one other human, a jogger, out and about on foot during the duration of my walk.

I noticed water droplets everywhere–on the trees, the bushes, and the grass–as I walked. The tiny clear beads seemed to be hovering between liquid and solid with the air temperature just above freezing. Once I got home, I wanted to document the tiny droplets, grabbed my camera, and went back out long enough to get a couple of shots.

Dewy Morning WalkGood walk!

Day Two Hundred Fifty-eight

Walking, Inside and Out

Although we really could use the rain, I would have preferred it today if it hadn’t come right at the time I was in Chicago for a walk. Oh well, we made the best of it.

The original plan was to walk around Graceland Cemetery again, this time with my husband and son, and then stop at my husband’s office so he could pick up some papers. When it started pouring rain, we still went to Graceland, but did a driving tour instead. We passed two walking tour groups, and, boy, were they getting wet!

We strayed from our original plan again, parked the car, and went in to the office instead of my driving around the block while my husband ran in.  We hoped that maybe if we waited, the rain would let up and then we could walk around a fairly empty Millennium Park.

Once inside the office, my son and I walked around and around the office. Thankfully, no one was there, because I checked out the different views of the city and my son tried out many of the office and conference room chairs. He even found a stash of candy.

Chicago Rainy SundayOnce my husband was done with his work and my son got to photocopy his hand (something he’s been wanting to do for awhile), we headed out into the rain for a short walk around Millennium Park before heading back to the car.

IMG_20130915_170624We got to see some of the Jun Kaneko exhibit and didn’t end up getting all that wet! It was a pretty good day for walking after all.

Day One Hundred Fifty-three

Marshy Fun

When I read the descriptions of Waterfall Glen on Traillink.com, the “rock ridges, ravines and wetland potholes” intrigued me, so without much research other than driving directions, we made the last minute decision drive up to Darien, Illinois, to walk.  We were even able to convince our nineteen year-old son to join us this cool, misty day.

We’ve walked a couple of times near the Des Plaines River and the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and each walk has been worth the trip.  This walk, also near the Des Plaines River, was memorable.

We noticed right away that the parking lot had a significant number of cars despite the lousy weather, so we decided it must be an interesting place  We saw several people ignoring the Trail Closed sign, so we followed them and headed counter-clockwise on the looped trail from the Lemont Road parking lot.

Spring, 20135This part of the trail must flood often, because a passing runner, headed immediately up to the adjacent railroad tracks and ran right next to the tracks on the rocks (ballast?) while we stood there dumbfounded, staring at the flooded trail.

After we deliberated at length whether our thirteen year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder would infer that it’s acceptable to walk near railroad tracks, we followed the runner (along with strict warnings to never do this alone).  My husband and youngest son each still managed to completely submerge a foot crossing the swampy area between the tracks and the unflooded trail.  I got one foot pretty wet too.  We still enjoyed the lovely marsh.

Spring, 20136Once through the flooded area, we walked past Poverty Prairie (named after a type of oat) and the model airplane flying field before turning around to head back.  (By this time, we noticed that several passing cyclists had somehow managed to either ride through the flooded marsh trail or also went along the railroad tracks and through the swamp to get back to the trail–but carrying bikes!  We debated their methods for quite some time.)

On our way out of the preserve, I picked up a map.  I learned then that the ten mile main trail and the entire preserve encompasses Argonne National Laboratory.  Once home, I learned even more about Waterfall Glen’s unique ecology from the DuPage County Forest Preserve’s website.  We’ll just have to go back to see the waterfall!

If I had done my research in advance, we would have probably parked in a different lot and kept our feet dry.  On the other hand, if I had done my research, we would not have laughed our entire way along railroad tracks and through a swamp.

Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Fourteen

Back to a Favorite Spot, AgainI-571

After school, my son and I went walking on the Old Plank Trail, a paved bike and walking trail converted from a railroad line.  Even though I haven’t met my goal yet to walk this entire 21 mile trail, we went back to the most convenient section (which also happens to be my favorite section).  This part of the trail runs under I-57 and goes through a prairie nature preserve and some farmland.

Spring, 20133

I thought that spring would have changed the scenery more from my January blog picture at the top. Instead, I couldn’t help but notice all the puddles due to the record-setting rainfall we’ve received here in the Midwest.

The trail was mostly dry and despite the cool weather, we really had a nice walk.  After a stressful afternoon at school, my son, who has autism spectrum disorder, noticeably relaxed as we walked quietly together with only the birds for company.

Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Nine

Word of the Day:  graupel.

This snow-pellet and rain mix that was intermittently falling from the sky or blowing sideways in bone-chilling gusts was enough to discourage me from heading out for a long walk today.

I was curious, however, to see if water levels were down in town after Thursday’s floods, so I took a quick walk to look around.  The water level in the retention area of the park was way down, but the bus lot at my son’s junior high was still quite flooded.

IMG_20130418_145520The flooding of this lot really disrupts traffic flow before and after school.  When I start to grumble about this, I chide myself, because we’re hearing more and more stories, both on the news and first hand, of folks with rainwater or even sewage in their basements.  I think I can put up with a little traffic disruption–without grumbling.

Good day, good walk.

Day One Hundred Eight

Waterlogged

We’ve had a little rain in the past day.  Make that a lot of rain.  We, ourselves, have been blessed with a relatively dry basement and no damage.  Our hearts go out to those in the greater Chicagoland area with flooded homes.  Our inconveniences, like getting around flooded viaducts, streets, and parking lots, are minor in comparison with those who have sustained significant property damage.

I did make it out, umbrella in hand, for a walk up to our local park.  I visited this park when I took WordPress’ Phoneography Challenge on Day Sixty-seven.  That day, I took several pictures of the sculptures, benches, and snow at the park.

Today, I went to see the water.  Because of the retention area of the park, that water is not in my basement.

FloodGood day, good walk, good water management!