Day One Hundred Twenty-four

Fox River

After picking up some furniture in a nearby town, we seized the opportunity to visit Aurora, Illinois, today and walked on the Fox River Trail.  Traillink.com ranks this trail as a top-100 destination trail (in the country).  Although I’ve only been on 1 of the other 99 trails listed, and we only walked about 2 of the trail’s 43 miles today, I see why it was chosen.  It’s a great trail.

Fox River Trail

We parked in downtown Aurora and headed north along the trail which runs right next to the Fox River.  The Fox is still quite high from our heavy spring rains and actually flooded the canoe chute and part of the trail in downtown Aurora.  We enjoyed seeing the falls and watching the river flow so quickly through this area.

Just north of downtown Aurora, even though the area still seemed quite urban, the river bank was active with warblers, and even a tiny snake slithered across the trail in front of my son.  He was startled, but I think he liked seeing it.  A Baltimore oriole serenaded us from above as we walked as well.

We will definitely come back and check out more of this trail.  Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Four

Ladies’ Trip in Nashville:  Day Three

Spring, 20132

For our last full day in Nashville, my mom, my sisters, and I spent the morning at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.  I had no idea this place was so huge!  Nine acres of indoor gardens with fountains and an indoor river (with bridges!) took us awhile to explore.

Later, we drove to get a great lunch at Burger Up in the 12 South area of Nashville.  After lunch we walked around the surrounding blocks and all agreed that this vibrant neighborhood (and Burger Up, for that matter) was our favorite.

For our final group activity, later in the afternoon we went walking at the Shelby Bottoms Greenway.  This paved trail is east of downtown Nashville, but along the west bank of the curving Cumberland River.  It connects at the northern end of the trail to the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge (which we visited on Day One Hundred Two) and the Stones River Greenway, but we took an unpaved loop near the river and a paved loop through a wetland prairie area instead.

Shelby BottomsWhile walking, I enjoyed seeing local families making use of these great Greenways, and I applaud those who had the vision to make them.  What can be better than spending time with family and moving yourself through beautiful green space?  Not much.

Good day, good walks!

Day Ninety-six

Good Spot!

This morning both my husband and youngest son asked me what we were doing today.  They were both referring to our now almost-weekly routine of taking a special walk on Saturday.  Today’s walk was special indeed.

We headed to the Centennial Trail.  We picked up the trail at Schneider’s Passage, in Romeoville, Illinois.  This portion of the trail is in Will County (and part of the Will County Forest Preserve) and crosses into Cook County and then into DuPage County as you head north.  This trail connects with the Illinois & Michigan Canal trail south of Romeoville and other trails at points north and south.

Des Plaines1

I wanted to walk this trail because it features a historic swing bridge that I have been wanting to see.  This bridge is definitely historic (with lots of rust to prove it)!  It was moved here instead of destroyed, because it’s the last of its kind.  In its original location it pivoted (swung) from side to side to let boats by.

IMG_20130406_114808

There was a strip along both sides of the bridge that was just a steel grate.  My son and I both enjoyed seeing the water underneath us through the grate.  I was especially careful not to drop my phone through this grate when I was snapping pictures!

The trail goes through some heavy woods and then runs along the Des Plaines River as you head north.  We shared the trail mostly with cyclists, but we did see a few walkers.  We really liked this trail and enjoyed walking here today!

Des Plaines2Good day, good walk!

Day Eighty-nine

Walking Near Water-Part II

We brought the book, Rail-trails Midwest Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, along with us on our overnight trip.  This book and the companion TrailLink website, by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, came in handy on the second day of our overnight trip.

We set out from our hotel for the River Trail of Illinois in East Peoria.  One the way we stopped at a new riverfront park and enjoyed looking around.

East Peoria

We eventually found the parking lot for the trail and headed out walking along with other walkers and several runners.  It is a really nice trail; no wonder the TrailLink website gives it five stars.

River Trail of Illnois

On the trip home, with our Rail-Trails guidebook in hand, we stopped in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, at the Constitution Trail.  We walked the portion of the trail that runs north of I-55 and ends in farmland.  Constitution Trail is actually 20 miles of trails that criss-cross Bloomington-Normal and make it an active town.  We’ve been in town before and always notice folks on these trails.

Normal

Good day, good walks!

Day Eighty-eight

Walking Near Water-Part I

For our son’s spring break, we decided to take an overnight trip at the end of his week off.  Since my son and I had already been along the Illinois & Michigan Canal twice this past week, we decided to head west along the I &M Canal and the Illinois River, then follow the Illinois River to Peoria where we planned to spend the night.  We made several impromptu stops and did some walking along the way.

Our first stop was is Marseilles, Illinois, along the Illinois River.

Marseilles

Our second stop was in Ottawa, Illinois, along the Illinois & Michigan Canal.

Ottawa I & M

Our next stop was at Starved Rock State Park.  This park is known for the Bald Eagles that winter along the Illinois River.  We plan to come back in the winter to see the eagles.

Starved Rock

Our last stop before Peoria was in LaSalle, Illinois.  The I & M Canal is more like a river here and has a lock and a working canal boat.  The trail/towpath is quite nice along here as well; we enjoyed a long walk along the canal.

LaSalle CanalOn our way into Peoria, we noticed a really full parking lot at “The Burger Barge” and pulled in.  We lucked out, big time.  This local establishment is right on the Illinois River and has docks for both boats and jet skis.  The food was ready quickly, and although not the healthiest fare, we had some large tasty burgers.

Once we settled in at our hotel, we walked along the Illinois River.  With people milling about and the city lights reflecting on the water, we decided that Peoria (perhaps with help from Caterpillar Tractor) is really making the most of this riverfront, and we looked forward to exploring more in the daylight.

Good day, good walking, good travelling!  To be continued…