Day Three Hundred Thirty-six

Planes, Trains, and a Bike Path

I had to pick up my son from O’Hare International Airport this afternoon. I decided to leave a little early and go for a walk just west of the airport on the Salt Creek Greenway Trail. The Salt Creek Greenway is a 25 mile trail that runs through eight suburbs (that I counted), connects to many other trails, and spans across Cook and DuPage Counties. I only walked on a short portion in Wood Dale, Illinois.

I didn’t plan my parking very well and ended up parking at a Target and walking mostly through an industrial park and under large power lines. With the air planes descending and Metra tracks crossing the trail, it definitely gave the walk an industrial and transportation theme.

Salt Creek Greenway

I did walk into a portion of the Salt Creek Marsh Preserve. It was really nice, but I ran out of time and had to head back to the car and on to the airport.

On my way back, I spotted an adult great blue heron. He looked like he was hunkering down trying to stay warm while watching the ducks swim calmly by him.

Salt Creek Greenway 21

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I was struck by this heron’s dark feathers and head plumage. I think he must be more mature than most of the herons I saw over the summer and early fall. I wished that I could have gotten closer to him or caught him in flight, but I had to keep moving in order to get to the airport.

I think with a better parking spot and more time, I would enjoy walking here again in the future–even if it’s after 2013 and the end of my official walking resolution.

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Day Forty

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A Little Transportation History

Time of Walk:  11:00 AM

Temperature:  32° F (felt like 22°)

Weather:  Partly Sunny

Once again, first thing this morning, my husband asked me where are we walking today.  After last weekend’s super successful walks, I am starting to feel a little pressure to find new and exciting places to walk!

Today, my husband, youngest son, and I headed to another one of the Cook County Forest Preserves.  Today we walked on the Illinois and Michigan (I & M) Canal Bicycle Trail.  We walked the mid-section of the the five mile trail which runs alongside the I & M Canal on one side and along mixed industrial and woods (full of dead or dying ash trees, unfortunately) on the other.

I have to admit that I thought the I & M Canal would be bigger.  It was really no bigger than a large creek, at least in the section that we walked today.  I later learned that the functions of the canal were taken over by the larger Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and parts of the I & M Canal have actually been filled in.  I also learned of the I & M’s rich history as it first allowed boat transportation from The Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.  Railroads, which still run along the I & M Canal, replaced many of the I & M Canal’s transportation functions too.  We had to cross railroad tracks to get to the bike path, and while we were walking we saw an Amtrak train en route to Chicago from St. Louis.

I&M Canal

Good day, good walk.