Day One Hundred Sixty

I-94 and the Little Calumet

This evening we headed to Northwest Indiana to walk on the northernmost section of the Erie Lackawanna Trail.  My son and I had walked some of this section on a cold, windy, drizzly Day 100.  Today, we walked farther in each direction in perfect weather.

After parking in the giant Cabela’s lot, we walked behind the store and under I-94 through a large tunnel.  My son especially enjoyed this part of the walk and thought the wall along the expressway looked like a giant puzzle; he also really liked the tunnel.

Cabella'sAfter briefly looking around north of the expressway, we headed back towards the Little Calumet River.  The Erie Lackawanna connects here with the Little Calumet River Trail that runs along the river heading west.  (It seems like the Erie Lackawanna Trail and the Little Calumet River Trail are quite enter-twined through this entire area.)

This part of Northwest Indiana has had significant flooding in recent years and is undergoing a large water management construction project, so we only looked around briefly and then headed back to the Erie Lackawanna.

IMG_0352We continued between a retention pond with a few folks fishing and along the river to the east.  It was lovely.  We had a Baltimore oriole fly by us and saw a hummingbird bobbing between flowers along the river.  On a bridge that takes the path around Wicker Park, we saw a groundhog swimming below, with some long leaves in his mouth.  (At first we thought it was a beaver, but decided that it was too small and the the tail was all wrong.)

We were especially impressed by how much this trail was being used by neighborhood families and had several groups bike past us.  What a great way to spend a Sunday evening!

Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Seventeen

Friendly and Bird Friendly

After enjoying our walk so much last Saturday morning, my husband, son, and I headed back to the Erie Lackawanna Trail in Northwest, Indiana.  Today, we continued south and walked mostly in Schererville.  This portion of the trail passes near residential areas and farmland.  It also goes under Lincoln Highway through an old tunnel.

Erie Lackawanna 21I decided that this trail is lucky for my bird-watching, because I saw a bluebird for the first time ever today in addition to seeing a red-headed woodpecker for the first time last week.  We also mentioned again what a friendly trail this is with almost all bikers, walkers, and runners greeting us cheerily.

Good day, good walk!

Day One Hundred Two

On the Road:  Southern Illinois and Nashville, Tennessee

I hit the road today at 6:00 A.M. and headed for Nashville, Tennessee, to meet my three sisters and my mom for our bi-annual trip.  We started meeting up from around the country for these trips shortly after my dad passed away, so this is our fifth spring trip since 2005.

I’ve driven through Nashville at least ten times over the past several years, but have spent little or no time there.  I had several suggestions of things I wanted to see once we got there, but I also planned a little side trip for myself along the way.

I had decided to take a slightly longer route through Illinois (instead of taking I-65 through Indiana like we usually do), mostly just to try a different route, but I also wanted to stop and see the Tunnel Hill State Trail near Vienna, Illinois.  I have read about this trail on traillink.com, and it is also featured in the current Rails-Trails Conservancy newsletter:  I just wanted to check it out for myself, even if I only had time for a quick look.

I found the trail and the tunnel pretty easily and it was only a few miles off of I-24.  I parked in the small lot, headed south on the crushed limestone trail, and followed a sign to the tunnel.  It was really cool.

As I made my way toward the tunnel, I could hear water dripping down between the hanging plants along the side stone walls, cut back in the 1870s, to make way for the Vincennes and Cairo Railroad .  There was enough water dripping down the walls that the “mini-ditches” on both sides of the trail had water running in them.

Tunnel Hill

Tunnel Hill 2
I only went a few steps into the tunnel before turning around and heading back to my car.  I decided that I would just have to come back sometime and share the experience of this trail and tunnel with my family.

I look forward to exploring more of the trail’s 45 miles, 23 trestle bridges, and many intersecting trails, but at the time I needed to get to Nashville!

Once we had all arrived in Nashville and had done some catching up, we were ready to leave our, unfortunately, shabby rental townhouse and do something.  I suggested we head to the Stones River Greenway, one of Nashville’s many trails (Greenways) linking parks, public spaces, and neighborhoods.  Everyone agreed to the plan, and off we went.

(Here’s the thing:  I had done some research before the trip, knowing that my active sisters and mom would be game to do some extra walking and sightseeing on foot.  I think, however, that they were surprised to learn of my new obsession with bridges.  Oh, and that I’ve been blogging…)

We parked at Two Rivers Park and after a quick GPS search, headed towards the Cumberland River and the new Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge and the scenery were beautiful; catching up and laughing with family, priceless.

Stones River

Good day, good walking!