Sunday, October 20, 2013

County Challenge HIke 9/13

Mommy and I went to a preserve we only go to when it is on the hiking challenge.  There are many reasons for this. First off, it is on the other side of the county. Second, it is a weird preserve being two rectangular preserves and a little square one connected by skinny sections that are only about as wide as a football field is long. And third, while the far ends of the hike are very nice the skinny sections have McMansions right up on one side and Mommy HATES McMansions. This trail doesn't have a lot of shade so Mommy thought today would be a good day to hike it since it was only about 58 degrees out and overcast.

This preserve also has no parking lot of its own so you have to park in a lot that belongs to city hall and a city park and then take a short path to the trail.  There used to be a sign at the beginning of the short trail that said "NO DOGS ALLOWED. VIOLATORS WILL BE FINED" but that wasn't true because dogs WERE allowed on the preserve trail and there was even a poop bag dispenser at the beginning of the preserve trail. The sign wasn't there anymore so someone in the city hall must have finally figured out that it didn't belong.

 The trail follows this nice little creek.

Unfortunately after a very short time you can't see the creek anymore because the banks are overrun with buckthorn.

On the positive side, this preserve is undergoing a restoration and part of the plan calls for repairing the creek's banks and removing all that buckthorn next year. 

Can you see how weird this trail is? On the left is wild forest preserve overrun with buckthorn and on the right is overly groomed and poisoned lawns.

This shows you the silliness of the McMansionites. First the preserve had to build that little wooden fence to remind them where their ugly lawns end. Then the McMansionites go and chop down all the trees and kill all the wildflowers and put in lawn and for some reason plant an island of small, overly pruned, non-native trees, lavender and decorative grasses in the middle of it. If you look close, up by the house there is a fenced off area which contains a small pool and a fancy garden.  We assume the fence is to keep the deer out of the fancy garden.

 This poor hawk was all cold and puffed up watching for something to eat.

After about a mile we got to the nice part of the preserve where there is preserve on both sides of the trail and the nearby McMansion lawns are gone.

 The second pretty creek. The trail passes over this creek. The creek flows under a road and feeds...

a great big fen which is home to a whole bunch of endangered species so people aren't supposed to go in there.

After passing the creek and fen we came across an area that had obviously been plowed under recently and was full of little oak trees in cages.  This is part of the restoration of the preserve.  They are trying to restore the oak savanna. The trees have to be in cages to keep the deer from eating them. 

After that you get to the Fox River and the end of the trail.  The improvement plan calls for fixing the banks of the river and adding some trails along it sometime at the end of next year.

 Mommy and I made our own trail to the bank so she could take a photo.  I thought about going in for a swim but I decided the bank was too steep and it was too cold.

When we came back from the river I decided I wanted to ride in my stroller so Mommy helped me in and we turned around to headed back to the car. I rode until we were about a 1/4 mile from the car and then I barked that I wanted out.

I don't know if this was the same hawk as the puffed up one in the tree, but this one was perched on the flue of one of the McMansions by where that cold bird was on our trip up to the river. He found a nice warm spot to watch for food to come by.

When we got back to the parking lot Mommy suggested that we take the south part of the trail until it gets to the hilly part, but I decided I was done and didn't even want to ride anymore so we went back to the car.  This was a long official hike so it counts as two, bringing our count to 9 hikes or, if you count the doubles, 13 hikes.
Miles hiked by me: 1.7  Miles in the stroller: 1.1. Total miles: 2.8

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