Monday, November 4, 2013

County Hiking Challenge 11/15

Today Mommy and I did our wildcard hike.  For the wildcard you pick any county trail and have to hike at least 2 miles on it.  Mommy and I chose to do the south end of the north end of our the river trail which is our favorite. I say south end of the north end because there is a gap of a 1/4 mile between the north end of the south end of the trail and the south end of the north end of the trail.  I'll explain more when I get to the gap.

Anyway, you may remember the beginning of this hike from the last long hike Mommy and I did, which was back in April.  I hiked about 2 miles and then needed a 45 minute nap and then I hiked back and we had to stop at every bench for another 10 to 15 minute nap. Then I slept for days afterwards. That was the hike that made Mommy realize that my long hiking days were over.  But then I got my stroller, so back to this trail we went to take the whole hike.

The hike starts off in tall grass prairie

Then you approach the woods. This is the most color Mommy and I have seen all fall.

Then you are in the woods

You hike through the woods for a long time until you end up at the spring peeper pond.  It being fall, Mommy didn't bother to take a picture of the spring peeper pond.  That is about 1.3 miles down the trail and it was at that point that I decided I wanted to ride. So I got in the stroller and we continued on down the trail.  You hike for a little bit more and then you have to cross this busy road.

Really, it is busy. Mommy couldn't quite figure out how she managed to take a picture of it without catching any of the cars. BOL!

After you cross the road the trail goes through land that belongs to a resort hotel with restaurants, a golf course and theater.

Here is the golf course

But on the other side of the trail is wetlands. 

We don't know if the hotel owns the wetlands or if they donated them to the forest preserve, but either way it works out well for everyone. The river trail has a nice area to pass through and the resort guests have easy access to a good walking/jogging/biking trail which is a straight line trail, so you can't get lost.

 There are always ducks in the little pond, no matter the season. We think the hotel guests must feed them.

 Here is the resort

The chef at the resort has his own little garden that you can see from the trail where he grows fresh veggies and herbs to use in the restaurants.

He also has a rather large apiary. There are about 6 hives along the trail.

After you leave the resort you end up in a gated community.  Mommy and I always chuckle at this because it seems that having a public trail cut through your gated community, even if the trail is on the other side of a small lake, kind of defeats the purpose of having a gated community, but as Mommy's grandmother used to say, "Some people have a lot more dollars than sense."

The gated community

Shortly after that lake is where the trail used to end and where Mommy expected it to end, but we were surprised to find that the trail continued on past the community's golf course to a small road.  Where there was this sign:

Mommy followed the instructions and walked down the road for 500 feet and sure enough we came to a continuation of the trail! At this point I started to bark that I needed to get out because I had never walked this area before.

Heading down the new trail

This part of the trail is really odd to travel.  It has a very split personality.

On one side you see this black fence preventing you from going onto that new apartment complex's property. They have a nice little lake, but obviously hikers aren't supposed to go see it.

On the other side is this extremely formal garden that stretches for most of the trail.  There is a three wire fence with giant NO TRESPASSING signs on it. There must be some sort of manor house in there somewhere.

Finally you get to the end of the trail which is blocked by an 8 foot chain link fence with three strands of razor wire on top and more NO TRESPASSING signs on it.  This is the quarter mile of land that the county lacks to connect the two sections of trail.  If the sections could be connected the river trail would run all the way from the Wisconsin border down to the south county line.  At that point it would connect up to the neighboring county's trail system and would be about 60 miles long.  But the man who owns the quarter mile will not let the county buy or lease any of his land.  

The man who owns the land owns this putt putt golf course

The story we heard (we have to admit we don't know if this is all true or not, so assume the word "allegedly" is scattered all over this paragraph) was that when the trail was proposed 30 years ago the man who owned the land promised the county that he would talk to them about giving them access to his property when the whole rest of the trail was completed.  Well, that happened during the big housing boom and he thought he could sell the land for a lot more money to developers than he could to the county, but the developers didn't buy his land, and then the housing bust happened. The forest preserve people keep talking to him trying to convince him to sell them a chunk of his land even though many county residents think they should just take the land for the trail by eminent domain, but they are too nice to do that.

Mommy had heard that he had a tiny railroad set up on this land so she went up to the fence so she could see what is behind it.

 Sure enough, there is a tiny railroad track all overgrown by grass

After Mommy took a picture of the railroad we turned around and headed back up the trail.  I got tired around the gated community and got back in my stroller.  We continued up the trail and then, shortly after we crossed the busy road, a large black lab came tearing out of the woods at us! Mommy lunged at him and yelled, "NO! GET OUT!" and he stopped and ran back into the woods.  He seemed fit and was wearing a collar and there were no humans around so Mommy figured he had probably escaped from one of the homes in the gated community.  Then a little way further on he came charging out of the woods at us again! Mommy again ran at him yelling, "NO! BAD! GO HOME!" and this time he ran up the trail.  Then he turned around and charged straight at me.  Mommy jumped in front of the stroller and yelled, "GIT!" and I started to growl and bark and then we heard a whistle and a man came strolling up from a long way behind us and the dog ran to him.  When the man finally caught up to us Mommy said, "You need to put that dog on a leash." The man said, "No I don't my dog isn't vicious like yours, barking at people. You shouldn't have a vicious dog on this trail." Mommy said, "My dog isn't barking at people he is barking at your dumb ass off-leash dog who kept charging him. It is illegal to let dogs run free on this trail." The man said, "Watch your language." Mommy said, "Don't be a f-ing a-hole." (only she said the whole words) I continued to bark and growl. The dog then ran ahead and tried to jump on a jogger and then ran straight at bike rider making him swerve. The man did nothing. Mommy called the ranger and issued a complaint and then we stopped at the next bench so that Mommy could sit down and pet me and calm me down. I was so upset I was shaking.  Mommy didn't get a picture of the man, but she found a drawing of him online.

The man 

I continued to ride in the stroller until we were a little more than a half mile from the end and then I barked to get out.  I walked the rest of the way to the car, and, just as Mommy was putting the stroller into the back of the car we saw the ranger driving his car down the trail. We hope he caught the man and gave him a ticket.

Total miles walked by me: 3.2!!!!!!! Total miles riding in the stroller: 3.8. Total miles hiked: 7.


Anonymous said...

Great pictures - thank you for sharing the trails with your bad dog buddies!

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

OMD, Merlin WHAT A DOODYHEAD that man is. Mom told the pawlice about a doodyhead man like that once when his dog charged my sis Sydney and the pawlice took off AFTER him right away. We hope they got him too. Now you knows that I often hike with no walking string but that is only because I is nefur more than a few steps away from mom, I come the minit she calls me, I nefur leave the trail, I nefur chase wildlife and there is no udder peeps or dogs around. We is often the only ones in way out in the middle of the woods. Those be the rules. Only now my hearing isn't what it used to be and I cannot hear mom so well any more so we has to use the walking string more. So anyways, udder than the doodyhead man with the doodyhead dog, the udder doodyhead man wot won't let the trail through his turf and the doodyhead gated community, pawsome hike! I is still digging your no walking wagon.

KB Bear said...

I'm glad you didn't let that awful man ruin your hike.

Your stroller rocks (and rolls - I couldn't resist)!! I'm so happy that you and your mom have worked out such an awesome system so that you can hike together, even on long, interesting, and beautiful hikes like this one. I love your attitude!!!