Hike & Go Seek – Petrified Forest

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Although a bit west of what is considered the tradition Midwest, Petrified Forest National Park is an American national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, park covers about 230 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands.

 

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The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch.  The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name.

The park’s seven maintained hiking trails, some paved, vary in length from less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to nearly 3 miles.  These named trails are Painted Desert Rim, Puerco Pueblo, Blue Mesa, Crystal Forest, Giant Logs, Long Logs, and Agate House.  Hikers and backpackers may also visit the park’s wilderness areas.

1000px-Shortgrass_pano_Petrified_Forest_NPPanorama of shortgrass prairie near Dry Wash in the southern section of the park.

Some of the larger animals roaming the grasslands include pronghorns, black-tailed jackrabbits (hares), Gunnison’s prairie dogs, coyotes, bobcats and foxes. Bobcats and bullsnakes hunt smaller animals, such as deer mice and white-tailed antelope squirrels in the park’s riparian zones.  More than 16 kinds of lizards and snakes live in various habitats in the park.

 

Here are a few great hiking resources

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America’s Best Day Hikes       Great Hiking Trails of the World

 

 

 

 

 

Rewild through Birding

Shallow Focus Photography of Gray and Orange Bird

A rewilding, brought about first through neglect and now through intentional human effort, is occurring on all over the world and certainly here in the Midwest. Over the years, I have discovered unique beauties on ambling adventures along the Wisconsin and Michigan Shoreline, and even in the heart the city…downtown Chicago.

 

Even this time of year you can spot all types on many of the hiking trails the area has to offer.   But if you really want to view all types, try the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary listed below.

One such spot… The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary can be found by following Montrose Avenue east until crossing Lake Shore Drive and into Lincoln Park.  Visit the magic hedge, on the west side of the sanctuary, but stay on the trails as much as possible in order to not disturb the nesting and resting Birds. Make sure you take the path in One Direction and return in the opposite direction in order to navigate the whole area.

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Wren Home

 

Don’t forget to walk down to the pier where you will see rare ducks,  loons, and possibly peregrine falcons.

A small bird creeps out of a thicket and is greeted by flashing lights and muffled whispers. Welcome to the celebrity life of a bird along the “Magic Hedge.”

Focus Photography of Flying Hummingbird

A small finger curling out into the lake, Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary can boast in having over 300 species recorded, including some of the rarest birds ever recorded in the state.  A small stretch of low-lying bushes and small trees on the west side of the sanctuary in particular have been a magnet for migrating songbirds and rarities.  Some would say that the hedge seems to bring birds in like magic.  The nickname for this spot is fitting: “The Magic Hedge.”

 

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Birds of the Backyard

Nature’s Silent Message

Natures Silent Secret

“The Earth is trying to teach us to live better. To lead richer, happier lives.” Nature’s Silent Message.       Just released last month by Scott Stillman.

Nature’s Silent Message

Will we continue down the limited path of the mechanical mind?

Or will we tune into ultimate intelligence? The same intelligence that allows blood to flow through our veins, bees to pollinate flowers, birds to fly south, salmon to spawn, whales to migrate, caterpillars to become butterflies, the Earth to rotate, the moon to orbit, and the rest of nature to function perfectly of its own accord?

We have access to nature’s silent message—if we take the time to listen.

In this spellbinding collection, Stillman guides us from the lush forests of the North Cascades, through the sandstone slot canyons of Utah, and into the border country of extreme southern Arizona. In this classroom, we learn not from books, nor words, nor lectures. Wilderness is the school of life, where we learn not from that which thinks—but that which knows.

Nature’s Silent Message suggests the existence of something far greater than what we see on the surface. It’s about breaking through old patterns so that new ones may emerge.

The message is simple and pure, but when you try to define it, it vanishes into thin air. And in that vanishing, you find it again. Like a beautiful butterfly that can never be caught. Try and catch her and she’ll drive you mad, eluding you forever. But learn to fly with her, and all the wonders of the world will be shown, and all the answers to your questions be known.

Get it now.    Nature’s Silent Message

Hike & Go Seek – Garden of the Gods

Green Tree Near Rocky Mountains

Looking for spectacular views with a short hike among some of the most unique rock formations in the United States? Look no further than Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois. The most popular hike in the Shawnee National Forest, Garden of the Gods gives tourists amazing insight into the geologic structure of Southern Illinois and a view that stretches for miles high over the pristine hills of Shawnee Forest.

More than 320 million years ago, the wind and rain patiently started to chisel away at large deposits of sedimentary rock located in what is now, Shawnee National Forest . Over the years, the elements have sculpted some of the most stunning and extraordinary rock formations known to man. There are also plenty of trails for backpacking and horseback riding, allowing nature lovers a welcome tour of what the lively environment has to offer.

Trekking The National Parks: The Family Board Game (Second Edition)

Trekking the National Parks Family Board Game

There are many miles of diverse hiking and backpacking trails in the Shawnee National Forest including the 160-mile River to River Trail.

One of the most photographed locations in the state, Garden of the Gods’ scenic beauty is extraordinary. In the recreation area you can hike, camp, nature watch or picnic.

The Observation Trail features unique sandstone rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding Garden of the God Wilderness. Interpretive signs explain the geological history. The 1/4-mile trail is made of natural sandstone and takes about an hour to walk. It contains short, steep grades and steps; benches are located along the trail and as a whole the trail is not tiring. Caution should be used due to the high cliffs in the area.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shawnee/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10685&actid=50

https://www.shawneeforest.com/garden-of-the-gods/

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America’s Best Day Hikes       Great Hiking Trails of the World

Everglades National Park: Mangrove Forest — National Parks With T

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

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Everglades National Park has a number of videos on their website for the housebound to explore during the Covid-19 shutdown, including this video with Ranger Ally of the mangrove forest.

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In 2016, we took the Mangrove Wilderness tour with the only company licensed to do boat excursions inside the National Park boundaries. You can find them by clicking here.

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The tour was very similar to what is shown in the video, without the corny acting.  If you have 10 minutes to spare, I encourage you to watch the video. I enjoyed re-living this lovely journey through the Everglades.

via Everglades National Park: Mangrove Forest — National Parks With T

 

Trekking The National Parks: The Family Board Game (Second Edition)

Trekking the National Parks Family Board Game

 

 

National Parks Badges Puzzle 

 

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Nikon Complete Kit

 

 

National Park Week: Z I O N — Roamin Moens

National Parks really were “America’s Best Idea.” So many of my big life moments happened or were about national parks. I can remember moments exactly how they happened from the memories I have captured. Zion National Park will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was the first National Park I had […]

via National Park Week: Z I O N — Roamin Moens

 

National Parks Badges Puzzle