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 

 

On Location – Check out Glacier Park, Illinois with me!

Although a bit barren in January, Glacial Park Conservation Area offers 3,432 acres of recreation including a wide array of prairies, wetlands and savannas.  There are over eight miles of hiking trails with a beautiful backdrop of hickory trees, oak trees. and wildflowers. It is the home for over 41 species of state endangered animals and plants.

 

Trekking the Interpretive Nature Trail On this 2 mile trek, call  the edge, you will search for owls, deer, wood ducks and blue birds.  This “edge” offers the perfect combination of of both woodland and grassland which is exactly what these animals need.  Many types of berries, nuts and seeds are available.

  Midwestern Birds: Backyard Guide - Watching - Feeding - Landscaping - Nurturing - Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, ... Dakota (Bird Watcher's Digest Backyard Guide)                        National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition

Midwestern Birds                    National Geographic Birds

Trekking the  Plant Community Interpretive Trial

This open woodland is a savanna, hosting plant both native and non native to the area.  Some of the plants include bottlebrush grass, joe pye weed, and mayapple.   The green plants here produce their own food by trapping the energy of the sun.  They then support a wide array of organisms throughout the savanna. Here there is a very healthy ecosystem and therefore a vast biodiversity.

Geology of Glacial Park

12,000 years ago glaciers were in this park.  After leaving they left the land shaped into unique land forms and bringing rocks and till from Canada.   Because of so much till, the bedrock was buried and after breaking down, plants were able to grow in this new fertile soil.  This area then became of the top regions for agriculture.

Here are a few other great resources.

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

Unforgettable Winter Outdoor Outings

Winter completely changes the landscape in the Midwest, offering miles and miles of new perspective.

Illinois – Starved Rock – 13 Miles of Trails and 18 Canyons.  It is not unusual to see people climbing the frozen waterfall.

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Indiana – McCormick’s Creek State Park Explore the spectacular limestone canyon, flowing creek, and scenic waterfalls

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Iowa –  Dawn on the landscape of the Mississippi River at Pikes Peak State Park, Iowa

Kansas – Deep Creek Waterfall at Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area

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Michigan’s Upper Pennisula averages 200 inches of snowfall each year and boasts plenty of frozen waterfalls for climbing

 

Minnesota – The Itasca State Park is a beautiful place to explore in the winter. Minnesota DNR

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Missouri – Onondaga Cave State Park – Leasburg

Photo Credit: MHarrisW/TripAdvisor

 

Nebraska – Frozen waterfall along the Stone Creek Hiking Trail at Platte River State Park

North Dakota – The winding trail through part of the 200 acre nature preserve in this state park will take you through some absolutely amazing sights. There are plenty of plants and animals to be found here

Ohio – Old Man’s Cave Loop (Hocking Hills State Park)

South Dakota – Winter in the Blackhills

Winter, Spearfish Falls

Wisconsin – Lake Superior Ice Caves

And here are a few other great resources.

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

66 Hikes Along Route 66 – # 10

Petrified Forest National Park

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.

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.

 

The once Historic Route 66, of the most famous roads in the United States that ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and ended  in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California, covered a total of 2,448 miles.  It has always been iconic for roadside stops….dinners…antiquing…and many historical sites.  Although it longer exists, you can still “get your kicks” on the path it took through the United States on other highways and roads.  In this series, I will highlight the many places you can stop to explore nature along this route….focusing on spots in the Midwest.  Looking for more stops….check out this guide.

And here are a few other great resources.

168268265X      

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

66 Hikes Along Route 66 – #9

Meramec State Park – Stanton MO

Created in 1926 it protects over 40 caves and a forested landscape.   Fisher Cave sports massive columns and bear claw marks from the past.

Exhibits in the visitor center interpret the natural and cultural features of the park. No visit to the park would be complete without a tour of Fisher Cave with hand-held lights.

Meramec River

The Meramec River flows by majestic bluffs, wooded areas and a dramatic cave entrance.

 

More than 13 miles of hiking trails are available for exploring the park

 The once Historic Route 66, of the most famous roads in the United States that ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and ended  in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California, covered a total of 2,448 miles.  It has always been iconic for roadside stops….dinners…antiquing…and many historical sites.  Although it longer exists, you can still “get your kicks” on the path it took through the United States on other highways and roads.  In this series, I will highlight the many places you can stop to explore nature along this route….focusing on spots in the Midwest.  Looking for more stops….check out this guide.

And here are a few other great resources.

168268265X      

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

The Long Way Home To The Other Fitz Roy — Because Itz There

Patagonia: The Return Home **Completed in November 2019, The Torres del Paine ‘W’ hike and Fitz Roy are Sylvia and Brian’s fifth and sixth BucketList adventure completed together, respectively. We have never ventured further to put a hike in our bucket. And so it was over. Except for the long, long road back. After […]

via The Long Way Home To The Other Fitz Roy — BecauseItzThere