Devil’s Lake has over 29 miles of hiking trails for any skill level including amazingly scenic sections of the National Ice Age Trail. The trails vary in condition and difficulty from easy to challenging and are not maintained in the winter months. Steep climbs or descents and stairways are common on Devil’s Lake’s hiking trails.
For more information visit: https://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/activities/hiking/
Daniel Wright Woods – Lake County, Illinois
While March generally isn’t the best of weather anywhere in the midwest, today showed us sunny skies and 50 degrees. With the warmer weather, the melted snow leaves for slushy, muddy trials and the Des Plaines River closer then we want (literally cutting off many of the paths) at the Daniel Wright Woods Forest Preserve. But nonetheless a very enjoyable experience.
This peaceful oasis among the bustling suburbs offers 4 miles of scenic trails: a short loop for hikers, bicyclists and skiers that circles a pond, and a 3-mile loop for hikers, bicyclists, skiers and horses.
A footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River (assuming the path to get to it is not flooded like today) links Wright Woods to Half Day Forest Preserve. Together they offer some of southern Lake County’s most scenic outdoor recreation opportunities and the Des Plaines River Trail passes through both preserves.
A Little History?
Wright Woods was named for one of Lake County’s first settlers, Captain Daniel Wright. In the early 1960s, these acres were some of the first acquired. In 2004, the 168-acre Lloyd’s Woods addition to Wright Woods expanded the preserve to its current 750 acres.
It provides the opportunity to see the powerful effects of water and fire. Prior to settlement by Europeans, wildfires regularly swept eastward across Lake County, only to be stopped by the Des Plaines River. Situated just east of the river, Wright Woods supports a rich oak and maple woodland that sometimes develops in less frequently burned areas. With large stands of maples found at few other places in Lake County, Wright Woods is a great place to view autumn colors.
For more information and location, visit https://www.lcfpd.org/wright-woods/
The Volo Bog – Illinois
Summer or winter – the Volo Bog is a place for discovery. Located in Northeast Illinois, the bog sports a half mile walk on a boardwalk (similar to a pier) and an approximately three-mile trail with views of the tamarck forests.
After the end of the last Ice Age, a chuck of retreating glacial ice lodged itself deep in the ground at what is now Volo Bog. Several thousand years later the remnant lake began to fill with salt and vegetation, creating the wetlands present today. The Volo Bog is technically known as a quaking bog because vegetation floats atop the open water….that is in the spring, summer and fall. The boardwalks you see here, take you directly over the frozen wetlands which are very near where you are stepping.
For more information, visit https://openlands.org/2018/06/05/have-you-discovered-volo-bog/
Using Light Creatively
A photograph is simply reflected light. So knowing how to capture reflected light is key and in nature light is dynamic, changing even from minute to minute.
Bad weather is often not so bad and can create a dramatic scene. Storm clouds add movement and the color can reflect from different angles creating a range of colors. The cloud will also diffuse light so that the landscape is darker and the photography can focus on the brightly lite sky. Add an extra touch of warmth in post production and you’ve good something to talk about.
So next time a storm is approaching, gear up accordingly and capture some terrific images.
Shawnee National Forest is a Midwest destination unlike any other. Traverse 403 miles of hiking trails, discover local wineries and craft breweries, and don’t miss the Garden of the Gods.
n southern Illinois, fields give way to forested hills, rugged bluffs and sweet surprises in Shawnee National Forest.
Outdoor enthusiasts make tracks to Giant City State Park, which gets its name from the steep, carved sandstone cliffs that resemble city streets fit for a giant. Hikers explore miles of trails or gather their gear and tackle rock-climbing and rappelling on the massive bluffs. Giant City Stables leads guided horseback tours along wooded paths. The clear and calm waters of Little Grassy Lake, part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, are ideal for a day of fishing and boating. For a colorful detour, the quirky Makanda Boardwalk showcases the works of local artisans, including metalwork and gemstone jewelry.
Head for the Forest