Hike & Go Seek – White Pines Forest State Park

White Pines Forest State Park Pine Stand2.JPG

White Pines Forest State Park is an Illinois state park in Ogle County, Illinois, which is a 385 acre park that contains the southernmost remaining stand of native white pine trees in the state of Illinois designated an Illinois Nature preserve in 2001.  The park contains two freshwater streams, dolomite rock formations and a variety of activities generally associated with Illinois state parks.
Among the park’s most distinctive and well known features are the vehicular river crossings.  At three places, crossing Pine Creek, fords were constructed instead of bridges.  The fords offer visitors a chance to actually drive through the creek, though high water frequently closes the crossings.  Hikers are relegated to pedestrian bridges or stepping stones in the creek to cross the stream.  Floods are frequent enough on Pine Creek, a large watershed to the north of the park, that there is an emergency exit from the campground.  When high water closes the fords, the campground is cut off and the emergency exit is the only way out.
The banks of Pine Creek and Spring Creek are lined with large rock and cliff formations that provide habitat to plants ranging from large trees to moss to hanging vines.  The forest undergrowth provides small mammal habitats and among the mammals that can be seen include red squirrels, raccoons, deer and chipmunks.  The creeks are populated with smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish and , when they are stocked by the IDNR, rainbow trout.
The park is Illinois’ third oldest and has become one of the state’s most visited parks hosting over 350,000 visitors each year.  During the warmer months picknicking, camping, lodging, hiking and fishing are available.  The lodge and cabins are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Books you might like:

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

B005CRQ4XI

Wild: From Lost to Found

0996962662

Whispers in the Wilderness

 Lost 

And just released last month by Scott Stillman…Nature’s Silent Message

1732352224

Nature’s Silent Message

Hike & Go Seek – Fort Sheridan

Woman in White Shirt and Black Pants Walking on Pathway in Between Trees

Fort Sheridan is a residential neighborhood located within the cities of Highwood, Lake Forest and Highland Park, Illinois.  It was originally established as Fort Sheridan, an Army post named after the Civil War cavalry general Philip Sheridan to honor his services to Chicago.
There is a forest preserve that is operated by Lake County Forest Preserves which includes 250 acres of the former fort.  The preserve has roughly 4.5 miles of hiking trail, 3.7 miles of trail for cross country skiing and 1.3 miles of trail for biking.   The preserve also includes 0.75 miles of shoreline property alongside Lake Michigan. Throughout the preserve there are educational exhibits and viewing stations along the trails.
In 1984 parts of Fort Sheridan were designated a National Historic Landmark District by the National Park Service who stated that the site “possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.”  The historic districts includes 230 acres of land and buildings which include officers’ quarters, barracks, stables, a drill hall, water tower and many other institutional buildings.  Also there is the 54 acre parade ground which was preserved as open space. (wiki)

B08682CKSZ
Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X
America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030
The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

Hike & Go Seek – Fort Defiance State Park

Empty Road Surrounded With Green Trees

Fort Defiance State Park is a 191 acre park located in Emmet County and sits at an elevation of 1,453 feet.  Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, the park was opened in 1930 and is open year-round for picknicking, hiking and camping.  
Fort Defiance State Park is named for the former Fort Defiance which was built to protect a gristmil and sawmill during the Dakota War of 1862.
A lodge built to resemble a frontier army outpost is available to rent to large groups for meetings and reunions.  There is a picnic pavillion that is open to all visitors on a first come first served basis.  The park has a rustic camping area with sixteen camping sites.  The trails of the park are open to hiking, horseback riding and cross country skiing.  Two of the trails, White Tail Ridge Trail and Spring Trail have recently undergone extensive improvements.  The work was completed by students from the Iowa Lakes Community College environmental studies program which included covering the trails with wood chips to make the trails more “hiker friendly.”  White Tail Ridge Trail passes through a wooded area where visitors may encounter some white-tailed deer.  The Spring Trails passes through a patch of prairie.  (wiki)

Books you might like:

B08682CKSZ
Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X
America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030
The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

The Hartman Reserve Nature Center

Hartman Reserve Nature Center, October 2013.jpg
Shirey Lake in Hartman Reserve Nature Center

The Hartman Reserve Nature Center is located in Cedar Falls, Iowa and is approximately 309 acres large.  It is the largest undisturbed wooded area in Black Hawk County, Iowa and is home to three distinct habitats including wetland, forest and prairie.  The reserve is dedicated to teaching youth about nature through hands on experiences and preservation.  
Hartman Reserve was named after John C. Hartman who was the editor for the Waterloo Daily Courier who also was a nature enthusiast and amateur archaeologist.  When the YMCA could not raise the money to buy the property, Hartman donated a sizable amount towards the purchase which was enough to have the property bear his name.
Hartman Reserve is home to many trails which include paved, unpaved and water trails.  There are over 6 miles worth of walking trails with the most notorious of these trails being the American Discovery Trail.  All of the water trails lead into the Cedar River, the George With Memorial State Park and the many lakes on the reserve.  The walking trails are dispersed throughout the reserve with varying levels of difficulty.  During the Winter, snowshoe trails are available that replace the regular walking trails that can be used anyday between sunrise and sunset.
The Hartman Reserve trail connects to the larger and more well known American Discovery Trail which is a system of recreational trails and roads that collectively form a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the mid-tier of the United States.  Horses can also be riddenon most of this trail which starts on the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and ends on the northern California coast on the Pacific Ocean making it a total length of 6,804 miles long.

Books you might like:

B08682CKSZ
Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X
America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030
The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

Hike & Go Seek – Boneback State Park

Richmond Springs.jpg

Dedicated in 1919, Backbone State park is Iowa’s oldest state park.  It is named for a narrow and steep ridge of bedrock carved by a loop of the Maquoketa River originally known as the Devil’s Backbone.  It is approximately three miles long and was built back in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps who constructed a majority of the trails and buildings which make up the park.
There are three distinct areas to the park:  Area A is called the Cabin-Bathing Area; Area B is the Picknicking, Hiking and Camping Area; and Area C is Richmond Springs.      *  Area A is located at the southern end of the park and runs around the 125 acre Backbone Lake on the Makoqueta River.  Its historic buildings and structures include 17 cabins, pump house, two sets of trail steps, soil erosion dams, six parking areas, paved road, the site of CCC Camp 1756, bathhouse, boathouse, a wall, the beach, a sundial and bench, dam, and the sand filter bed.  The lake was created by the dam and spillways back in 1933.    *  Area B is located near the center of the park and its historic buildings and structures include a picnic/shelter concession, two more picnic shelters, the site of CCC Camp 781, the east entrance entryways and gate, two trailside benches, six parking lots, a vehicle bridge, trail steps and the Backbone trail.  
    *  Area C, Richmond Springs is located on the north end of the park and its historic structures include the springs which are a natural feature enclosed by the CCC back in June of 1934.  It created a new channel from the area to prevent overflow into the springs. 
Twenty-one miles of multi-use trails support year-round recreational activities including hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in winter.  The lake is noted for its swimming, boating and fishing.  Backbone Creek is known to support a good stock of Rainbow and Brown Trout and is regularly stocked by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Campsites and rental cabins are available along with shower buildings and a playground for the children. Local wildlife such as fox, turkey and deer can be seen in the park and surrounding area and the Backbone State Forest is immediately adjacent to the park.  The forest consists of 186 acres of pine forest. (wiki)

B007MIWUG0

READ FOR FREE

Books you might like:

B08682CKSZ
Just Released

Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X

America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030

The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

Hike & Go Seek – Katy Trail

Katy trail at hwy 364.jpg

Which U.S. state contains the country’s longest recreational rail trail?  It is the state of Missouri and the trail’s name is the Katy Trail which is approximately 240 miles long and runs along the northern bank of the Missouri River in the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.  Open year-round from sunrise to sunset it serves hikers, joggers and cyclists on it’s hard, flat surface comprised mostly of crushed limestone (aka: limestone pug.)  The nickname “Katy” comes from the phonetic pronunciation of “KT” which is a short form of the railroad’s abbreviated name, MKT.  Sections of the Katy are also part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail.’
The Katy Trail currently begins in the town of Machens(mile marker 27) on the Missouri River and runs along the northern bank for most of the trail’s length.  The next major city along the trail is Jefferson City, the state capital.  At mile-marker 169.9 (McBaine) the trail intersects the MKT Trail which leads into downtown Columbia, the largest city along the trail.The Katy then deviates from its original path and crosses the Missouri River at Boonville on the Boonslick Bridge instead of the original MKT Bridge.  From here the trail runs to its terminus in Clinton at mile-marker 264.6
Plans are underway to add another 144-mile unused section of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific to Rock Island Trail State Park, which with the Katy would create a 450-mile trail network.  The extension would run from Windsor to Beaufort, near Washington.  Preliminary plans are to then extend the trail into Washington from where it could cross the Missouri River to connect to the Katy Trail again, completing a cross-state loop.  A “quad state” proposal would connect the Katy and other existing trails in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. (wiki_

Books you might like:

B08682CKSZ
Just Released

Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X

America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030

The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

Hike & Go Seek – Clive Greenbelt Trail

The Clive Greenbelt Trail is an 11.3 mile urban recreational trail that is located in Clive, Iowa and forms part of the Central Iowa Trails network.  It is a very busy, curvy, concrete and p

Clive Greenbelt Trail: Iowa Tourism Map, Travel Guide, Things to Do: Travel  Iowa
Photo from traveliowa.com

Paved asphalt trail that runs through Polk and Dallas counties in Iowa.  
The trail begins at 73rd Street and Walnut Creek at the Walmart in Windsor Heights.  Hikers are able to access many of the parks, libraries and the aquatic center by way of the many trails which also have mile markers and route directions to help you on your way.  
The trail meanders along the north bank of Walnut Creek for 5.5 miles to Country Club Blvd.  Between the Lake Country Club dam and 142nd Street, the trail is on the street near the northshore of Lake Country Club for 0.75 miles.  For the next 1.7 miles the trail travels between 1900 142nd Street and Lions Park which is near Eason Elementary School in Waukee.  In western Clive, more trails are being developed north of Hickman Road.  Additional links and branches bring the total trail mileage to 11.3 miles.
A ll trail hikers are welcome to the many beautiful parks located throughout the city of Clive.  You can visit the Greenbelt Park and Trail from neighborhood connection points or from the several trail heads accessible with parking sites for your car.  You are welcome to take a stroll, jog, ride your bike or rollerblade and enjoy all the natural scenery that is abundant in the 297 acres of this premier park in the city of Clive.

Wiki and http://www.cityofclive.com/departments/parks-recreation/parks/

Books you might like:

B08682CKSZ
Just Released

Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X

America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030

The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

Hike & Go Seek – The Voyageur Hiking Trial

Voyageurs means “runners of the woods”

The Voyageur Hiking Trail runs between Sudbury and Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario, Canada.  It is a public hiking trail whose name honors the European fur traders of the region who travelled the area mostly by canoe and were known as “voyageurs” (runners of the woods).  Used by all ages and levels of experience, the trail is used by day hikers to the serious hardy backpackers.  


The hiking trail crosses the vast privately and publicly owned forests of this rugged wilderness.  Over half of the linear trail has been completed plus numerous side trails.  Sault Ste. Marie is the largest city on the completed trail and is located between two of the Great Lakes………….Lake Superior and Lake Huron.  The route runs alongside these two great bodies of water frequently touching the shoreline.  Many other communities through which the trail passes include Elliot Lake, Iron Bridge, Wawa, Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Rossport and Nipigon.

Red Rock Mar 2010 looking N.jpg

You can refer to a trail guidebook that provides trail users with all of the up-to-date maps and descriptions of the available trails.  In addition, digital maps can be downloaded to GPS units for on-trail navigation.  Many trail users participate in Geocaching and the number of geocaches that can be found along the trail is continually increasing. 

 
The Voyageur Trail is a pedestrian trail only….meaning that it is made for hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and bushwhack skiing.  In most places, the trail is too rough for other uses.  You will find fallen trees that lie across the path where your only choice is to climb over them.  You will cross streams on beaver dams, rocks or logs.  And the trail is advertised as a “true wilderness trail” because there are no facilities along the Voyageur Trail.  Regardless of your physical condition you can expect to do approximately two kilometers per hour on the trail so plan your outing taking this into account.  Some hikers have described it as “bushwhacking with blazes” and in some areas of the trail this description is true. (wiki)

Books you might like:

B08682CKSZ
Just Released

Nature’s Silent Message

168268265X

America’s Best Day Hikes

1948371030

The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers

Hike & Go Seek – Gandy Dancer Trail

Image

 The Gandy Dancer State Trail is a 98 mile recreational trail spanning through Wisconsin and Minnesota. The trail is managed by Polk, Burnett, and Douglas County in Wisconsin and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Minnesota.  

The trail follows the old Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie railroad grade from St. Croix Falls to Superior. The trail is divided up into a north and south segment with the southern segment accounting for 47 miles all in Wisconsin and the northern segment accounting for 51 miles in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The Ice Age Trail follows the Gandy Dancer State Trail for 19 miles from St. Croix Falls past the town of Luck.      

History

A gandy dancer was a slang term used for American railroad workers that would build and maintain tracks by hand. The term likely originated from the Gandy Manufacturing Company based in Chicago which produced railroad tools. These workers were known to sing and keep their voices and feet in unison which led to them being described as dancers. In 1990 a naming contest was held for the naming of the trail. The name Gandy Dancer was chosen to honor the railroad workers who built the tracks. (wiki)  

B07PC22WJ8

National Parks 18″ x 24″ Collector’s Series Puzzle

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

Trekking the National Parks Family Board Game.