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

Lake Michigan’s Beauty in Winter

 

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes in the Midwest.   And they are huge with beaches offen referred to as the “Third Coast” of the United States, right up there with the Altantic and Pacific Oceans.

Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes located entirely within the territory of the United States. It is shared, from west to east Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The word “Michigan” originally referred to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwe word michi-gami meaning “great water”. (1)

Some of the earliest human inhabitants of the Lake Michigan region were the Hopewell Indians.  In the early 17th century, when western European explorers made their first forays into the region, they encountered descendants of the Late Woodland Indians.

Currently some 12 million people live along the shore with many booming tourist towns, including Door County in Wisconin and Saugatuck in Michigan.

(1)  Superior Watershed Partnership Projects.  Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.

66 Hikes on Route 66 – #7 – Cal-Sag Trail

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Imagine a marathon trail (at just over 26 miles, we mean that literally) connecting across the Chicago Southland from Indiana and the Chicago Lakefront to Lemont, Illinois and the I&M Canal Trail.

Imagine a channel that’s seen its share of booms and busts becoming a destination for recreation, a nature corridor, and a driver of good health and high quality of life.

Imagine discovering it was real. Welcome to the Cal-Sag Trail.

https://www.calsagtrail.org/

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.

66 Hikes Along Rt. 66 – #5

Gaylord Donnelley Trail

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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.

 

Part of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area, the Gaylord Donnelley Trail will take you from Lockport to Joliet.  Lockport and Joliet were two of the most influential Illinois cities of the 19th and 20th centuries.  On this eleven mile trail you will explore canal ruins, a closed amusement park, the old Joliet prison and the ruins of the Joliet Iron Works.

A Bit of History

On its completion, the I&M Canal created a new transportation corridor.  By connecting the waters of the Illinois River with those of Lake Michigan, a vast all-water route connected widely scattered sections of the United States, specifically the Northwest, South and East.  Travelers from the eastern U.S. took the Erie Canal to Buffalo, New York, where steamboats brought them through the Great Lakes to Chicago.  Transferring to canal boats, a 96-mile trip on the I&M Canal brought them to LaSalle/Peru.  Here people boarded river steamers bound for St. Louis and New Orleans.  The canal opened the floodgates to an influx of new commodities, new people and new ideas.

The I&M Canal, and the railroad and highway connections that soon paralleled its path between Chicago and LaSalle/Peru, became the great passageway to the American West. The opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in 1848 made Chicago and northern Illinois the key crossroads of the American mid-continent. The opening of the canal heralded a new era in trade and travel for the entire nation. The I&M Canal allowed travelers the option of taking an all-water route from New York Harbor to Chicago, Illinois, to St. Louis, Missouri and even to New Orleans, Louisiana. This water highway provided a mud and dust-free alternative to overland travel. Passengers increasingly chose the all water route to the West, bypassing the Ohio River route. Freight could go from St. Louis to New York in 12 days via the I&M Canal and the Great Lakes, while the Ohio River route might take 30-40 days.

https://iandmcanal.org/about-this-place-history/