Hike & Go Seek – The Grand Illinois Trail


The Grand Illinois Trail (GIT) is over 535 miles in length and is the longest cycling loop trail in Illinois.  It extends from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi along the northern border of Illinois.   Parts of it are in the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail.  The GIT was started in l992 and offers much for riders too.  Since it routes through the prairie state, it contains flat and easy to ride portions through green farmlands and pastoral vistas.  The GIT also gives touring cyclists special glimpses into much of the essence of Illinois like……….Chicago streetscapes  and trails along Lake Michigan; the hilly and picturesque geography of Jo Davies’ County; the mighty Mississippi river itself; Small Town America and medium sized cities and suburbs.


There is approximately 200 miles of the trail on paved township and county roads while the rest is on limestone trails or paths.  There is a GIT Trail Guide that was jointly produced by Ride Illinois and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that is easily downloadable and helps to promote the use of this beautiful long distance bike route in the state of Illinois.  The guide divides the trail into ten segments each with a map and cue sheet for directions and local features to enjoy along the way.  In the guide you will also find information on lodging, food, camping and bike repair and detailed maps will guide you through areas with many turns.  You can download the GIT map and brochure at www.rideillinois.org.
Each trail section has its own special history and history of development.  Particularly noteworthy is the famous Prairie Path that runs through the western suburbs of Chicago and was the first long rail-trail development in America along with the great Chicago Lakefront trail.  The best long section of the GIT is the southern section along the state canal trails between Joliet and the Quad Cities.   (wiki)

Hike & Go Seek – Copper Harbor

Aerial view of Copper Harbor
Looking for some of the funnest and most scenic trails around Michigan. Copper Harbor is your spot.  It is an all-season resort town in northeastern Keweenaw County, Michigan located on the Keweenaw Peninsula which juts out from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan into Lake Superior.  Due to its natural environment and surroundings it is a popular tourist destination within the Great Lakes region.
One popular spot for visitors is Hunter’s Island which is the name of a non-hilly point running out from the west into Lake Superior.  It was named for an early settler of the area named Mr. Hunter who owned a tract of land on what is now Hunter’s Point or Hunter’s Island.
Situated at the opening of the harbor itself is the historic Copper Harbor Lighthouse built in 1866, replacing an earlier lighthouse made in 1849.  It is only accessible via a short ride in a compact open vessel from the Copper Harbor marina.  Exhibits inside the lighthouse museum cover both the lighthouse history along with the local shipwreck culture of the area.
Another popular site known as “the most beautiful road in Michigan” is the Brockway Mountain Drive that is an 8.8 mile route that follows the backbone of a 753-foot-high ridge between the towns of Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor and is the highest paved road between the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Allegheny Mountains to the east.  Constructed during the 30’s, this very picturesque road offers stunning views of Lake Superior and Keweenaw Penisula as well as the archipelago of Isle Royale.



Wild: From Lost to Found

Hike & Go Seek – Isle Royal

Isle Royale shipwrecks Lake Superior.jpg
Located on the Northwest end of Lake Superior near the town of Laurentia, you will find the island called Isle Royale.  It is part of the state of Michigan and along with 450 surrounding islands it makes up the territory called Isle Royale.  This whole cluster of islands is 45 miles long and 9 miles wide covering over 206 miles in total area making it the fourth largest lake island in the world.  In addition, it is the second largest island located in the Great Lakes and the largest natural island in Lake Superior.
Isle Royale is only about 15 miles of the Canadian and Minnesotan shores of the lake.  There are no roads on the island making hiking the main method of movement and transportation.  In Rock Harbor one can find wheeled carts available to move personal belongings  from the Rock Harbor marina to the cabins and hotel.
Isle Royale was given to the United States by the 1783 treaty with Great Britain but the British remained in control of this land until after the War of 1812 and the already settled Ojibwa peoples considered the island to be their territory.  The island was once the site of several lake trout and whitefish fisheries as well as a few resorts but as of today there are no permanent inhabitants.  A major attraction to the island are it’s several shipwrecks located on the western tip making for exciting scuba dives and providing a glimpse into some maritime history of the area.
As for recreational activities one can enjoy hiking, backpacking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and bird watching.  Wheeled vehicles are not permitted on Isle Royale such as bicycles or canoe portage devices.  There are many campgrounds to explore with most of them being accessible only by water.  There are two small settlements on the island and they are Rock Harbor (which has a resort, marina and basic amenities) and Windigo, a smaller facility on the far western end of the island.  A typical National Park Service campground will consist of a few shelters (cabin-like structures with one wall of mosquito-proof screen), individual tent sites with a picnic table and group camping sites. There are one or more pit toilets at each facility.  Campgrounds along the shore have a boat dock and overnight boaters are a common sight at the campgrounds.  The waterfront locations also attract many canoeists and kayakers.  Please note that no wells are available so one should plan to bring their own water for the trip.
There are over 170 miles of hiking trails for everything from day hikes to a two week circumnavigation kike with some of the trails having steep grades that are quite challenging. The most popular, best marked and longest single route in the 40 mile Greenstone Ridge Trail that extends down the island’s backbone.  A memorable adventure for the serious hiker.
Just released:

Hiking Captures from the Archives – thewallgalleryblog

As with last weeks post, I have been digging through the archives to find captures that I have not done anything with. That being said, we are jumping back to 2013 in North Bend, Washington. North Bend is on the western side of the Cascade Mountain Range just east of Seattle. The town is nestled in a beautiful valley and is home to numerous hiking trails and some pretty intense ones at that.

Todays captures come from two different trails, the first one is called Little Si and is rated low to intermediate.

I miss the lushness of the Pacific Northwest woods…….

I love the way the sun was shining through the forest canopy on these moss covered boulders.

The next three captures are from the Twin Falls trail. I have shared numerous shots of the falls, but nothing from the trail to get to them.

via Hiking Captures from the Archives — thewallgalleryblog



Scratch off map – National Parks

Hike & Go Seek – Orchard Beach State Park

Orchard Beach State Park 3 by Joshua Young.png
Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan in Manistee Township, Manistee County, Michigan……Orchard Beach State Park is a public recreation area covering 201 acres just north of the city Manistee which has a beach, campground and hiking trails.
The park dates back to 1892 when it first opened and was developed by the Manistee, Filer City and Eastlake Railway  Company.  The site was purchased by the Manistee Board of Commerce after the company stopped trolley service to the park and then became part of the Michigan state park system in 1921.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was active in the park during the 1930’s and Corps efforts included the construction of several limestone structures including a pump house, pavilion, line house and toilet.  In 2009 the park was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places having been cited as “one of the most intact examples of a Michigan state park developed in the 1930’s and 1940’s under National Park Service guidelines.
In 2019 it was reported that erosion caused by high water levels on Lake Michigan threatened the park’s historic pavilion with destruction.  The pavilion stands only 50 feet from the edge of the bluff.  High water had covered the sandy beach at the base of the bluff below the pavilion since 2017 and the stairway built to access the beach from the pavilion led straight into the high waters of Lake Michigan.
As for activities and amenities the park offers swimming, fishing, three miles of hiking trails, picknicking facilities and a 166 site campground.

Hiking Trails in Michigan: Featuring the North Country Trail

The N.C.T. or generally known as the North Country Trail is a footpath stretching over 4,600 miles from Central Vermont (Middlebury) to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota connecting both the Long Trail with the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Passing through eight states….it is the longest of eleven National Scenic Trails that combine for a total of 3,129 miles to explore.
The trail begins in Vermont and proceeds to the western end of the state….cutting across northwestern Pennsylvania then follows southwest through the hilly region of southern Ohio until in gets near Cincinnati turning north through western Ohio on to the hills of southeast Michigan.  It continues from southeast Michigan through the western Lower Penisula, crosses the Straits of Mackinac and takes a northern route through the Upper Penisula.  After crossing northern Wisconsin, one leg follows the shores of Lake Superior onwards to the northeast corner of Minnesota before turning west where it meets the other leg in central northern Minnesota.  The trail enters southeast North Dakota and continues to its other termination point in the center of the state.
The NCT also threads its way through 57 state parks and state historic areas, 47 state forests, 22 state game areas, seven water conversation districts and at least ten county forests and parks.  Several hundred miles of trail will eventually cross private land thanks to owners who have granted easements across their property.
There are about 10,000 people involved with the NCT either through membership in the North Country Trail Association or membership in one of eight organizations affiliated with the NCTA.

New England’s Crown Jewel: Acadia National Park Near Bar Harbor, Maine — Travels with Bibi

With the warmer weather and states opening up after long months of social distancing, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite regions of the United States – the highest rocky headlands of Maine and Acadia National Park, located near the city of Bar Harbor. I traveled to Maine right after my Kilimanjaro […]

via New England’s Crown Jewel: Acadia National Park Near Bar Harbor, Maine — Travels with Bibi


A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Hike & Go Seek – Theodore Roosevelt National Park

A030, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, USA, 2001.jpg

Theodore Roosevelt National Park:  North Dakota

This park was named for the U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and is comprised of three main areas of land in North Dakota: The park covers a total of 70,446 acres spread out over the North Unit, the South Unit and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit.  The only U.S. national park actually named after a person, the park drew over 749,389 visitors in 2018.
Way back in 1883, President Roosevelt first came to North Dakota to hunt bison and during that first short trip he fell in love with the local area.  Here he had fallen for the rugged lifestyle and terrain along with the perfect freedom of the West.  He invested $14,000 into his first ranch called the Maltese Cross Ranch and soon after started his second ranch called the Elkhorn Ranch which is located some 35 miles north of Medora.  Roosevelt took great interest in his ranches as places to seek solitude and to enjoy hunting in the West.  He has written three books detailing his adventures which had alot to do in developing his attitude and opinions regarding conservation policies for land out West.
Both main units of the park have scenic drives, approximately 100 miles of foot and horse trails, wildlife viewing and many spots for back country hiking and camping.  The three developed campgrounds include Juniper Campground in the North Unit; Cottonwood Campground in the South Unit; and the Roundup Group Horse Campground in the South Unit.
Rainbow over the badlands

The badlands in winter

Wildlife viewing is one of the more popular attractions to do while at the park.  People from all walks of life come to view the local bison which can be dangerous so visitors are advised to view them from a safe distance.
The park is very popular for horseback riding and back country hiking.  Permits for back country camping may be obtained at the North Unit and South Unit Visitor Centers.  Over 100 miles of trail make it a fine hiking park, though water and shade are limited along trails. The park units are mostly surrounded by Forest Service grasslands. The area has very dark night skies with excellent star gazing and occasional northern lights. 

Rewild through Birding

White and Black Birds Piercing on Tree Branch

“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become park of the silence” – Robert Lund

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. 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.


12X50 High Power Magnification

Shallow Focus Photography of Gray and Orange Bird

The early interest in observing birds for their aesthetic rather than utilitarian (mainly food) value is traced to the late 18th century in the works of Gilbert White, Thomas Bewick, George Montagu and John Clare   The study of birds and natural history in general became increasingly prevalent in Britain during the Victorian Era, often associated with collection, eggs and later skins being the artifacts of interest. Wealthy collectors made use of their contacts in the colonies to obtain specimens from around the world. It was only in the late 19th century that the call for bird protection began leading to the rising popularity of observations on living birds. The Audubon Society was started to protect birds from the growing trade in feathers in the United States while the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds began in Britain.


1000 Piece Wooden Puzzle

  • Bird watching develops patience. …
  • Bird watching will get your children to go outside. …
  • Bird watching allows for introspection and contemplation. …
  • Bird watching can improve cardiovascular health. …
  • Bird watching gives you an excuse to travel. …
  • Bird watching builds a sense of community. …
  • Bird watching quickens reflexes.

Bird Quotes - Quotations about Birds - Famous Quotes - Funny Cartoons

“I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes” – Charles Lindbergh

Birding in North America was focused in the early and mid-20th century in the eastern seaboard region, and was influenced by the works of Ludlow Griscom and later Roger Tory Peterson. Bird Neighbors (1897) by Neltje Blanchan was an early birding book which sold over 250,000 copies. It was illustrated with color photographs of stuffed birds.

Here is a great resource if you like birding:  

  National Geographic Birds