Saturday, March 30, 2019

March 17, 2019 Our St. Patrick's Day Hike at Snow Covered Sweet Woods

I love the change of seasons. Even though I work outside for my job, I love winter. But I am sick and tired of winter by mid March. Early this morning a heavy wet snowfall was clinging to everything it landed on. The photographer in me loves winter scenes like this morning. The old man who no longer wants to see snow anymore wants to stay inside until it reaches 60 degrees. But the old man pictured above is thrilled that it is snowing and is giving me that "let's go hiking somewhere in the snow" look. Since there is an increasing chance Oslo may not make it to next winter....

....we arrive at Sweet Woods for a hike in this monochromatic winter wonderland.

It really is a beautiful morning for a hike with all the trees covered with snow.

The Cook County Forest Preserve paved this trail about five years ago. It now connects to the Old Plank Road Trail in Park Forest. 

So I can bike from Lansing Woods to Joliet without riding on a street.

This bridge was added when this former horse trail was paved.

A girl and her dog enjoying a walk in the woods.

Thorn Creek is running high and muddy due to all the rain we've had recently.

We weren't the first ones on the trail this morning.

I love this dog and the lady holding the leash is alright too.

We walked along some of the mountain bike trails too. They all loop back to the main trail.

These are all full color pictures except one. But now I can't remember which one I converted to B&W.

Nola & I fell behind because we took the mountain bike trails.

This rope swing had a tire on it years ago. I didn't swing out over the creek this morning.

This impressive bridge over the train tracks in Thornton was also added when the CCFP decided to pave the trail and connect it to Forest Preserves in Thornton and Chicago Heights.

We had to convince Oslo to turn around and head back toward the car.

Nola & I left the two old timers on the paved trail...
...and hiked along another mountain bike loop trail.

Chrissy & Oslo joined us on another loop trail along Thorn Creek. Oslo looks so happy out here.

So does Nola but she doesn't love the snow like Oslo does.

Break time for Oslo to clear the snow from his paws.

Oslo cooling down the under carriage.

Oslo limps in the house but out here he has no trouble climbing up the ravine.

Meanwhile, Nola has snowballs on her feet.

Nola hears something across the creek.

The snow stopped early in our hike. By the end the sun was breaking through the clouds. 

Oslo must have sensed the snow would not last the day. He sat in the shaded part of our yard until all the snow melted. Happy Snow Patrick's Day my four legged friend.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

March 16, 2019 My First Urban Nerd Herd Hike at the Indiana Dunes State Park

I found this group hike on Facebook last night. I shared the post because I love hiking at the dunes and this group made it a St. Patrick's Day hike. Sounded like a good time to me. Then my friend Andrea posted she would like to do the hike also.

So here we are at the Indiana Dunes on a chilly morning meeting up with the Urban Nerd Herd.

Our harsh weather this winter has blown sand into new places.

It is a bit windy but otherwise it's a beautiful morning on the south end of Lake Michigan.

The always stylish Andrea.

Today's hike is listed as Trail 10 on the state park map for the dunes. This trail isn't really a loop by itself. You can start here on the beach or at the Nature Center near the campground. 

Due the wind blowing from the west, the leaders of the group decided to hike the beach portion of the trail first. 

So we had the wind at our backs for the first few miles.

Like most of the beaches in this area, the dune erosion has been dramatic.

The group would be spread out along the way. Then get back together for a short rest. 

The state park has some really big dunes along the beach.

The UNH ambassador, Sampson. I'm pretty sure that is his name.

We met so many great people on this hike.

A rest stop on the beach.

The waves were rolling in throughout our hike. 

The last remnants of the shelf ice were found on the east end of the beach.

I am pretty sure this will be the last shelf ice I will see until next winter.

These small pieces have been thrown by the waves or blown by the wind onto the beach.

Trail 10 heads into the dunes and the forest at the east end of the state park.
It was climbing up the dune that I was introduced to a 92 year old lady on the hike. Someone pointed her out to me. And yes, she was further up the dune than I was. Nothing but respect and admiration from me to her. 

It felt much warmer once we got out of the wind.

It's rare to see a Decay Devil without a camera as proven by Andrea and me.

The hike through the woods was nice but very monochromatic.

The blue sky and sunshine were fantastic to see. It's been a very gray year so far.

We hiked back on Trail 10... the Nature Center.

Then hiked on Trail 7 back to the beach.

The views of Lake Michigan from the top of the dunes are beautiful on days like this one.

Once we were on the beach, it was a short hike back to the parking lot.

I had a blast hiking with the Urban Nerd Herd group today. The hike was between 7 and 8 miles today according to several people who have apps that track these things. Between taking photos and talking with quite a few members of the group, the time just flew by.