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Showing posts from October, 2016

SOAR Program

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Yesterday, October 29th, 2016, I had the pleasure of watching a presentation by SOAR Illinois at Starved Rock. SOAR stands for Save Our American Raptors. Needless to say, I was in for a treat-- they came with six rescued birds to show off. Using my phone, I was taking notes on the presentation. As we all know, sometimes technology can backfire on us... I lost my notes! Regardless, I remember quite a bit about these intriguing birds.
The Owls      The first owl they showed us was none other than a Great Horned Owl. She was so lovely looking-- I was glad to see her up close! I learned that these cool owls eat a lot of skunks, as they don't really have a sense of smell. Also, one of their ears are slightly higher on the head than the other, which improves their ability to hear and pinpoint prey.      Next we saw a beautiful Barred Owl. I don't remember too much about him, other that his name was Patrick. Barred Owls' eyes are very dark and almost look like dark hollow ho…

Fall Foliage at Starved Rock

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Well, this year's Fall Colors Weekend at Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois didn't provide an enormous rainbow of autumn colors, but it did serve as a beautiful place to relax on a mild October weekend.

View the video that I recorded on this day
My Day      It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive from home to the park. I arrived about 11:30, which is when I said that I would be there to start volunteering. The last twenty minutes or so of the drive is always pleasant, and this time even more so. The trees and leaves were still so full. They made for a lovely sight going around the twisted roads.       Fall Colors Weekend is the 2nd busiest weekend at Starved Rock, with Columbus Day weekend preceding it. There certainly were a ton of cars-- I was afraid that I would end up parking at a distant overflow lot. I was lucky to snatch up one of the last spots before that lot filled up.      Volunteering     I started off in the visitor center. Spending some time…

Starved Rock Video

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Centennial Trail

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Last Friday, I borrowed my dad's bike and loaded it into the back of my Equinox (this was not an easy task!) and headed over to the Centennial Trail off of 135th St. in Romeoville, Illinois. I only rode three miles out and back, which is a small fraction of this trail and connecting trails. Even if this place isn't the most scenic spot in the world, it is rich in local history and connects with other trails in a cool way.
The Bike Ride      I parked in the small lot on 135th Street, From here, you can go a couple different ways. I chose to head toward the small trail bridge into the wooded area. The paths are nicely paved in this whole stretch. Many cyclists come through here, as well as pedestrians. There are mile markers that say how many miles to the next main location. About a mile in, there is a bench that it nice to relax at and could be a stopping point for a short walk. There is a split at about three miles in, which is where I stopped. You can either continue on …

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

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Now that the school year has started, I'm pretty confined to the northern Illinois area most of the time. With that said, I still need to get my hiking and nature fix! I have found that there are plenty of forest preserves in my area that are worth checking out. Many of these forest preserves I've never been to, so I'm starting a journey in which I will be visiting more of these places.

Navigating
     Anyway, one popular spot that often comes up on my internet searches while looking for places to go is Waterfall Glen forest preserve in DuPage County. Basically, this park surrounds Argonne National Laboratory. I took I-55 to get there and it was only a few minutes off of the expressway. Columbus Day was a very busy day to visit, so I'm not positive if it is always a struggle to find good parking or if it was only because it was a fall holiday weekend. There were a lot of cars parked out on the street. The waterfall parking area was very small, but I was able to sna…

"Grand Canyon of the East" -- Letchworth State Park

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Only about a two hour drive from Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park in New York is a spot of natural beauty that was well worth the trip. For us, this was a stop in between visiting the Adirondacks and heading to Niagara. Since we camped at a New York state campground the previous night, we had a pass that was good for all New York state parks the day we went to Letchworth, so we didn't have to pay the entrance fee for the park.

First Impressions
     Upon entering Letchworth, we were a bit underwhelmed. Soon enough, we noticed that we just entered the park on the "boring" side. We began arriving at the lovely overlooks. Letchworth is kind of a big ol' canyon-- you peer down to see the Genesee River flowing through the park. There were numerous large birds soaring through the canyon. You can see this in action in my YouTube video.
Waterfalls
     We moved on to the decent-sized waterfalls that Letchworth holds. The lower, middle, and upper falls all have good vi…