Friday, March 19, 2010

Deer Grove hike

Well, tomorrow might be the first day of spring, but allegedly it's going to be pretty horrid. Thus, I managed to squeeze in another hike before the cold sets in tonight.

This time it was the aptly named Deer Grove forest preserve loop trail, which is about as far from my house as yesterday's hike (10 minutes).

In the first five minutes, no joke, I saw a deer. Here he is!

I was astonished that he didn't run away, but even more astonished when he got onto the trail and started following me.

He followed me for about two minutes before we ran into some other hikers, and he veered off the trail. The other hiker asked, "Did you see that deer?" It's like, uhh, yeah, it's hard not to notice a 150-lb. deer fawn following me.

The rest of the walk was quieter, and I only saw a few squirrels (and a human now and then). The woods were very still and quiet, with a creek or semi-frozen marsh thrown in every now and then.

I even saw some mounds of sticks that looked like beavers set them up, although I'm sure they were man-made.

Toward the end of the hike, I suddenly smelled burning leaves, reminding me eerily of fall. I then saw that the forest preserve staff were doing a slow burn on the forest floor, clearing away some of the leaves.

I bet if we come back later this spring, there will be some good morels here!

Well, it was supposed to be a 5.6-mile hike, but I had to cut it short because the trail at the 2.6-mile point was too muddy. The trails in the Deer Grove loop are color-coded, and while I had no problem on the orange trail (which is paved), the yellow trail (which is gravel) was pretty soggy, and the black trail, where I stopped, was just plain muddy and sloppy.

So I cut the walk short at about 3.5 miles instead, and I figured I could come back with Dave and do the full 5.6 miles when it is nice and dry. But I was glad to get out today, as I don't know when it will be in the 60s again. Maybe I can introduce Dave to my little deer friend...

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