Thursday, March 18, 2010

First hike of the season

While I'm waiting to start my job at the Cook County Circuit Court, I've got some free time this week. Being that the weather has been so lovely, I decided to crack open my new book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Chicago.

Dave and I bought this book about two weeks ago in a frenzy of excitement about the upcoming spring. I had flipped through it then, and today I picked out the second hike in the book, located only a few miles from our apartment: the Crabtree Nature Center Hike.

The hike is located just off of Palatine Road, and it consists of basically two loops: one loop around a prairie area, and one loop around a marshy area. The above photo is from the marshy area, clearly, but it is still frozen despite the more than 60-degree weather!

The first part of the hike is called the Phantom Prairie Trail, and you can see why - all the bare trees are sort of spooky, in a Sleepy Hollow kind of way. I'll have to keep in mind to do this hike again in October.

The lovely prairie was very even hiking and had some lovely soft colors that reminded me of Bob Ross paintings.

I only saw a handful of other people on the hike, which was nice. Some parts were really muddy, but I came away mostly clean. Near the end of the hike, I saw some beautiful oak trees that I know will look really awesome when they're full of leaves in the summertime.

At the very end, near the nature center, were some cages for large birds. Here's the red hawk:

Ohhh boy, was he ever hopping around like he wanted to peck me to death. I do not think he appreciated having to sit there as squishy prey like me was taking pictures. The center also has a turkey vulture and a horned owl.

It was a great hike, and it certainly felt good to get out and do a three-mile walk instead of just sitting at home (or in an office). I can't wait to go on other local ones with Dave, as well as some day trips that are farther away. So, thumbs up on the hiking book!

No comments: