Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Palos hike

It was the first beautiful day for a few days, and my start date is April 5, so I went for a nice hike today. I had brought some food down to my ailing grandma, who had a fall last week. The Cap Sauers and Swallow Cliff Loop in the Palos / Sag Valley Forest Preserve is on the way home, so I decided to go for it.

The hike as planned is almost five miles, but I hadn't been out for a few days and I was ready for another adventure. The first part of the hike was flat, and for some reason about 35 high school boys ran by in a group. I would guess they were the Carl Sandburg or Lincoln Way North track team?

After a little over a half mile, you come upon something I remember doing as a kid: the huge toboggan slide staircase. Tons of people are there every day going up and down it for exercise, and it sure is good exercise. I was almost winded. The hill is now used for sledding (see the slope on the right side of the photo) and the toboggan run isn't there anymore. The way I remember it as a kid, the toboggan slope seemed nearly vertical, so it's not like I was ever going tobogganing anyway. (You can view old photos of the toboggan slide here.)

After that, I strolled through some oak forests and marshes. Some of them looked like the forest grove from the Nightmare Before Christmas, but they were still oddly beautiful.

After a while, I made a wrong turn somewhere, which allowed me to see a deer, but apparently added something like a mile and a half to the hike - and forced me to walk on 111th Avenue. (Not very scenic.) Can you find my deer friend in this photo?

Anyway, I was pretty upset that I got "lost" again, and also kind of achy from doing a 6.5-mile hike. Also, because I made the wrong turn, I missed the thing that makes this forest preserve special (other than being the largest roadless tract in Cook County) - an "esker," a.k.a. a raised glacial ridge. I guess I'll have to go back with Dave, maybe when the forest is green again.

The weather should hold out for the rest of the week, so I guess I should pick a hike for tomorrow!

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