Herons and Caterpillars:
The next weekend (10/7-8/2017) was less hectic so we decided our next trail tracing experience should be a bit further afield. So, we traveled to Glacial Park Conservation Area in McHenry County. Yes, there were blue herons (I think? If anyone is an “expert”, please chime in as it could have been a green heron but, if you look at the picture below – not now, when you get to it after reading what follows – I think it’s a blue heron.) And, yes, there were caterpillars; very fuzzy caterpillars!
The Glacial Park area was considerably larger than last week’s hike. At more than 3,400 acres, outside of our visit to Moab and the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, it was the largest nature area we had visited so far.
To perhaps help inspire you to visit Glacial Park, you can…canoe and kayak on the Nippersink Creek, fish, go on a tour, picnic, bike (in certain places), cross country ski, bring your horse and ride some of the trails, snowmobile (only in designated areas!), visit a big ‘ol barn (the Wiedrich Barn) and, of course, hike.
Since the parking lot near the trail head where we wanted to start was full, we parked near the Wiedrich Barn (if you like big barns, you should definitely like this one!). We began our hike on the Marsh Loop Trail, which crossed, you guessed it, a large marsh, and saw the blue herons mentioned above.
We continued on the Coyote Loop Trail which allowed us to climb up some camelback kames (imagine that you’re looking off into the distance and you see a group of hills that looks like a caravan of very large camels taking a break). Since you might be asking, “What’s a kame”? Here you go: kame.
On the other side of the kames was Nippersink Creek. As it so happens, if you bring your canoe or kayak, you can spend quite a few hours (the brochure linked above says as many as six hours) exploring the creek. Hmm, maybe I’ll ask for a canoe or kayak for my birthday?
We continued our hike on the Deerpath Trail where, at one point, we came down a hill, the trail made a turn into a wooded area, and we were surprised by a couple of birders who were camped out just inside the tree line. After apologizing for scaring us (I wasn’t scared!), they noted that it was a slow day for bird watching. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I could sit for hours at a time watching for birds, but I do wish that I knew more about the birds in our area. Add that to the list.
After we passed through the wooded area, the Deerpath Trail rose to an overlook area and here’s the marvelous view of the marsh below.
Continuing on the Deerpath Trail brought us back to the Wiedrich Barn and our car. Hey – we took some forks, and we didn’t get turned around or lost! Chalk one up for the trail tracers!
And, lest I forget, here’s a link (since my pictures were horrible) so you can see the very fuzzy caterpillars we saw (woolly bear).
find a trail ~ find your path