A Plogging We Will Go:
It’s only been one day since our adventure at Midewin (Mih-DAY-win – remember the pronunciation from the last blog?) National Tallgrass Prairie and we’re back at it again. This time, our adventures take us to the Chipilly Woods in Northbrook, Illinois. And, we had a special guest Trail Tracer; our daughter! Before we get started, following are a couple of pictures of the Chipilly Woods.
A couple of things to note:
· There isn’t a parking lot at the Chipilly Woods. The best place to park is at the bend on Grant Road (accessing Grant Road off of either Lee Road or Voltz Road) and there is only space for a few cars.
· The trail isn’t a loop. I repeat – the trail isn’t a loop. After entering the woods at Grant Road, the trail travels for a bit and reaches a fork. Turn right, the trail goes southeast, you’ll go under railroad tracks, and enter the Sunset Ridge Woods. Turn left, the trail goes northwest, and the trail ends at Shermer Road.
But – being the adventurous types that we are, we did end up going in kind of a loop which afforded an unplanned opportunity to go plogging. Never heard of plogging? Well, here’s everything you need to know: Plogging.
After taking a left at the fork and reaching Shermer Road, we backtracked a bit, re-entered the woods and then headed in a northeasterly direction. We continued northeast for a short time, weaving in and among somewhat heavy growth, until we reached an impassable spot. At this point we headed straight north and exited the woods onto Dundee Road where we found an unbelievable amount of garbage between Dundee Road and the edge of the woods. Seriously, there was garbage as far as the eye could see going south. I simply don’t understand how people can throw garbage out their car window! Grrrrr!
Well, as if meant to be, my Trail Tracing partner found a huge garbage bag (like what you might find at a construction site) and it was her idea that we do a good-plogging deed for the day. So, we picked up trash along Dundee all the way to the eastern edge of the Chipilly Woods where it abuts the railroad tracks. We then carried the garbage bag until we found a garbage can towards the end of our hike. Hi ho, hi ho – however, I’m sure the sight of us lugging the garbage bag was more along the lines of “Ho, ho, ho”!
At the intersection of the railroad tracks and the edge of the woods, there was trail (of sorts) that took us to the northern edge of the middle fork of the North Branch Chicago River. We traversed along this northern edge all the way to Shermer Road, turned left (traveling southeast for about 100 yards), re-entered the woods on a “real” trail and this took us to a large, open field area at the corner of Grant Road and Lee Road. From there we hoofed it on Grant Road back to the car. Whew! What might have been a 2-3 mile hike had turned into an approximately 5 mile hike.
The best parts – yes, there were best parts – by turning left at the fork (remember, all the way back at the beginning?), we were able to visit Shannon’s Circle. Very simply, Shannon’s Circle is a magical place. Also, kind of spooky, but very cool. Here, take a look.
Also, as with many of the woods and forest preserves north of Chicago, the North Branch of the Chicago River runs through the Chipilly Woods; actually the middle fork of the North Branch. Yup – there’s a middle fork and following is some information about the different branches of the Chicago River.
In the immortal words of Rumi – “It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Well, each of us did the walking on the Chipilly Woods trails, we made some of our own trails, and we ended up doing some good along the way.
find a trail ~ find your path