Winter wilds, and reminiscing

Last weekend I was visiting my mother in the Chicago area again. Although I didn't take photos of the trip this time, I did take a hike into the nearby "Forest Preserve". Some pretty scenes on this balmy day (high of about 60ºF/15ºC), and I got to reminisce a bit too.

The power lines are always interesting, always crackling. This is the view of them before I got into the park, just a block or so away from my childhood home.


I took a stop at the neighborhood park. The pond caught my eye... it's where I learned how to ice skate.

There were just a few cattails along one edge back then, but now it seems skating would be impossible. Where's the water?

A great couple of trees though!

I love winter trees, but I like them more when the buds start to swell a bit like this -- that means that spring is not too far away!

Okay, into the forest preserve itself, with minimal commentary:

The ground was still frozen under a thin layer of melt, so the water had no place to go. (It had been very cold just a week or so earlier, so lots of ice remained)

Lots of underbrush for wildlife cover...

...although they have cleared large sections:

I assume that's because there are a few species that are taking over, like these brambles:

(I call them "brambles" because I really don't know what they are. They seem to have thorns though.)

Also, lots of cedar, which grows like a weed here as well in Missouri:

More winter trees, young sycamores I believe:

I got to the information board, where I could plan my return trip:

I had entered from Mill Road, taking the green walking path. I was currently standing near the circle in the road, by the picnic tables. See that light grey trail that goes to the South and then East, crossing the white "right of way" (where the power lines are)? That's the gravel access road that I took when I left.

It didn't bring me close to this small lake...

...but did take me back through the years. As kids we would come out here to "the field", "the forest", "the swamp", and "the lake". The lake was so far away when we were small that we'd rarely go back there. The "field" was in the area south of the power lines but north of the access road (which was just a dirt trail back then).

A view of the power lines looking to the east (opposite of the view in the first photo):

The "forest" was to the immediate south of the access road, and is where we would build tree "forts" -- essentially just a few boards nailed into a tree. A makeshift ladder, a place to sit and look out over the field.

It's amazing how wild we thought this stretch of trees was when we were children. It seemed we were miles from home, when in fact it's a 5-minute walk.

Ah, that was a fun hike, and my mother was only slightly worried about where I was "for so long".

There were many times in my childhood when the hours we spent out here would cause her to worry helplessly...


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outlawgardener  – (February 23, 2016 at 9:55 AM)  

What a fun trip down memory lane to your childhood wilderness! So many kids today miss out on being able to explore like this.

Renee  – (February 23, 2016 at 10:40 AM)  

It's funny how when you go back to your old stomping grounds, some things change (it really isn't that far away) and some things stay the same (mom is worried you're out too long)!

Mark and Gaz  – (February 23, 2016 at 1:13 PM)  

It's funny how ones thinking as a child compares to when they become adults. Great thing to reminisce and look back!

danger garden  – (February 24, 2016 at 12:39 AM)  

All of that gold combined with the blue skies, breathtaking! I'd love to go explore the 3 acres that I knew every inch of as a kid (my parents house/land at the time). But I don't think the new owners would appreciate that much.

Alan  – (February 24, 2016 at 7:15 AM)  

Peter: I imagine my mom would still let me explore today (if I were still a child I mean) as long as I had a cell phone. That wouldn't be the same though.

Renee: good observation. :)

Mark/Gaz: Indeed. The "forest" was a scary but exciting place when I was young.

Loree: It was a lovely day for sure! You grew up on 3 acres? Your current yard must have been a big adjustment, as amazing as it has become. :)

Hoover Boo  – (February 24, 2016 at 8:52 AM)  

What a wonderful place for little boys to explore. Happy times. Thanks for a lovely post.

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