Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's Trail Time! Moraine Valley Nature Study Area 1 of 2

Today's "Trail Time" adventure part 1 of 2, takes us to the Nature Study Area of Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL. This section of trail represents only 1/4th of the study area section. There are two trails I walked, Grassy Trail #1 and Grassy Trail #2. Trail highlights: 100 year old oak tree, observatory and deck, sundial, Queen Anne's Lace (yes, I know it's a weed but I like it still), cattail, tall goldenrod, wildflowers, and pond.

Click on the watercolor map for larger image. Map is not to scale.

Let's begin. I tried to enter the trail off of the campus parking lot, far east on the map, but because of all the rain we've received this section was flooded and I had nothing waterproof with me!

Much too flooded, must go around to the west side or swim.
That's much better! Here you can see that the trail is completely covered in grass. There is the observatory in the distance.

Here is a 100 year old oak tree, this landmark starts our trail. Look at how large it is! The grasses off trail were so large that you cannot get close to it. Better for the tree that way.Here is the observatory deck and sundial. The telescope was built and donated by Tom McCague, retired associate professor and department chair of Biology, and he hosts open viewing nights once a month for the public! Much fun, For more info and calendar click here. The sundial was built and donated by retired professor Roger Carlsen. It's pretty hard to see but it is in the lower right hand corner of the photo, camoed by the deck.
I was here for 2 hours by myself! Peace and tranquillity not a soul around. I'll pick this over a mall anytime. Let's continue on our trail.

Continuing North on Grassy Trail #1 I could feel the moist heat radiating from the grass. With every step I took crickets jumped for their lives. I couldn't believe how many there were. Many wasps were conducting their daily activities pollinating wildflowers, I was careful to avoid them. While two American Goldfinches seemed perturbed that an invader (me) was around. They kept flying overhead, back and forth, frantically chattering. But I didn't mind because at the end of Grassy Trail #1 was this beautiful scene of cattail (top), goldenrod (middle) and boneset (bottom). Many worker bees and wasps shopping for pollen in this section. It is about 50' away from 107th st. So this concludes trail #1, I turned back and began my walk on trail #2, which will be continued tomorrow.

Hope you enjoyed.