Sunday, December 30, 2007

Waterfall Glen in Winter Field Trip

Yesterday I took a road trip to beautiful Waterfall Glen, located in Darien, IL., part of the DuPage County Forest Preserves. This mega forest preserve and hiking Disneyland is the land all around Argonne National Laboratory, made available by the federal government to DuPage County in 1973. The land is a total of 2,488 acres and contains a main hiking/biking trail of 9.5 miles!!! Argonne National Laboratory is a nuclear energy research center that claims, "Argonne is not and never has been a weapons laboratory." Even so I admit, sometimes a little creepy, I think there's radiation all around...but I know there's not. I hope. If I start to glow, somebody give me a heads up!

Here is the beginning of our trail by one of the parking areas. Doesn't it remind you of Morton Arboretum's Spruce plot? It does for me.
Today is a cool 30 degrees with a bit of a wind, completely cloudy with some flurries.
I do not know the total history of this area, whether these were planted by man or natural, probably the first. Right by these pines there is a small creek and it looks as if someone did some restoration because there were several large twig mounds all over the place.
Well, that made it bird heaven! I stayed here for about 20 minutes while being visited by several chickadees, sparrows with stripes on their heads, downy and hairy woodpeckers, also cardinals.

Here it is, 5 more minutes of walking and you arrive at the waterfall. It's beautiful even in the winter time! I love the sounds of the falls, even though these falls aren't very large they still are loud. See video below.

This is a man made waterfall created by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. It provided work for many unemployed men and we are still enjoying it today. Thanks guys!

Oooo, let's zoom in on some icicles hanging off the stones. Chilly Willy. Awesome!
Speaking of stones, this area was mined for it's rich dolomite limestone and used to build the Chicago Water Tower in the 1860's by builder, Edwin Walker. How's that for a history lesson!

What's by the water? Why it's bittersweet! Boy did these colors stick out, let me tell you! Everywhere you look it's white, gray, blue, and brown...then WHAM...bright red and orange! Nice contrast on a winter afternoon.

This is sawmill creek, you can't tell but it's a long, steep way down. I like this picture because you cannot see the sky. Because of that fact the horizon now becomes the edge of the stream. This picture will become a pastel painting one day.

One concerning note...a few feet from this picture there are two large pipes which empty out into the steam. I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture, but it raises a few questions....What comes out of those pipes and leaks into the steam? Hmmm...laboratory grounds......hmmm...don't drink the water!

Any who, here is a 3 minute video I took of the waterfall, panning left, then right, then an upclose of the falls.
Am I glowing yet? Just kidding!!!