Hike & Go Seek – White Pines Forest State Park

White Pines Forest State Park Pine Stand2.JPG

White Pines Forest State Park is an Illinois state park in Ogle County, Illinois, which is a 385 acre park that contains the southernmost remaining stand of native white pine trees in the state of Illinois designated an Illinois Nature preserve in 2001.  The park contains two freshwater streams, dolomite rock formations and a variety of activities generally associated with Illinois state parks.
Among the park’s most distinctive and well known features are the vehicular river crossings.  At three places, crossing Pine Creek, fords were constructed instead of bridges.  The fords offer visitors a chance to actually drive through the creek, though high water frequently closes the crossings.  Hikers are relegated to pedestrian bridges or stepping stones in the creek to cross the stream.  Floods are frequent enough on Pine Creek, a large watershed to the north of the park, that there is an emergency exit from the campground.  When high water closes the fords, the campground is cut off and the emergency exit is the only way out.
The banks of Pine Creek and Spring Creek are lined with large rock and cliff formations that provide habitat to plants ranging from large trees to moss to hanging vines.  The forest undergrowth provides small mammal habitats and among the mammals that can be seen include red squirrels, raccoons, deer and chipmunks.  The creeks are populated with smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish and , when they are stocked by the IDNR, rainbow trout.
The park is Illinois’ third oldest and has become one of the state’s most visited parks hosting over 350,000 visitors each year.  During the warmer months picknicking, camping, lodging, hiking and fishing are available.  The lodge and cabins are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Books you might like:

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson


Wild: From Lost to Found


Whispers in the Wilderness


And just released last month by Scott Stillman…Nature’s Silent Message


Nature’s Silent Message

Hike & Go Seek – Fort Sheridan

Woman in White Shirt and Black Pants Walking on Pathway in Between Trees

Fort Sheridan is a residential neighborhood located within the cities of Highwood, Lake Forest and Highland Park, Illinois.  It was originally established as Fort Sheridan, an Army post named after the Civil War cavalry general Philip Sheridan to honor his services to Chicago.
There is a forest preserve that is operated by Lake County Forest Preserves which includes 250 acres of the former fort.  The preserve has roughly 4.5 miles of hiking trail, 3.7 miles of trail for cross country skiing and 1.3 miles of trail for biking.   The preserve also includes 0.75 miles of shoreline property alongside Lake Michigan. Throughout the preserve there are educational exhibits and viewing stations along the trails.
In 1984 parts of Fort Sheridan were designated a National Historic Landmark District by the National Park Service who stated that the site “possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.”  The historic districts includes 230 acres of land and buildings which include officers’ quarters, barracks, stables, a drill hall, water tower and many other institutional buildings.  Also there is the 54 acre parade ground which was preserved as open space. (wiki)

Nature’s Silent Message

America’s Best Day Hikes

The Divide – A 2700 Mile Search for Answers