Monday, October 25, 2010

Off The Beaten Path

Bunny here at the keyboard since Mom's back to work today. 

To distract myself from that sad thought, I thought I'd share our hike from Saturday with you.  This time we went to Sand Ridge State Forest.  I was worried in the morning that we wouldn't get to go, since it was raining like crazy, but it let up and off we went.  It was pretty cool, because we were just about the only ones hiking there today, and it really felt like we were taking a stroll through the woods instead of walking on a marked trail like some of the places we've been.  

What's unusual about this place is that it's a huge sand ridge, right in the middle of Illinois.  They say that thousands of years ago, a glacier up in Wisconsin melted and pushed the sand down here.  It's unique in our state, that's for sure.  Back in 1939, the state bought this tract of land to try building an experimental forest.  They wanted to see if trees could grow in the sandy soil.  I'm here to tell you that they can.  Those trees are huge!  The pine trees are sometimes used for needs by the state and the oak trees are used for safe firewood.  They are being very careful to try not to get Emerald Ash Borers here in our area.

I have to tell you that hiking uphill in wet sand is not easy.  Being a hearty little Greyhound, though, I forged on.  I did let Mom go ahead of me, though, and clear the trail a bit.  I am still a princess on the inside, you know.   Anyroo, we trekked on and it was definitely worth the climb to the top of the ridge.  The view was amazing.

A turkey must have thought it was a good idea to use the trail, too, since we saw his footprints in the sand.  Morgan and I were hoping maybe we could get things all set for Thanksgiving dinner, but that wily bird stayed out of our sight.  I know he was out there nearby, though.  Actually, there were a lot of animals nearby, because we heard a lot of rustling in the trees.  We were glad to have our bright colored backpacks, too, because there were a few hunters out, but we only heard gunshots once from far off in the distance.  

It was almost like the forest was deserted, and at times, it was a little spooky.  Mom told us a few stories about Goofy Ridge, which is pretty close by, and I sure had my eyes open.  Let's just say that lots of strange things happen there.  At one point, it looked like an enchanted forest, which I have to admit was pretty cool.  The sun just kept darting in and out and changing things.

There are some unusual plants that grow in the forest, too.  These are plants that normally grow in desert areas.  Many people come looking for the prickly pear cacti that grow here.  There are also badger, silvery bladderpod and pocket gopher.  There's also a nature preserve nearby where people come to see a lot of different songbirds and butterflies, but dogs and horses aren't allowed in there, so we skipped that small part.

Dad said that this was one of his favorite places that we've hiked so far, so I have my paws crossed that we'll go back.  Mom said she thought it was funny that we've lived so close to it all her life and she didn't know about it.  Grandpa took her to all kinds of state parks when she was a human puppy, but never to that one.  I'm glad that I could expand her horizons   Sometimes going off the beaten path can be lots of fun, even if you don't find a turkey!

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  1. Nice hike Bunny.

    And may add what a beauty you are in your hiking vest.

  2. Sounds like a great hike! and I agree with greygirl, your backbacks look great.

    Drools and licks,
    Minnie and Mack

    PeeS:Hu-mom had the same thought, we don't go to half of the state parks in our area, ever. and why not? Life needs to slow down...

  3. you are such a tough little greyhound Bunny :)

  4. You and Morgan sure make quite a picture together! :) Looks like such a great place. Lovely photos and it's always great to go somewhere new. Sounds like you had a good time.

  5. We are sorry your mom is back at work Bunny, thank dogness you can work the computer keyboard - our paws are just too big!
    We loved the pic of your hike - you know that is just our kind of hike. We so love the woods and especially in Autumn.
    You and Morgan look very striking in your vests too.
    We have not seen any dogs wearing those in the UK.
    Martha and Bailey xxx

  6. What stunning scenery! We would love to have somewhere like that to walk over here. But I'd have to leave Frankie home as he pulls like a Malamute on the lead, lol. He'd probably have dragged me after the turkey! And want to go find the hunters. You and Morgan look like a pleasure to take on a hike:-)

  7. Thanks for taking us on a wonderful journey around your hike!
    Those were some really beautiful pictures there!!

  8. bunny, this was quite an adventure, i guess. i hope you enjoyed the trip. the pics are just fab. must have been such a greyt day with your pack!

  9. The photos are great and it sounds like a most interesting hike. Spooky is just right for the season, too!

    lotsa licks, Lola

  10. What great fall scenes. Amazing to think of cactii that far north.

  11. Wow Bunny,

    It sure is a great place. Tank youz fur sharing it wif us today. :)

    WOofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  12. Look like a another terrific hike!
    Beautiful pictures and models of course,
    sorry the turkey didn't want to come out and play:)

  13. What a beautiful park - looks like the perfect place for a hike. Too bad you didn't get to bag a turkey :)

    Pugs & Kisses,

    Yoda & Brutus

  14. Bunny, it's good to let your Mom go first on hikes to clear away the spider webs. Our Mama almost swallowed a spider web once. She coughed for hours. LOL

    Jack & Scout

  15. Wow you do live on the edge, hunters blimmey,I think I'd want a bullet proof vest on!!
    Thanks for showing us
    See Yea George xxx

  16. That sounds like a perfect Sunday hike. And, you even almost met a turkey! They're big, you know. You might not want to wrestle with one...

    The light in the photo of the golden field is surreal.

    Sorry that mom is back to work but it sounds like you had fun during her break!

  17. It really does look like the enchanted forest. Perfect for a princess on the inside like you, Bunny!

    Your pal, Pip

  18. You have a pink backpack?!?! What the crap mom! Why is mine blue! Huff! Oh well, you and Morgan look great in yours. Isn't hiking AWESOME?!?!

    And I've chased turkey's before, they're fun to chase, but then they fly away. Boo. Maybe we can make a Diva Turkey Hunting Club!! :)

  19. That looks like our kind of hiking, and perfect weather to do it! Wonder if they make those backpacks small enough for a Frenchie....

    Brutus & Carmen

  20. What a great hike you girls had! Thanks for taking us along!

  21. That's a pretty place! I love that big red bush! You guys are great backpackers!

  22. What a great walk, we did the "sand" thing too and went to the Dunes for a walk during the weekend. What fun we get to have, huh?

  23. Great Hike,Bunny.
    Lovely pictures too:)
    Yeah, it always happens...u stay close by some place nice and never go visit. We live near a very famous fort people come from miles away to visit and we haven't yet made it there!
    Hav a great week:)
    wags, Bud n Gin

  24. We love you enchanted forest. It sure is beautiful. We have rain here too, glad it stopped so you were able to go on your adventure.
    Benny & Lily

  25. Thanks for sharing your fun weekend hike with us, Bunny. We love learning all the interesting tidbits you have to share. There is worry here too about those ash borers, hope they can figure out how to keep them away. We see a couple of wild turkeys on our walks, but they always run away very quickly when they see us coming:(

    Have a great week.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  26. I love your backpacks. I keep meaning to get Shiva one of those but the stores rarely seem to have her size. Maybe the next time I'm there, because I think you guys look just stellar.

    Well, that, and I'm lazy. It'd be nice if she could carry her own poop bags for a change!

  27. What a pawesome hike!

    Thanks fur sharing the story about the place too!

    We hope woo will get to go bakhk again and maybe get that turkey too!

    Khyra and The Golden Khousins

  28. Hi Bunny and all,
    I wish I could see the pictures but Blogger is not happy with me today and is not loading all the pics but sometime it does load one!!!!!! I should be Happy with that!! We live on 3 acres of oak trees and pine trees. That is what we walk in everyday of the year!! Rain or shine, cold or hot!!!!
    Yes my Tom is home!!! He has the best looking scare that I have ever seen!!! So happy!
    XXOO, Bambi & Fern

  29. I love when we get to tag along with your walks! Looks like a super fun hike! And, as always, I love your packpacks!

  30. What a cool hike in such a fascinating landscape built on sand! Weird, but soooo glad you brought us along! Love the meadow on top and the turkey prints! And the views are just lovely. That trail looks like it leads to some enchanted place - you are right! But you doggehs are the prettiest of all! Love the pink backpack!
    Hugs xoxoxo
    Sammie and Avalon

  31. What a wonderful hike you had! And in such a beautiful place!! You all are strong doggies to make it through that wet sand.


  32. I am sure thinking about your pawesome walkie there made the time go faster waiting for your mom to come home!
    I loved all the pictures!
    Kisses and hugs

  33. What a great hike! I love the fall colors. You look smashing in your pack!

  34. Bunny,
    I think that park looks just PAWSOME! It is kinda eerie, though, in some of da fotos, butt that makes it pawfet fur Halloweenie Week!!


  35. YA fall is the BEST time to hike. But whoa, watch out for those gun shots *shivers* Scary guys! <3 Miss Kodee @Bark'n About

  36. Nice hike! Fall is such a great time to be in the woods (orange vest for Joy so she's not mistaken for a deer!). There are lots of turkeys this year it seems, so maybe you'll get your Thanksgiving dinner next time Bunny :)

  37. My mom neffur hearded of that park either. Must be a sekrit park in Illinois. I could has told them trees grow in sand coz in southern Noo Joisey it do be all sand and there be lots of trees. But then nobody from Illinois effur asked me. Furry kewl hike and I is glad the rains stopped fur you.


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