Day 184 ~ McDonald Woods Lake Villa, IL

September 25th, 2016 ~ Day 184

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Deciding to go to a place I have never been, I headed over to Lake Villa to do the McDonald Woods Trail, part of the Lake County Forest Preserve. I never knew this trail existed. I can’t tell you how many times I traveled down Grass Lake Road, and I never noticed this preserve.

Growing up here, I never realized how much Lake County has to offer. There are 64 different locations for various outdoor activities, almost all of them include hiking trails. When I lived here I hadn’t discovered hiking, even though I loved the outdoors. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come back to visit and for the opportunity to explore the many places I have never been.

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The flowers are still in full bloom. So many flowers growing along the sides of the trail. A little bit of summer remains before the freezing cold of winter begins. It was a warm day and since I began my hike at noon, the sun was shining brightly.

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The trail began with tightly packed small gravel. It is at least four feet wide. Great for bikes as well as hiking. A nice clean trail. It seems most of the trails I’ve hiked on in the Lake County Forest Preserve are well maintained like this one.

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In the same instance the flowers are still blooming, fall has begun. Little patches of colorful leaves sprung up. Reds, oranges and yellows. Had I been here a week or two later the colors would have been everywhere, but I’ll take what little bit I can get.

I love this picture! The fence, the rocks and the beautiful colors of the leaves all seem to remind me of my childhood.

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After the first mile, I found a decent sized pond. The trail actually cut through the pond with a little bridge. It was a nice change from the desert, where there is no water.

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I found a painted turtle, which I almost stepped on as I was trying to take a picture of the pond. He pulled his head in as I got closer, but at least it was a turtle, and he couldn’t run away fast enough for me to not take a picture.

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Soon after I passed the pond I veered right onto the wood chip trail. Obviously named because that’s what the trail was made of.

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I continued on through the woods and found a creek. Leaves were beginning to fall into the forest floor. The wood chip trail brought me back to the pond and I decided I would just head back to the trailhead. I ended up hiking a little over two miles. It was a beautiful trail, and I’m happy I decided to try a new place.

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