August 18, 2012
Visit to Crystal Cove State Park (Laguna Beach, California)
Sites for more information:
- Park Website
- Hiking Map
- Beaches information (from the park site)
- Crystal Cove Alliance (groups working on preserving the entire area)
- Corey's Photos on flickr
This July, I visited Southern California for a short trip to accompany the Mrs. attending and working at the Barbie Convention in Anaheim. One day during our trip, we decided to visit the Pacific Ocean near Laguna Beach and decided on Crystal Cove State Park. This is an amazing place to visit and should be on everyone's short list if they are going to Southern California. We wanted to hike in the highlands as well as make it to the beach, but we did not have a chance. We also missed out on the historic district, where the small bungalows from the 1920s and later still look today as they did when they were built. While we only hiked on the beach - it was fantastic.
We entered the park at the Pelican Point Entrance off the Pacific Coast Highway (see the map here) and found great parking areas with modern facilities. The area to the south of this is where most of the swimming seems to take place, so this area is nice and sparsely populated. Here are the facilities near the parking area:
The walkway to the beach was spectacular and gave you a great view of the cliffs and the waves. This was fairly easy walking, you can gauge the steepness of the drop:
The walk on the beach includes some great rock formations. While it was possible to do barefoot - it would have been nice at times to have water shoes.
There was a fair amount of wildlife by the water. We saw a number of salamanders & lizards:
Pelicans (I missed some good shots...oh well)
And lots of Seagulls
We walked along the water until we reached Little Treasure Cove. This was spectacular. Not only did it feature beautiful rock formations, there were lots of crabs that were living in the crevasse of the rocks.
If you get a chance to visit, be sure to leave more time and make it to the Historic District. For the $15 State of California daily parking pass - it is well worth the visit. The beauty of the scenery and the crashes of the waves of the beautiful beach make for a perfect way to spend a day.
June 24, 2012
Visit to Danada Forest Preserve (Wheaton, Illinois)
Sites for more information:
In May of this year, I had the opportunity to visit Lombard, Illinois - a suburb of Chicago. This trip, I wanted to visit some of the parks in the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. On Sunday May 20, 2012, I visited Danada Forest Preserve in Oak Brook, Illinois. This beautiful park provides some great walking trails and a beautiful horse farm as well. From the Forest Preserve web site, we learn that Danada was the former home of Daniel and Ada Rice, Chicago philanthropists and the owner of the 1965 Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair, who lived there. The name of the farm is their first two names (Dan and Ada) pushed together. Today, the "...preserve is the home of Danada Equestrian Center, which is surrounded by 783 acres of rolling terrain that encompass wetlands, woodlands and prairies."
While the Danada Equestrian Center is wonderful if you have a horse, there is plenty to do there if you are on foot or bicycle. The grounds are beautiful and there are great trails to the east of the Equestrian Center. The Danada-Herrick Lake Regional Trail is a beautiful walk in the woods that nearly touches Rice Lake. The walk was wonderful and under shade for a good part. Be sure the follow the Nature Trail as it circles in the thick woods just east of the Equestrian Center. As you move closer to Rice Lake, you find yourself out in the open. At Rice Lake, there are numerous types of birds including Geese, herons, waterfowl, etc.
On the Sunday morning that I arrived, there were relatively few people at Danada. This made for a nice quiet hike on the grounds. This is definitely another great park to visit if you are in DuPage County, west of Chicago. There is ample parking and there is no cost for visitors to the park. The Visitor Gardens and Equestiran Center provide drinking water and restrooms, so that is a nice part of the visit.Parks
June 18, 2012
Visit to Crosswinds Marsh Wetlands Interpretive Preserve (Sumpter Township, Michigan)
Websites for more information:
- Wayne County Parks Website for Crosswinds Marsh
- Crosswinds Marsh page on MichiganTrailMaps.com
- Crosswinds Marsh Trail Map on MichiganTrailMaps.com
- Case Study from Smithgroup JJR who designed the wetlands in 1990s
- Corey's Photos on flickr
During the past two years, I have visited Crosswinds Marsh, a beautiful nature preserve located south of Detroit Metro Airport in Sumpter Township (Wayne County, Michigan). This is a fantastic jewel in Southeastern Michigan and one that I will visit over and over. Here is a background on the park from the Sumpter Township website (http://www.sumptertwp.com/Crosswinds_Marsh.html):
"Crosswinds Marsh is one of the largest man-made wetlands in the country. It was built to replace the wetlands that were going to be paved over to expand Wayne County's Detroit Metro Airport. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality required the airport to move away any threatened or endangered plants and animals and create one-and-a-half acres of new wetlands for every one-acre impacted by the construction."
I love this park and I will make sure that I am a regular visitor. I visited twice - on Saturday July 16, 2011 and on an unseasonably warm winter day on Saturday February 4, 2012. They have well laid out walking trails including many that cross the marsh. Waterfowl are abundant, including swans and geese. There are also eagles that are spotted down at Crosswinds Marsh. Both times I visited the Marsh, I walked on the Bluegill and Bald Eagle trails. These are well marked and very pleasant way to exercise and take in the beauty of nature in Southeastern Michigan. Next time I go, I will take in the Blue Heron Trail that circles to the north of the Marsh and some of the other smaller trails. While the trails are well marked - there are few maps once you are out on the trails. Even places just to be sure you know where you are. So it is definitely a good idea of print out one of the maps before you visit.
Speaking of being prepared - there are not many amenities there - the facilities constitute a 'porta-john' and not much else. Also, there is not much around the immediate area - so it is good to be prepared. Even without the amenities - plan on spending at least two hours here walking through the beautiful park.
Here are some photos from Crosswinds Marsh from my two visits there:
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June 05, 2012
A visit to Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve (Oak Brook, Illinois)
Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve (Oak Brook, Illinois)
Sites for more information:
In May of this year, I had the opportunity to visit Lombard, Illinois - a suburb of Chicago. This trip, I wanted to visit some of the parks in the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. On May 18, 2012, I visited Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve in Oak Brook, Illinois. This beautiful park provides some great walking trails that are great for getting out into Nature and bird watching. From the Forest Preserve web site, we learn that Fullersburg Woods first opened in 1920 and served as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The Visitor Center serves as the home for the Nature Education Center. The building was built by the CCC and provides nice exhibits that promote"... an understanding of humankind’s impact on natural ecosystems and the environment – on the local level and globally."
Fullersburg Woods Visitor Center
The beautiful tall trees provide nice shade for the hiking trails that circle the park. I concentrated on the trails north of the visitor center. The trail I walked was the Wildflower Trail, which "showcases many native species of wildflowers." The walk is very peaceful and level, making it accessible for a wide variety of visitors. Towards the west side of the Preserve, the terrain gets modestly hilly. While I did not travel south of the center, they have paths that lead to the Guaue Mill and Museum (on York Road).
Wildflowers along the trails
Wood Duck on Salt Creek
Birds a plenty at the Park (Gray Catbird - pretty sure)
It was a beautiful day at Fullersburg Woods and even with a fair number of people around, it was relatively quiet. This allowed us to view the wildlife and take some time during our walk for reflection. This is definitely a great park to visit if you are in DuPage County, west of Chicago. There is ample parking and there is no cost for visitors to the park.
Quiet Walk at the ParkParks