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Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Summer of 1993 - After Hours

 So, what did I do with myself after the gates to Wetlands Research, Inc. were locked at 6 pm, or on the weekends? Other than making sure I was caught up on my lab tests, I basically did two things.

One, I started a private herbarium, collecting plants. I've since decided I'd rather just take pictures, but it did help me learn a lot. There was plenty of room in my trailer, since I really only lived in one room, and the other room had two long tables. I learned that several years later, this trailer got taken away by a tornado! Maybe I'll show you some of the herbarium another day. Maybe not. I've got another piece of the summer to share yet.
house trailer

But the primary thing I did in my spare time was take advantage of the Des Plaines River Trail that I've already mentioned.

des plaines river trail sign

The northern terminus of the trail was about 4 miles north of where I was located. To the south it stretches through a string of forest preseves that protect about 76% of the river, and connects with the Cook County Forest Preserve. The trail is continuous all the way to Oak Park, IL. (I think- the maps are clunky.)

Anyway, here's what it looked like going south through "our" property. Yes, it's wide and graveled. It's a multi-use path.
des plaines river trail

This part is flat and open, but it quickly got into the very pleasant oak savannahs I showed you on the day we began this series.

Remember, Chips was a puppy. I was only walking him about 2-3 miles a day. So, I don't think we went more than a couple of miles to the south. But I could never get him tired out. He was a very high-energy dog.

Now we'll switch to a weekend when both Omer and Loretta visited at the same time. Somehow I talked both of them into taking a walk with me on the trail. Of course, Chips went along.
people on a trail bridge

And these pictures are also taken from the trail. The beavers were not content to try to plug up our little culverts. Oh, no! They actually took on the river.
beaver dam under a bridge

Look at this! They were serious.
beaver dam

So, it was getting on into late July, almost August, and I was determined that I was going to find out what it took to tire this dog. Well, we walked all the way to the northern terminus of the trail and back. Eight miles. He then was perfectly willing to curl up and sleep!

And that's how he became Chips, the hiker dog. I'm sure you've figured out that he was always ready for an adventure. This was his more usual look of the summer- covered in mud and anticipating whatever was going to come next.
puppy in a canoe

There was one other big adventure of that summer. I'll have to scan some more stuff, but it's probably worth showing you.

In other news: I worked super-hard on the campsite section of the trail book. Five hours. My brain is just done, but I accomplished a lot.

See Critters


The Oceanside Animals said...

Java Bean: "Ayyy, any day that you end up covered in mud is a good day in my book!"

The Furry Gnome said...

I did some plant collecting way back in the day too. Learned a lot.

Sharkbytes said...

Java- you and Chips would have been mud brothers

Stew- yes, it's still much better than just pictures for official collections. But I decided that I don't need to be removing plants from the wild.