Arbor Hills Nature Preserve – City Zen

On August 13, it started to pour before daybreak. The showers felt wonderful after more than 30 consecutive 100 °F days without rain. Care to join me for a slightly damp but utterly lovely walk in the woods?

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Call me crazy, but I set out for the Preserve when it was still raining. Once there, I waited in the covered pavilion by the parking lot for the rain to stop before walking a randomly chosen trail.

A 10-minute drive from home, Arbor Hills is a tree-filled respite from the city, even if the mall and the tollway are just minutes away. My niece introduced me to this 200-acre beauty about 6 years ago. Perfect for wildflower hikes and impromptu picnics, the preserve contains 3 distinct ecoregions: Blackland Prairie, Riparian Forest (above) and Upland Forest (below). No prairie picture in this post because a dry sunny day may offer a better setting for it.

While riparian forests are found along rivers and creeks, upland forests, like this one, occur at higher elevations:

Give me earth tones over ringtones, any day.

How cool that the randomly chosen trail led to this Observation Tower.

Check out the shrubs in the foreground. They look like miniature palm trees to me.

A flight of stairs to the top of the tower, then…

this bridge/walkway. The rain gave it a dreamlike quality.

Just a few more steps to a bench and shelter atop the observation tower. Standing here, let screen-weary eyes take in the trees all around. The bench beckons. Why not rest those hardworking legs… And the mind, too, if you wish…


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