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?
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:
How cool that the randomly chosen trail led to this Observation Tower.
A flight of stairs to the top of the tower, then…
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…