“We’ll leave the TV and the radio behind, don’t you wonder what we’ll find.”
Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson (1982)
Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area – August 5, 2017
How appealing does this picture from a summer day look to anyone else who is tired of a full blown Midwest winter?
Beyond the sign lies a wonderful world of discovery for our young crew and a reconnect for their folks. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, before Julie and I tied the knot and later found ourselves responsible for four kids, we used to spend a fair amount of time roaming the outdoors. Field guides in hand we prowled numerous Illinois state parks from the home base of a much smaller tent than what is required nowadays.
Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area near Kewanee, IL had made the cut back in the day making it even more fun to revisit and view through the eyes of our offspring.
As expected, the park did not disappoint with nature’s pallete of greens, yellows, reds, purples, and oranges all catching our attention. The plants bearing those colors included tulip tree, jewelweed, trumpet creeper, Joe Pye weed, tall bellflower, cup-plant and one of my favorites, bergamot, all of which we demonstrated identifying with our field guides in tow.
Now, winter’s been a rough one around here, but sooner or later those woods will spring to life yet again during another act of nature’s fascinating annual play.
Keep your eyes peeled for the stars of the show such as trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, mayapple, bloodroot, violets, phlox and more. And if your timing and eyesight are right, perhaps you’ll cross paths with a generally highly regarded springtime fungal treasure known as the morel.
So dust off those hiking boots or an old pair of tennis shoes and be ready to step out when nature calls (you know what I mean). Talk to you later. Troy