This weekend, I had the chance to visit a new to me trail, called Beverly Lake. Located in Hoffman Estates about a mile and a half or so off the Interstate, this is an easy location to visit, though traffic back towards the city can be a bear depending on the time of day (it took me about a half hour to drive there Sunday morning, but more than an hour to get home midday). Not a lot of information on the Forest Preserve District of Cook County website, unfortunately, and no trail maps at the parking lot, so I relied primarily on the well-marked trails on my phone’s Google Maps.
The trail starts at a small parking lot and along the shores of Beverly Lake. At the end of the lake, one can take a side loop with more views of the lake, or head straight in to the trails, which are also marked for cross country skiing (though the signs are pretty old and very confusing). I took the first loop and came across a couple of cement “pillboxes” – no information and with minimal graffiti, wonder what they were used for. Onward I walked, referring to my phone when I got to a fork in the trail and planning my route as I went.
One of the things I thought quite a bit about was a book I recently received for review, Trailhead, by Lisa Jhung (VeloPress). Marketed as a beginner’s guide to trail running, this is actually a great resource for anyone interested in hitting the trails, runners and hikers alike. From the basics like finding a good trail to etiquette (right of way, pee and poo stops), to basic first aid, this little book has good information for pretty much any user. Well-written and researched, with subtle humor, this was entertaining to read as well as informative. Makes a great gift too.
The trails are mostly mown grass, with some doubletrack and singletrack thrown in depending on which route was chosen. There was also plenty of mud with all the recent rains we’ve had. One of the negatives of falling a trail on Google Maps is that it is, in fact, just an approximation and not an exact trail route. I was so focused on a specific turn that I walked right by it somehow, necessitating some serious bushwhacking before I stumbled back onto the trail (luckily it’s early Spring and the areas off trail aren’t fully grown in yet). I was really impressed with how little litter there was – I think I saw two beer cans in the four and half miles I hiked, pretty impressive. That, along with the variety of trails, small ponds and lakes, and undulating terrain made for great hiking – I’ll definitely go back.
I finished up my morning with a stop at Cabela’s, which bills itself as the World’s Foremost Outfitter. Not sure about that, but this is one enormous store, with pretty much anything you need to get outdoors. I was really impressed with their Gun Library, as well as their two enormous aquariums (always love watching fish). It’s kind of overwhelming, though, if you’re not shopping for something special, because there’s just too much to take in.