Spring Break in Southern Illinois

Between work and other obligations, this year we broke Spring Break into two trips: our Easter Weekend Roadtrip and a second roadtrip to Southern Illinois (or So iLL, as the climbing company is making that area a hot new topic). Day 1 involved driving down to Giant City State Park, a location I’d heard good … More Spring Break in Southern Illinois

Hiking Illinois: Matthiessen State Park

This past weekend, we made good on a plan of many years and visited Matthiessen State Park, which lies just South of a longtime family favorite, Starved Rock State Park. Things just lined up for us to finally get there, so didn’t miss the opportunity. A bit of history: Frederick William Matthiessen, and industrialist and … More Hiking Illinois: Matthiessen State Park

Hiking Illinois: Joliet Iron Works Historic Site

After our initial visit to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, we needed a place to stop for a picnic lunch. Happily, I had scoped out the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site earlier and knew it was on our way home. The first time I saw this location on Atlas Obscura (check it out for cool stuff … More Hiking Illinois: Joliet Iron Works Historic Site

Hiking Illinois: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

During last week’s #HikerChat, I was complaining (sort of) about the fact that my nearest National Forests are more than six hours away. The National Forests Foundation suggested I visit the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. I had thought about it before, when I was looking for dispersed camping opportunities near Chicago (there are none) and … More Hiking Illinois: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Hiking Illinois: Nachusa Grasslands

  When I first heard about the Nachusa Grasslandsin the winter, I was immediately intrigued. Bison in Illinois? Close to Chicago? I had to find out more, so I started planning a visit. The Grasslands are a project of The Nature Conservancy, a private non-for-profit whose mission is to conserve the lands and waters on … More Hiking Illinois: Nachusa Grasslands

Winter Camping: Starved Rock State Park

The polar vortices came, we hunkered down, but when they momentarily left, we took the opportunity a few weekends ago to head over to Starved Rock State Park to see some bald eagles and do some winter camping as a family.     The weather turned out to be quite warm, enough to soften the … More Winter Camping: Starved Rock State Park