Mushroom Mania

On Sunday Eileen and I took a walk at the Griffy Nature Preserve, and even though it had been dry for the past week, we found a plethora of mushrooms along the trail. First up were several varieties of Boletes, most with a yellow pore surface (they have pores rather than gills.) None were the desirable Boletus edulis, which has a white pore surface.

From Mushrooms
From Mushrooms

Next we came upon a log covered with oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus), and although I’ve seen them cultivated, but this is the first time I’d found them wild. They on several logs along the path, it was amazing to see so many.

From Mushrooms
From Mushrooms

The best find of the day was the lactarius indigo, afaik, the only blue mushroom in the midwest. I’ve not seen one for a decade, and here there were several specimens along the path. They are edible, but we did not take any. They had been knocked over by a previous hikers, so I got some good pictures of the otherworldly color of their gills.

From Mushrooms
From Mushrooms
From Mushrooms

Deer Me!

The other morning I came out of our house (half a block from Atwater), and found this guy munching on our bird food, and just snacking on anything he could find. What, me worry? He walked forward and sniffed in my direction, so I did the same, it was a standoff. I went my way, and he did the same.

Deer me
Deer me

Bald Eagles at Lake Monroe

Jojo and I have been out yakking and canoeing on Lake Monroe this August, and reecently we got to watch a full grown (big) bald eagle circle above us. The wings were significantly larger that a buzzard, and we could clearly see the white head and tail. I grabbed the camera and got this low-res, fuzzy view, but you can make out the white, and the silhouette is all eagle.

The next week, we saw one in a dead tree overlooking the water. We paddled past and stopped to go swimming. After a while we saw one, then another eagle fly over head. First we heard a very unusual calls from the trees where we saw the first eagle, a descending series of resonant tones. The the other full grown and a juvenile were on the shore opposite us, and they called back. We were just out of the water when one of them circled above us, and then flew to the other side of the bay, and dived at the water. We didn’t see anything in the claws, but we were not sure.

Bald Eagle over Lake Monroe
Bald Eagle over Lake Monroe

Bald eagle at Lake Monroe
Bald eagle at Lake Monroe

Tandem Ride along Lake Michigan

Eileen and I vacationed in Chicago in August, and on the first day we rented a tandem bike at Millennial Park, and started riding north. We found the path a bit crowded, but everyone seems to get along fine, no crashes. We passed the volleyball courts, and rode out on a pier. I got my feet wet, and we gazed at the water.

From Chicago/Prairie Vacation '09
From Chicago/Prairie Vacation '09
From Chicago/Prairie Vacation '09

We rode west at Diversy, and toured the lagoon north of Lincoln Park zoo, then entered and bikes around the animal houses.

From Chicago/Prairie Vacation '09

We followed the zoo parking lot south, then walked over the ped bridge over Lakeshore Drive. It had no screens around it, and in fact there were flowers all the way across.

From Chicago/Prairie Vacation '09

We move back down the lake path to the Chicago River, then rode across the bridge, which is quite a scene, bikes, skaters, peds, and cars all sharing the space. We got back within our 2 hour rental time even though we goofed around a bunch at the lagoon and zoo.

From Chicago/Prairie Vacation '09

We stopped at the band-shell and listened to a rehearsal for a bit, then got on the train and headed back to Schaumburg and the prairie.

Shirley Springs Waterfalls

Shirley Springs is a great place to visit in the summer. I stopped by on the way back to the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard ride headquarters at Karst Farm Park on Saturday. The Leonard Springs Nature Park is a couple of miles southwest of the square on Leonard Spring Road. It has 95 acres of woodland ridge and valley, and several springs. There is an iron walkway from the top of the ridge to the emergence of the Shirley Springs about half way down.

Stairs to Shirley Springs
Stairs to Shirley Springs

The water was cold and refreshing on a 90 degree day, and with the recent rains, running at full force. This spring I found the small white Trillium grandiflorum all along the hillside. The valley used to be a lake (which supplied city water for a few years), and as a wide variety of vegetation.

Summer 09

I sometimes find riding in the summer a bit of a chore, for me the heat is more of a problem than the cold of winter. The hills around here are already a test, but add 90 degrees with 90% humidity, and even the shortest climbs have will have you sweating and overheated. But this summer has been quite different, July was cool and rainy, and there were only 2 days that the temperatures hit 90 all summer. This made for good riding weather, and we took several trips to the Morgan-Monroe Forest north of Bloomington. The map here shows our route for one ride in July, when we went out SR 45 to Tunnel Road, then took Shilo to Anderson Rd. It is a short distance to Bean Blossom Rd, which climbs nearly 300 feet over a mile and a quarter.

After a couple of miles of the county’s best ridge riding (along Forest Rd.), we headed back to town on old 37, climbing Firehouse Hill with no problem, it is long but not steep, but I kinda pooped out on the last long climb through Cascades, and then up College Ave.

From Mitch's Bike Maps