Tag Archive | nature

Nature in Crystal Lake – Illinois


Every once in awhile, we make a sojourn to our neighboring state of Illinois.  Our destination was Crystal Lake, since we had other business in town that day. Went to the Chamber of Commerce first for information. We went to the McHenry County Conservation  Center-Prairieview. Believe it or not, the Chicagoland area is not all concrete jungle. We found this center dedicated to preserving an area to resemble the prairies that used to cover much of Illinois.

Crystal Lake, Illinois Chamber of Commerce

McHenry County-Prairieview

The grounds are beautiful, and we could hear the laughter of children enjoying summer activities there.  As you see, were were the only other visitors at that time.

McHenry County Ill. Prairieview

We went inside the main building and picked up a map to the trail through the prairie. It was a hot day, and you could hear the buzz of insects in the tall grasses.

Illinois Prairie

Towering above the grass were some large trees, possibly here when all of Crystal Lake area was unsettled.

Prairie tree

Also flowers.

Prairie flowers

We had an enjoyable visit, but it was time to get back to Madison.

Madison’s Cherokee Marsh – South Unit


There is another part to this huge marshland, the South Unit. It is in the process of being restored to its former state before human interference.   The marsh filters the water before it spills into the Yahara River and in turn Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa.  They are known as the Madison “Chain of Lakes”.


The terrain is different here, and there is a boat landing also.  The map shows several nice trails.  I just explored a small area today near the boat launch.  There were animals and plants I didn’t see at the north unit, including a beautiful Sandhill Crane.

Sandhill CraneIMG_9738

purple flowerIMG_9806


An enjoyable visit, I be back again for another visit.

Madison’s Cherokee Marsh Park- North Unit


I found I had neglected exploring a natural area less than two miles from home, Cherokee Marsh Park, North Unit. I have lived in this area for seven years but overlooked it. Not anymore, I see great potential for fall colors here. Follow me on my hike, here is a map.


Some parts of the path are on metal walkway just above the water of the marsh, I never got wet. The path also has two observation platforms. This is the first one. There were many wildflowers too.

IMG_9605Dragon fly


You can see the Token Creek water tower from the path.

From the other observation platform you have a great view of the Yahara River.



The park also has a shelter with restrooms and water, you can park your car there.


It was a great hike, wear comfortable shoes and a camera!