June 8, 2013
I have not been on a hike for about two months and I was getting antsy. So I packed up and headed west on I-88 to hike the Green River State Wildlife Area. The SWA is mostly a hunting area, but it also has several miles of equestrian trails.
I had 18 pounds on, including 2 quarts of water. The weather was spectacular! 75F, sunny with a few clouds, and a gentle breeze.
The GR SWA was basically deserted, so I had the place almost completely to myself. I hiked 4 hours and saw three species of oak, many songbird species, a couple species of raptors, and at least two species of ticks. The ticks were horrendous. I was constantly removing ticks. At the end of the hike, I sat down to clean off my socks and load the gear into the truck. I must have parked under a tick laden tree branch because the ticks seemed to increase exponentially while I was cooling off and sitting on the back bumper.
I will be treating all my gear with permethrin in short order.
The area is swampy overall and is some of the last remaining area from the Great Winnebago Swamp that covered a large area in Illinois in the past. The underlying soil is very sandy.
For greater detail about the geology, flora and fauna look at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/OI/Documents/May08GreenRiverSWA.pdf
I had initially planned to camp overnight, but the ticks and the threat of rain combined to dissuade me. I hiked about 7.5 miles. My basic day hike distance is climbing steadily and I am encouraged.