|Total Shots taken||144|
|Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %)||20 (13.9 %)|
A friend of mine recently sent me a list from a site called Thrilllist (www.thrilllist.com), featuring an article on top 10 hikes near Chicago. Hike, schmike, I thought: these sound like photo excursions to me! I began making plans to visit the first of these, Waterfall Glen, in nearby DuPage County Forest Preserve.
In an unrelated event, I also met representatives of an African American outdoor enthusiast group (www.outdoorafro.com and for the local group, http://www.meetup.com/Outdoor-Afro-Chicago/). My connection is one of the local organizers, who decided not to let me hike alone – together we visited the first of my excursions, Waterfall Glen, a mere 20 minutes west of Chicago. The full hike is over 10 miles round trip, but we completed about 7, on a much hotter day than either of us expected.
I enjoyed the hike, and definitely found some highlights to share — the puddle that was filled with frogs, the two bees that converged on a flower, the light filtered through cattails in one of the ponds, and marshes that provided reflecting surfaces for abundant greenery (OK, OK, they really do more than that!) – those are just a few that stand out for me, which I included in these 5* images.
- Reflections – I love finding opportunities to show images reflected on water. As we walked thru the trail, we stayed on the main trail where we passed marshland and swamps (as well as small puddles). In this image, you can clearly see the bushes and the tree reflected in the water, in great detail. I love the fact that you can see grooves in the bark of the tree in the reflected image.
- Reflections #2 – The tall wheat grasses, with their golden fronds, atop the green and brown stalks reflected in the water, have a golden hue.
- Busy Bees (2) – I started taking pictures of these beautiful flowers before I noticed that there were bees around (lucky, I guess, and even luckier that they just ignored me!). I loved the fact that in one image the bee has landed lightly on the slim pink petals; in the second image, another bee is converging on the same flower.
- Cattails – These native wetland plants are abundant in Northern climates like the Midwestern US, where the temperature fluctuates. As we walked past, I noticed the sunlight creating this ethereal effect among the plant leaves. I loved the rim of sunlight on individual cattails, as well as the overall glow on the right.
- Fallen – This large limb had fallen into the swamp area, and was now barren. Its ‘bones’ are showing gracefully above the swamp, reaching out to lightly touch the water, as it rests its bottom on the swamp’s edge.
- Northern Leopard Frogs – Wow! The bright bronze and green leopard frogs caught my attention in the afternoon sun. We wouldn’t have seen these if another hiker hadn’t suggested that we detour off the main trail to look at a puddle where frogs were just jumping. As we walked carefully to the puddles, I wondered what was so astounding that the hiker felt he had to call our attention to this. When we spied the puddle full of frogs, my jaw dropped, I expected to see some dull brownish green frogs, not then seemingly jewel-encrusted frogs!
- The Waterfall – What is a trip to a location called Waterfall Glen without a waterfall siting? Up to now, we have had a pretty dry summer, so the water levels at the falls were low. Even so, I loved the play of water falling over the rocks, glittering in the bright sunlight.
The trails at Waterfall Glen, are an unexpectedly pleasant hiking trail near the ultra urban Chicago. Who knew? I didn’t, but now I do, and here are my 5* selections to prove it!