By John Griffee
Every park tells a story and therein lies the beauty of a hike. Often times, hiking is considered a slow amble through the woods on trails, however hiking goes deeper than that.
When you walk through a park, you’re engaging with the history of the land and the life in that area. Many of our parks hold looks into the history of our region, both recent and long past. Chamberlain Lakes still shows remnants of the tornado that rocked its land, along with its recovery back to beautiful wetlands. Rum Village is the prime example of how glaciers once formed the land around us, something many would be shocked to learn about. Plenty of park signs around our area bring up links to the Kankakee Marsh, referencing back to the change our area has experienced over tens of thousands of years from the last glacial age.
It’s not just the story of the land that makes our home special to explore. Wetlands are widely considered to be the most biodiverse environments on the planet, hosting expansive ecosystems. The avian diversity of our region alone has led to a swath of parks being placed on the Indiana Birding Trail.
Those that visit Potato Creek can watch osprey go into nosedives at the lake as they hunt or catch a lucky glimpse of a bald eagle. Mornings on lakes can feel like an orchestra concert with the sonorous tunes of common loons. As fall begins to pace past summer, the skies are filled with geese and sandhill cranes, sounding off as a group. Birds numbering in the thousands can be found flocking together as they begin to their journey of migration.
Plenty of the parks have schedules detailing free events that give deeper looks into the local animal populations here led by the naturalists. There are events for people of all ages, meant to help engage with our local area.
A hike in the woods tells its history in the sights around you, and the beauty of it all is that the story changes every time you come back. Whether you want to see miniscule salamanders, catch a bald eagle flying overhead or simply admire the waterfronts found here, take solace knowing its our breathtaking home.
Is there a park that you want to see covered? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions.