Lincoln Memorial Garden – Illinois

Pretty cool!

Planned Spontaneity

My friend and I took a Friday off of work and headed up to Springfield, Illinois to visit the Lincoln Memorial Garden. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States and this area is named after him.

We parked and then began hiking the trails on the east side of the gardens along the Silver Bell Trail and the Arrow Wood Trail. The trees were just past their peak fall color, but it was still really beautiful.

We then got our first view of Lake Springfield.

We also saw several council rings while hiking. There are 8 in total! My favorite was #7, the half council ring.

We then checked out the beautiful cypress grove and then continued on the Lake Trail.

After criss-crossing a few more trails, we came upon the troll! This was pretty cool!

We made our way along the Shadbush Lane Trail and over…

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Will Hiking Help You Lose Weight?

Interesting article! I only wish!

Really Good Hiking

Are you ready to start your weight loss journey, or looking to shed a few pounds? You may wonder if hiking is a good way to lose weight. Some people think that hiking is too slow paced to get good cardio or fat burn, but that is far from the truth. Hiking is a great way to get your heart rate up and is an amazing form of exercise!

There are many different types of hiking, so there’s something for everyone regardless of your fitness level or goal. There are trails that challenge an experienced hiker like climbing Mt Everest and easier family friendly hikes.

I prefer hiking as a form of exercise over going to the gym any day! You don’t get to explore nature and all its beauty while on the treadmill or stair master. Plus, hiking provides extra benefits that you cannot get on a treadmill. The…

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Hiking Waterfalls Maine by Greg Westrich

Hiking in Maine

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything that is as simultaneously calming and awe-inspiring as a waterfall. Maine’s rugged terrain, many wilderness areas, and large rivers make it a prime spot for waterfalls. There are many websites and apps that aggregate and “rate” waterfall hikes in Maine, New England, and beyond. We even added a Category to this blog for waterfall hikes, even though I still believe that the best waterfall views should come as a surprise. But our favorite travels, particular in the north Maine woods, Downeast, and western Maine, exist outside data service, and I have always enjoyed “analog” guidebooks, particularly those with maps and photos. Enter Falcon Guides’ Hiking Waterfalls Maine: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes, by Greg Westrich (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

We have used this guide for the last six months to enjoy waterfall hikes, from roadside stops to short hikes, to waterfalls…

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Winter Hiking Essentials

Winter conditions offer the year round hiker incredible rewards! Here are some tips if you do decide to go.

Immersive Traveller

So you’ve been hiking in the summer, and now you’re wondering how to transition this into an all-year hobby. While many aspects of hiking remain similar from season to season, there are a number of additional considerations for winter hiking.

First are closures. Many roads in Kananaskis close between December and May, so make sure you do a little extra research before hiking to ensure your hike is accessible in the winter months. With this research it is also a good idea to check recent posts or comments from other hikers (AllTrails often has an up-to-date comment section). Read up on the recently reported trail conditions before you head out to the mountains.

Second, daylight. The daylight hours are considerably fewer in the winter months, and the sun will disappear even quicker in the mountains. Give yourself plenty of time to get off the trail before sunset. You may also…

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Lonely Tree

As I saunter into the sterile office building

My eyes fixate

On that lone distant softwood tree

Way up on that mountaintop

All alone

Not a care in the world

Almost reaching out to me

Calling me up yonder

I stare up at that tree every morning

And wish I could accept its invite

My Castle

Close the drawbridge and seal it shut

I shall eschew all visitors tonight

All staff may have weekend furlough

Are the gators fed? No?

Good, their starvation a perfect remedy for any stragglers

No unwanted guests will alter my plans

This place is impenetrable

I need no lookouts

For the next 63 hours I will roam as I please

Savor the bumps in the night

The creaking floors a magnificent quirk that I shall never tire of

God’s furry little creatures are welcome to the pantry

There’s plenty to go around

Fires wills be stoked to keep the chill off

Wine will be consumed in a sufficient volume

Naps will be taken without guilt or worry

There’s nothing quite like a solitary weekend in one’s castle

View From the Mountaintop

Oh, the view from my mountaintop

Exquisite and grand

Satisfying to say the least

The valley below under my feet

My little three room oasis at my back

Breakfast on a rock

Just off the front porch

Neighbors are the songbirds that dare live so high

Blue sky and subtle white clouds at eye level

Bow a little to see lush green

The snow up here is a little deep

The wind a little abrasive

But that’s okay

Seven short steps to my fireplace

That sweet fragrance of burning wood

Crackling as it performs its duty

I’ll do a little writing today

Maybe head out later for a nature photo shoot

Perhaps I’ll paint the distant mountains beyond

Or author a new tune on my acoustic

Definitely get in an afternoon siesta

Lots of choices and opportunities today

Just like yesterday

And tomorrow

And the day after

Don’t Be So Shy

I like to hike in seclusion. I posted a couple of weeks ago that I reconnected with an old friend and we have started hiking together. It’s been a great way to hang out in the peace and quiet while getting to know him again.

My buddy was under the weather today and stuck in bed. Okay, no biggie. I’ll strike out on my own this morning. Like I’ve mentioned before, I love being alone in the wilderness.

I chose a group of trails that led to a scenic pond. This journey features a slight elevation gain to help me burn a few calories. Heaven knows I need it! The footing can be rocky but otherwise pretty decent. I know ahead of time that there will be other people on this route, but not too many. Besides, there is enough of an entanglement of trails for folks to choose from.

I encounter no one on my way up, which is fine by me. I can clear my mind and process the stressful work week I just endured. As I reach the pond, I hear a ringing coming up from behind me. It turns out to be a guy on a bike, with some sort of bell hanging from one of the handlebars.

We exchange pleasantries, both of us more than satisfied with the beauty that is the weather. The two of us sat on adjacent rocks and quietly took in our surroundings. We didn’t touch on any deep subjects nor did we come up with any solutions to any of the world’s problems. In fact, I think it was during the times of dead silence that we both appreciated the most.

We both went on our way. I took one trail, he another. I realized that it was okay to hike in seclusion but also okay to share pieces of the day with someone, even a total stranger. I encountered an older couple walking a dog on my way down. I stopped and pet the dog while speaking to his owners. It was a short, pleasant conversation. I smiled all the way back to the car.

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