This past week I was in Rockford for spring break; I didn’t have a lot planned besides seeing a few people, and overall becoming a couch potato. Other than that, I was itching to get outside and hike, and for anyone that knows the Midwest in March the weather can be rather unpredictable, with this week’s weather ranging from the mid-teens to the high 40s, but that was not going to stop me.
There have been a few parks in the area I have wanted to visit and of course re-visit. So throughout the last week I visited Rock Cut State Park, Atwood Park, and hiked from Epsenscheid Forest Preserve to Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve. Overall hiking 32 miles this past week in the Rockford region.
Rock Cut State Park:
I have gone to Rock Cut more times than I can count, I have spent such an immense amount of time out there, and each time is a different experience. Each season treats the park differently, in the summer the park is lively with people along the trails - while now at the tail end of winter, you can make the park your own experience. On Sunday, I spent a good 5 hours at the park, hiking from one end of the park to the other, totaling an 11-mile hike.
While the sights and sounds of Rock Cut are very familiar to me, I wanted to see some new nature here in Rockford. Believe it or not I have never been to Atwood Park; it’s been on the list for quite a while. So on Tuesday I finally made it out there, while usually I plan what I want to see/do at these parks, I wanted to just see what was out there. You can believe I was surprised when I saw the area where they kept the many birds, from Bald Eagles to Screeching Owls. Then hiking to see the bunkers, and finally hiking across the park to see the prairies and marshes. Totaling a 10-mile hike.
Epenscheid to Kishwaukee:
The last hike I took this past week was slightly different than all the rest. I had no idea what to expect, I just planned on hiking from Epsenscheid Forest Preserve to Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve, sounded simple to me, just follow the river right? Wrong, this was the only time I have ever gotten lost without realizing it. For about a mile or so it turned out I was going back the direction I came from, when finally I realized I saw something that I walked by maybe an hour before, so looking at my map on my phone, I realized that I was going the opposite direction. Even though that happened I still got to see an immense scene of prairie lands, marshes, and generally the Kishwaukee River front. Overall the last 11-mile hike.
Overall this proves you don’t need to go far to experience some sort of nature here in the Rockford region, just some hiking shoes, and the want to explore something familiar or new.