Sawmill Creek

Horseshoe Bend

A popular hiking destination southwest of Chicago, Waterfall Glen offers almost 11 miles of hiking trails for jogging, walking, cycling, or horseback riding.  The 2400 acre forest preserve surrounds Argonne National Laboratory, and contains woods, wetlands, ponds, and a popular waterfall which is actually a man made dam.

Walking on the Waterfall

The waterfall is one of the biggest draws of the park, enticing couples, children, families, and dog walkers alike to Sawmill Creek, the stream that flows through the park.

Attractive in all seasons, the park provides a great get-a-way close to the busy urban life of the Chicago suburbs.

Growing Shelf Ice

Dunes Shelf Ice

It's been a relatively warm winter after a snowy December, and the shelf ice around Lake Michigan has all but disappeared. Last week, temperatures dropped below freezing again, so the shelf ice along the shore is building again.

While it's not mounded as high as past years, and doesn't extend hundreds of feet out into the lake, it's still interesting to view. One of the good things about this type of ice is that quite a bit of it does not extend over the water, so we were able to explore a bit of it - the parts that formed over the sand.

Frozen Beach

Should this ice crumble beneath our feet, we would simply drop about two feet to the beach below, not into the freezing, churning waters of Lake Michigan, as if we ventured out onto the shelf ice. Shelf ice is dangerous to walk on, and unless one knows the area very well, even walking on the ice near the shore can cause injury or death.

This ice was formed during heavy surf, so the chunks and mounds formed on dry land, and we did not venture near the portions that extend over the water like a shelf.

Distant Skyline

Far beyond the chunks of ice, the Chicago skyline peeks over the horizon in the image above. As dangerous as it can be, and as cold as the temperatures are on the beach, one of the best times to visit the Lake Michigan shore is winter.


Clear Lake Triplets

A thin layer of ice covers the surface of La Porte's Clear Lake, leaving the three locally famous cypress trees surrounded.  Sometimes on shore, sometimes submerged, the cypress trees are sometimes referred to as three sisters, or triplets.

The trees are said to have been planted in memory of three young girls who met with an untimely death.  But they could have been planted in memory of three children who fell through the thin ice of clear lake in 1928.

Another cypress tree stands a few hundred feet away, so perhaps they just grew naturally.  Either way, the three sisters inspire countless people in the city of La Porte.

The Night Sky

Chicago at Night

On our Friday night trip to the Lake Michigan shore, we stopped at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to view the beach at night. The Chicago skyline is not an unusual sight - located about 40 miles across Lake Michigan at this point. On clear nights, the skyline looks like a gem sparkling on the black water of Lake Michigan.

One of the more interesting things for me is watching the numerous airplanes coming and going.  To me, they look like bees leaving the hive, and with a long exposure, you can see the light trails they leave.

Night Sky

Due to the light pollution from Chicago, not too many stars can be see around the city, but turn 180 degrees, and the sky is dark enough to see for light years. On this cold, windy night, the moon was in the sky, making it more difficult to see deep into space.

I'm not sure which stars and galaxies are visible here, but I find the bright, glowing light just to the left of center to be very interesting.  It must be a star cluster or galaxy.