Friday, January 14, 2011

Midwest Trails: Hidden Lake Forest Preserve (Winter)


I've written about Hidden Lake previously, as it was the second Trail Running Project outing. Long one of my favorite Du Page Forest Preserves, this is a location with unmapped trails, which branch off of each other, criss-cross at times, and guarantee the feeling of being lost (as well as actually being lost).


To complete a run for the virtual Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K hosted by Adam, I returned to the preserve by running from my house on streets, discovering a "back door" I was unaware of, and then reveling in fresh powder covering the trails. A hilly, twisting set of trails keeps things interesting, while the wildness of the preserve is balanced by the occasional man-made structure, such as fences and entry gates.

The "back door" off of Finley Ave

There was enough snow to make the forest look pristine, enough ice under the powder to keep things interesting, and a complete lack of non-animal footprints to make me feel very alone in the wilderness.


I ran a sort of out and back loop from one end to another, and, while there were times I definitely did not know where I was, using the angle of the sun and a feeling of where I was in relation to the perimeter kept me on virgin powder for the vast majority of time spent on these trails.


While I saw only one, very large squirrel, animal tracks were in abundance, including a large dog-like track (coyote?) large cat-like track (?), deer hoofprints, bunny hops, as well as bird and smaller, unidentifiable tracks. To cap off the nature show, 2 or 3 (or the same multiple times) large owls flew overhead.

Stone gates off of Butterfield Road

Hidden Lake is located just off a major expressway and next to the Morton Arboretum. Well-worth visiting, it offers both a gentle, family-friendly loop around two lakes on a crushed gravel path along with the twisting, technical singletrack found in the undeveloped section of the preserve.

12 comments:

  1. Kovas - I need to stop reading your posts about trails near my old stomping grounds; they make me want to go home. I like the stone gates photo.

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  2. "...using the angle of the sun and a feeling of where I was in relation to the perimeter kept me on virgin powder for the vast majority of time spent on these trails."

    Kovas: Medieval Navigator!

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  3. AM I the only one who is weirded out by your "back door" comment?

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  4. No, Em, the other perverts got excited as well.

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  5. Now we know where your house is and can come rob you of all your cool running gear.

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  6. Big cat prints = mountain lions in my back door. Which scare me to death. But you and I have different back doors, even the secret, hidden ones.

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  7. ....using the angle of the sun and a feeling of where I was in relation to the perimeter kept me on virgin powder for the vast majority of time spent on these trails.

    I just thought this deserved to be published again.

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  8. What are you, a Blackfoot scout ? Great little read. Are you still sporting Santas facial hair ?

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  9. You run out there!? I'm too much of a wimp to run on snowy trails. I guess that's why I moved to southern CA.

    It does look mighty pretty though!

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  10. Owls? Or vultures? How fast were you running, anyway?

    I prefer my trails with road signs since I'm navigationally challenged. On the plus side, that whole "angle of the sun" crap would have me running for a nice, long time.

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  11. What's that white stuff on the ground? I'm not familiar...

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