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.