Living on the edge of town, on the edge of civilization by Chicago standards, I usually hop in the car and drive for 10 or so minutes to the west to find something remote to walk around in. Today I decided to stroll around the neighborhood, down to the river, over to the wooded ravine that’s steps from my house. Haven’t really done that in awhile, at least the exploratory part of it. Couldn’t think of a good reason to hop in the car.
Two minutes down a hill to the Fox River and I’m still about 30 feet above the river. The next town downstream is about eight miles away and you can’t see it from the river anyway. Just a lot of this:
The mouth of the ravine is barely noticeable if you were canoeing down the river. Not much water flowing through it on a normal day. I have seen it flooded with the sound of rushing water at a deafening level, but even in this year of drought it never dried up completely. A small gravel bar lets you get a bit of a river vantage.
I’m not sure this could even be called a creek. It winds through a small flood plain, very small.
I guess at some point this warning made sense, but you have to see this area to appreciate how useless this warning has become.
It seems that every small river town has railroad tracks that follow the river. Crossing the tracks and following this small creek upstream, the creek bed suddenly changes. I’ve fished numerous creeks that feed into the Fox and have wandered up quite a few ravines. This is the only one I can recall that has these stair steps of limestone.
As you wander further up, the bed of the ravine is a limestone slab with river boulders lying around. Some of the boulders are an impressive size. I’m assuming they’re remnants of the last ice age, I see them out in the river all the time, but at this point I’m a good 40 feet above the river.
I decided to take the short walk into downtown, if it can be considered that. The river, a few stores and a kayak chute that was put in not long ago as a compromise to tearing out the town dam completely. Not much else to it. It is a nice place to hang out, but I hardly ever do.
I never go fishing here. Downstream where I just was, nobody goes. I know miles upon miles of river I can wade where I never see another person. Suits me fine. Then I don’t have to feel compelled to confront stupid people. I guess “No Fishing in the Bypass Channel” doesn’t refer to them.
Better to avoid the discussion altogether. They tend to go nowhere and the stupid never learn.
The walk home from there is kind of pleasant. Up a few hills, yes, even in Illinois. From river level to the ridge where I live has to be a good 60 feet. Zig zagging home is a good half mile. Get’s a good burn going in calves and thighs. Reminds me of why I should do it more often. Down at the end of a dead end street, up against the wall of trees that start the ravine and I’m home.
Not a bad neighborhood for a stroll now and then.