I managed to get outside to hike on two occasions this week. I escaped to Spicer Lake Nature Preserve for a couple of hours and then met my friend, Diana, at Potato Creek State Park. Potato Creek tends to be a lot busier than Spicer, but not too much in the wintertime.
I loaded all three of my dogs into the car and headed out. It was a special day for Dingo Lu. Three years prior, she was adopted through the Australian Cattle Dog Rescue of Illinois. Not only was it the anniversary date of her adoption, but we decided that since we didn’t know her actual birth date, that it was also her birthday.
Happy 5th Birthday, Dingo Lu!!
It only made sense that we would go on a hike with all of my girls and my friend Di’s two other dogs. She has two German Shepherds. One of which, was recently adopted also. All of our dogs get along, thankfully and are very well behaved. Hiking with five dogs wasn’t as stressful as it might seem.
We generally meet near the Nature Center and head out into the park from a nearby trail head. The trails connect to other trails and you can decide how far you want to hike. On Wednesday, we chose to hike just under 5 miles. We traveled along the shore line of Worster Lake and made our way past the Porter Rea Cemetery on the other side of the lake.
The Porter Rea Cemetery is a neat place to visit. There is just something about old graves. Seeing a birth year from the 1700’s on a headstone is amazing to me. It opens up my imagination and makes me wonder who these people were. Porter Rea was a community cemetery (as opposed to belonging to a church) that dates back to 1845.
It is the first local cemetery where African American residents were laid to rest with their white neighbors. Sadly, the first resident to be buried here was 9 year old, Emma Porter. I’ve never been able to locate any information as to why Emma passed away. All I can say is that her final resting place is simply beautiful. Rest in peace, little Emma.
The highlight of the trip would be when we passed by the old Spring House. I forgot about its existence and probably haven’t laid eyes on it since I visited the park during a field trip in grade school. That was a long time ago. It was kind of neat to rediscover that.
Potato Creek is built on and around an old homestead. There is evidence of the old farm through out the park. Every now and then you will come across old rock walls and remnants of farming equipment and buildings. The old Spring House is still standing and has been fairly well preserved.
Worster Lake finally has a thin layer of ice covering it. Very soon, people will be out there ice fishing. It’s a fairly popular place for locals to go fishing both in the summer and winter months. They don’t allow motors on the water so it’s generally very peaceful and the water is calm.
In addition to hiking trails, the park also offers bicycle trails, bridle trails and a horseman’s campground, family campground, cabins, bicycle, rowboat, canoe and kayak rentals. They also have several pavilions for large picnics.
I always enjoy going on hikes with Di. It’s always nice to catch up and talk about life and work and whatever is going on with us. We hiked about five miles before we called it a day.She has a lot of experience and it’s nice to go with someone who enjoys hiking and doesn’t mind that there’s snow on the ground and cold.
We had a really good hike.