Volo Bog State Natural Area is a gorgeous small state natural area just south of Fox Lake, Illinois. There is a sign for Volo Bog on the busy two lane U.S. 12. As a child my family passed this sign many times on the way north to see grandmother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Every time we passed the sign intrigued me, and I wished we could stop and check it out, but we were always late to begin with and could not keep grandmother waiting.
This trend continued as I grew older. When I was old enough to drive it became my decision to pass the bog every time I headed north. It is on the way to South Kettle Moraine State Forest, which is a favorite outdoor spot in Wisconsin; therefore, I continued to zoom past at 60 mph.
Finally, last summer I was in the area, and I had about an hour to spare before meeting some friends for dinner in Fox Lake. At last I turned at the brown sign to Volo Bog. I hiked the 2.75 mile Tamarack View Trail which circles the park. The bog was full of egrets, cranes, and herons and the trail had some great overlooks of the bog.
There is also a half mile Interpretive Trail that walks through the bog on a boardwalk. I am usually not a big fan of short nature trails. They seem to me to consist of a small trail with signs that say here is a tree. They can be interesting, but they are far from adventurous.
The Interpretive Trail through Volo Bog is a completely different experience. It takes the hiker right through the center of the bog, which is radiating with the most incredible plant life. Sphagnum mosses, ferns, and many other types of vegetation create an impenetrable growth that more resembles something from the Everglades, the jungles of Africa, or maybe even a Pandora landscape from Avatar rather than a park in north suburban Chicago.
I also noticed that the Tamarack Trail doubles as a cross-country ski trail in the winter. For my Examiner page I am compiling reviews on all the ski trails in the Chicago area, so I returned to the bog to ski. Gone were the cranes, egrets, and herons. Gone were the ferns, the mosses, and all the other greenery.
One trait that remained was the beauty of the park. It is more of a serene, lonely, haunting kind of allure rather than the wealth of birds and plant life that is found in the summer.
Now that I finally made the plunge and turned right at the brown sign on U.S. 12, I will make an effort to stop by here as much as I can. Is there a destination on your radar which for some reason you just cannot pull the trigger? Make it your New Year’s resolution to visit that place.
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Thanks for sharing your family history of road trip priorities. I’m sure it resonated with many readers. Off we go to Grandma’s house! Ah, the memories.
Jay Gordon recently posted..Cowboy poetry in Willits- Mendocino County
It’s great when you finally check out a place you’ve been curious about for years, but never gotten off the beaten path to see. We’ve found some treasures that way. Great photos- love long-legged water birds.
santatafetraveler recently posted..Santa Fe dining- 315′s Louis Moskow- a man with a mission
sharing some of the same birds and sumertime weather makes this a nice looking place, only differing from florida in the winter i guess, that boardwalk does look inviting
in florida you appreciate the elevated walks no matter how short, it keeps you away from the nasties like snakes and alligators!
greg urbano recently posted..The Brooksville Raid Reenactment – Artillery Demonstration
What a beautiful trail! I’d love to visit in summer. Though I bet it has cross country ski possibilities in winter too 😉
LeslieTravel recently posted..Skiing diary- A New Yorker rediscovers his Utah roots