It might be considered rude to have two back-to-back posts with an uncut picture in each one.
To set the scene, here's a view from where I first parked, the (first) boat launch at Sportsman's Lake.
Doesn't the road look inviting?
Another attempt to capture one of my favorite subjects. I'm still working on the artistic background thing.
This can't be central Illinois, can it?
Another favorite subject and another attempt at the artistic out of focus background.
This submerged log really caught my eye. Too bad the fish that was in the view when I first looked at it didn't stay to be included in the photo.
It's not really clear in this picture, which is just pretty, but this is not a normal tree. It's a sycamore and a silver (?) maple grown together in a sort of chimera.
In this shot, hopefully you can sort of see that one tree has two kinds of branches and leaves.
One cool feature of the scenery in the Sportsman's Lake area is that there are a whole lot of bald cypress trees. This one is a background for another grass shot. I hope you're not bored.
I really liked the light in this cypress. The lens flare wasn't intentional but I think it's interesting.
There were a lot of these dry spikes that I think are mullein, and I tried to do something interesting with them. This was a pretty picture anyway.
The very slight rippling in the water gave this reflection an impressionist look. I'm really happy with this shot; web size doesn't do it justice.
A praying mantis just for cadhla.
By this time I'd made it back to my car and moved it to the parking area at the end of the other fork in the road.
I parked more or less under this maple tree. The fall color in sugar maples almost makes it worth it to have winter.
I loved the combination of the turning sycamore leaves and the cypress. I sort of caught it -- the camera never quite sees what the eye does.
I'm most of the way through my pictures, but only a couple of hours into my trip. I'd actually meant to go into the mountain bike area today while the sun was high enough to try to get some pictures in the woods. I walked a couple of miles in the sportsman's lake area and another couple of miles to get to the end of the haul road to get into the pretty area I'd visited before.
This is a view of one of the trails.
Here's a typical forest scene. This is a very nice patch of woods.
This is the pond along the haul road where the picnic tables are but from the north side.
By the time I got to this point in my trip, I was starting to feel a little bit tired. The trails had wound back and forth so that I'd walked more than 2 miles since I got into the mountain bike area to cover less than a mile. I was glad to see this pond because I knew for sure where I was. (I'm almost out of pictures at this point, because I was almost out of room on my memory card, and I hadn't brought a second one because I didn't think I'd be taking so many pictures.) I didn't know how the trails would go, but I figured they had to get me back to the road eventually. Little did I know that the trail was about to become fractal. I could see the road from here, but by the time I finally got back to it, within half a mile of this spot as the crow flies, I had walked several more miles.
Here's a view into one of the ravines I walked around. The very long way around.
One more view into a ravine.
I'm not really sure how far I hiked today. I need to re-find the map of Kickapoo on the web, but even with a trail map it wouldn't be easy. I was carrying a pedometer. I think this one counts steps fairly well, but I don't know how my steps translate to miles. The pedometer recorded 25400 steps (and that's not counting the time I was on the beach, because the pedometer was clipped to my belt pouch which I took off with my shoes). If I march like a Roman soldier, that's almost 13 miles. I guess it was actually about 10 -- still the hardest day of hiking I've probably ever done in Illinois. My body is really going to give me what-for tomorrow. My legs and feet already hurt.