kaffy_r (kaffy_r) wrote,

Dept. of The Great Outdoors

A Green Gem on Chicago's North Side

One of my last posts mentioned that Bob and I planned to go to the West Ridge Natural Area, which fronts of Chicago's Western Avenue on the (relatively) far North Side. I even mentioned taking pictures and perhaps putting a few of them up.

It took some time, but I finally got around to offloading pictures from my phone, and I'll share a few of them here.

Not a ton, however. During our time there, both Bob and I deliberately put our phones away for a majority of our walk. I agreed with Bob when he wondered about people who seemed to be walking around spending more time looking at their phones than at their beautiful surroundings. (I say that knowing that some folks I know take equally beautiful pictures as a way of chronicling events and places in their lives. That's something quite apart from experiencing an event solely through a lens.) 

The natural area is still very young; it's been developed slowly since about 2011, and I know that recreating the various mini-ecosystems that once were native to the Illinois area takes time. You could tell that some of the prairie areas were really new because their blooming plants were all varieties with golden flowers. I have an acquaintance who's a specialist on native plantings in this area, someone I met while doing a story on another prairie garden in a nearby suburb, and she told me that she'd be happy once the prairie garden she was more or less in charge of began showing purple and blue flowers in summer. That's when she'd feel as if the plantings had a chance at becoming more secure and mature, she said. 

I didn't mind the relative youth of the area; all the golden flowerings made an intermittently cloudy day very sunny. 

It was an odd feeling to wander through this fairly large area (it was so large that we didn't get a chance to see the oak savannah area, but we'll get to it another time) and feel at some times like we were in a near-wilderness, then t urn a corner and look out on the cemetery that bordered one side of the natural area, or see Western Avenue buildings on the other side. And we never completely lost the sounds of the city. Still, it really was a relief to walk through. I'm always reminded of something my Aunt Peggy used to say - that coming to the country could give her eyes a rest, They could look out at vistas, instead of visually running up against city walls, she'd say. I understand that. 

Anyhow, enough talk. Here are some of the pictures I took, under a cut.

West Ridge monolith art

These greeted us when we entered the natural area.

West Ridge natural area path, showing Western Ave. and a Monarch butterfly

If you look, you can see the Monarch butterfly; you can definitely see Western Ave.

Tree, with new trunk growing out of its  lightning-struck older trunk

This tree trunk was growing right out of, or next to, the lightning-struck ruins of its older trunk.

Bob liked the tree, too.

Bob at the West Ridge natural area, taking a picture. 

West Ridge natural area lake

This lake was wonderfu
l. I don't think you can see the family of ducks swimming on its surface, though.

And finally, below, one of those glorious golden blooms. 

West Ridge natural area daisy (of some sort) closeup

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Tags: chicago, lovely things

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