These tiny, velvet-like Oak leaves fell off a nearby tree. They were not even an inch long, but easy to spot on an old fallen log.
Spotted as we explored an animal trail; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Springtime in Cowles Bog means plenty of huge fern fiddleheads. About the size of a quarter, these round fiddleheads will open into fronds about three feet long. Right now, they're all over the bog, making the wetland appear like a prehistoric world. I'm always intrigued at how the tiny portions of the fiddlehead that will eventually be a single leaf in the fern, look like miniature versions of the whole frond.
This little bug found a comfortable place to sit and wait for the sun to come out.
A family of foxes live under a wooden deck in Wilminton, Illinois. This pair played outside their den just after sunset, but wouldn't allow their pups outside until I walked about 100 feet away. Each time I approached, they ran into their den.
The outlook for sunrise photos at Goose Lake Prairie was not good, as we walked up to the cabin. A storm quickly was moving in, but certainly there would be enough time to capture a few images before the rain. As we approached, the rising sun peered through a small break in the clouds - the only break in the sky.
A few minutes later, as we walked back to the car, the rain began.
Sometimes referred to as concrete igloos, the remaining bunkers of the old Joliet Arsenal dot the landscape. With walls over 12 inches of solid concrete, these bunkers were used to store explosives produced at the arsenal. Approximately 400 feet apart, they were accessible by a network of railroad tracks within the base.
The tracks have since been removed, but miles of trails wind through the prairie, giving hikers and riders on horseback access to this unique park.
The Elwood Ordnance Plant and Kankakee Ordnance Works opened in the early stages of World War II, even before the U.S. joined the battle. The two plants combined in 1945 to create the Joliet Arsenal. During WWII, and up until the late 1970s, the plant produced artillery shells, mines, bombs and other munitions. At it's peak, the plant employed over 10,000 workers, and produced over 900 million shells and bombs, along with 450 million metric tons of TNT. These items and their components were safely stored inside the concrete bunkers.
In 1942, a powerful explosion rocked the Elwood plant, killing dozens of workers. The blast was felt as far away as Waukegan, IL over 60 miles away.
Today, 19,000 acres of the arsenal have been reclaimed to form the Midewin National Tallgrass Praire. Other lands were used for industrial parks and the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.
What first appears to be a reflection of a rock canyon wall, isn't. It's a natural rock formation along the Kankakee River, and the river surface is about eight feet below the indented portion of the wall.
It was a fun walk along the rock wall to get to this point.