Tag Archive | beach

Illinois State Beach Park ~ What a View!!

Last weekend we went to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park to camp. We got right in since many folks weren’t thinking about swimming in May… at least not here. Lake Michigan doesn’t get warm enough for swimming until early July. We did walk by the beach and I could walk with my toes in the water, for a short time. No more of me was going in! Brrr.

This is a IDNR (Illinois Deptment of Natural Resources) park, one of the most protected areas in Illinois. I love coming here, as there is such a diversity of plants, animals, birds and insects. We also had a great view of the dormant Zion nuclear plant. Awesome…?

General Information and History

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650 plus different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With the threat of industry progressing from the south and sand mining ravaging nearby dunes, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”.

Our bedroom is in the back of the camper and furnished with a large window to gaze out of. You can barely see it to the right of the photo, however there is a small window right where my head is. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a window less than 3″ inches from your face. The fresh, night air is wonderful to sleep by.

The real view, not through the window. Lake Michigan.

     

We were back to balancing rocks. Here’s a simple one that took a bit of patience.  ||  I don’t think anyone was home.

This is the coolest thing. It’s an ice fishing house, that’s also a travel trailer! It’s on hydraulics and lowers to the ground / ice for fishing. So neat.

As far back as 1982, the federal government began collecting a nuclear-waste fee, paid by electricity users through fees tacked on to their bills and earmarked to pay for disposal of the radioactive spent fuel rods. Starting in 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy was supposed to start picking up spent fuel rods and taking them for storage, according to Everett Redmond, senior director of fuel cycle and technology policy for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a power industry trade group. But there was no ready storage option to hold them. So power companies were forced to store more and more of them at their own facilities and eventually successfully sued to recover costs for this storage.  Chicago Sun-Times 2017

Someone likes to dig.

     

We keep trying to outdo each other on the rock stacking. Well played husband, well played.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park – Part Deux

We were back to camp at Illinois State Beach Park.

This area is a very different area than anywhere else in Midwest. The plants are very unique and were fun to find.
image

image

Juniperus horizontalis – Creeping Juniper
In 2006, creeping juniper was listed as endangered in Illinois.

image

Right up there, crawling through the sand… In Illinois!!

image

Small white flower = Moehringia laterfolia ~ Bluntleaf sandwort

The white spiky plant is a mystery. I’m not even sure where to start =O It’s killing me tho… someone save me?!?

image

Looking North towards Milwaukee…

image

Looking South towards Chicago…

image

I’ll link a later post here about these rocks…

image

image

Not a rock a moss ball!

image

Zion nuclear power plant. Still standing… It was supposed to be gone in 2014.

image

Umm, I’m no engineer, however I wouldn’t use this ramp.

image

More juniper… creeping.

image

Breck and Lake Michigan

image

Old beach house.

image

image

image

image

image

image

Lupine, lupine everywhere!

image

Asparagus!

image

Red-Wing blackbird

image

image

Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible. Pretty kewl eh, Cacti in Illinois!

image

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories

It’s time again for the Monday Memories Post! AKA ~ Ilex buys a day of blogging by repeating old ones…

It’s Time to Hunt For Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard can be found growing almost anywhere, but prefers a shady location. Procuring this herb is as easy as traveling to your nearest forest preserve. Removing native plants from protected parks is illegal, but because of garlic mustard’s invasive status, most parks will encourage you to take all you’d like.

Spring rain has made the ground soft which helps with removal of garlic mustard’s tap root. This root only goes down for about an inch, then takes an abrupt turn. When you pull slowly, you can feel which way the root goes and pull accordingly. If all of it is not removed, it will grow back like a dandelion. It will also start blooming in our area soon, making it easier to find.

image

Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper on the beach of Lake Michigan

Camping at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach – State Park

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650+ different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With industry progressing from the south, sand mining ravaging the dunes and parts of the surrounding rural area succumbing to pasture and homesteads, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

image

Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area, and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”

Use Landscaping to Save on Energy Bills

Landscaping can significantly reduce the costs of heating and cooling the home. Scan_Pic0002Some well-placed shade trees, evergreens and shrubs not only look great, but also keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Not much solar energy enters our homes through the walls and roof  because of the insulation. Sun shining through the windows accounts for about half of the unwanted heat in a house during the summer. Twice as much solar energy enters through the east and west windows as the south windows, particularly if there is a roof overhang on the south side of Scan_Pic0001the house.

The sun and wind both affect the temperature of residences in winter. A substantial amount of warmth can be gained from the sun shining through a southern facing window in the winter when the sun is low in the sky. East and west windows can also provide solar energy gain in the winter. The solar energy from the windows may provide 4-18% of the total energy needed to heat the home. Although, escaping warm air, along with cold wind penetrating a home, increase the heating costs and account for 24-39% of the heating requirements.

Pixel or Paper? Is Electronic Media More Environmental?

Implied is the assumption that going digital is better for the environment. However, the paper industry argues this. They are pushing companies to remove these claims, which they says are misleading consumers and are not substantiated by adequate research.

The non-profit, Two Sides, an organization representing the paper and print industry, recently published a press release that it has convinced many major U.S. companies to remove their “anti-paper” green claims promoting e-billing as more environmentally friendly than paper.

“The goal is to put an end to unsubstantiated and misleading claims that electronic communications are more environmentally friendly than print and paper.” Riebel said.

Although, Two Sides has a stake in preserving the paper industry, the organization’s movement does raise an important question: Is going paperless really better for the environment?

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Lake Kegonsa State Park Wisconsin

image

Some GEOLOGY!
Before the last ice age, which began about 1 million years ago, a large river ran through this area. Many geologists believe it was the ancient Wisconsin River. This large river carved a deep, wide valley into the thick layer of Cambrian sandstone, which was deposited on the bottom of a great inland sea that covered most of Wisconsin over 6 million years ago.
Although this area has been overrun with four distinct giant glaciers originating from Canada, the last of these glacial ice blankets called the Wisconsin Great Glacier did most of the work.
As the glacier retreated, it filled in the Old River Valley with lots of sand, gravel and boulders that dammed the melting ice and formed the famous Four Lakes of the Madison area: Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa.
This chain of beautiful lakes has only existed during the last twelve thousand to fifteen thousand years and is located on glacial debris many feet above the old, buried valley floor. The four lakes are connected by the present day Yahara River.
The large marsh northeast of the park was part of the lake right after the glacier left this region and for the last 12,000 years it has accumulated sand, silt and marsh vegetation, filling it.
Lake Kegonsa now covers 3,209 acres and its deepest point is 32 feet.

image

Yarrow or Achilles

image

Monarda

image

Mullen

image

Milkweed
image

I actually saw this spider as I walked the path.  It was about the size of a quarter.
About all I know it is in the crab spider family. Freaky!!

image

image

There is a dog beach/swim area.  The dogs are allowed off leash in the water.

image

Oreo attemped swimming with mommy holding the harness up.

image

Breck says belly height is where I draw the line.

image

Who threw a Frisbie? Daaang! Almost worth learning to swim!  I think I will try doggy water wings… surely Amazon sells them,  they have everything.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plants

Camping at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park

About the Area:

This weekend we went to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park to camp for the first time. This is a IDNR (Illinois Dept. Natural Resources) park, one of the most protected areas in Il. It’s located in Zion, kinda a rough neighborhood, but you don’t even realize where you are after entering the park. We also had a great view of the dormant Zion nuclear plant. Awesome…?

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650+ different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit  Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With industry progressing from the south, sand mining ravaging the dunes and parts of the surrounding rural area succumbing to pasture and homesteads, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area, and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”

Our Weekend:

The weather was bleak, raining Friday, blustery Saturday until noon when we took our walk, and 41F at 10 pm, when the roaring fire couldn’t keep us warm.

It was also our first trip ‘dry camping’ or there is no H2O hookup, so we had to fill our 40 gallon tank before we left. Turns out, they had good city water being piped in where we could have filled here, but when the water supply is questionable, byow.

image

Site #248. Great large, well shaded site.

image

Yup, our bad, forgot about the raccoons. Luckily they were able to open zippers instead of chew threw things. They did nibble a bit though. Breck in the back ground.

image

No alcohol, pets, ass or fires… NO FUN!!! But wait! There’s asbestos?!? Now it’s a party!

image

The old beach house.

image

The old Zion nuclear power plant. It’s been closed 25 years & is supposed to be completely removed by 2014. No nuclear material is supposed to be there.

image

A shot from the other side. They still do have a security checkpoint. We also found a geocache right here.

image

Honestly, we were bored with this part of the walk.

image

I’m guessing this is something cool, but not sure what it is… Thoughts anyone?

image

I thought this was strawberry, but it didn’t look right. I’ve got strawberry all over my yard. I now think it’s Rubus Flagellaris – Common Dewberry

image

Morel mushroom – Didn’t know it was edible until I googled. Noted for later!! This was in a R.O.W.

image

Polygonatum – Solomon’s Seal

image

Stumped? – Anyone have any thoughts?

image

Equisetum – horsetail, snake grass or puzzlegrass

image

Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible. Pretty kewl eh, Cacti in Illinois!

image

Looking north, up Lake Michigan.

image

Juniperus horizontalis – Creeping Juniper
In 2006, creeping juniper was listed as endangered in Illinois.

image

Geocache!
We’re sorta private people and don’t post photos on-line, but we use our wedding rings (dogs also) as talisman for logging photo geocaches.

image

Rain-

image

bow! It was parallel to the beach. Gorgeous!

image

The deer eye-balled us, but didn’t really care that we were there.

image

Oammmmm.

If you can get out here to camp or even a walk, I recommend it!!

Enjoy the day & keep on planting!
Ilex