My buddies from work Terry Wilmarth, Eric Bohm, Lee Baugh, Danielle (?), Sayantan Chakravorty, Chee Wai Lee, Layla, and I all hiked out to Clinton Lake, a nearby park, on Sunday, May 16.
To get there, you head up I-74 toward Peoria, take a left at Farmer City, Illinois (0011), turn right at the grain silo at Parnell, Illinois (0012), and proceed through the cornfields (and oil derricks!) until you come down into a valley and cross a bridge at 1693 E Swisher Hill (0013).
The North Fork trailhead is south of the parking lot (0014). We passed a land leach (0015) and zillions of snails on the trail. After an abandoned cabin, heralded by its (hole-free!) outhouse, look for a (manmade?) lake covered in horrifically green algal growth. As we passed by, cotton fluff from the trees was blowing by in a most scenic fashion (0016 and movie).
The lake itself is quite appealing (0019), although there are few opportunities to get near the water. I was suprised by the quantity of trees with burls (0020-0021); it's tough not to wonder about leaks from the nearby nuclear power plant (0025-0026), whose electrical lines radiate out in all directions. I'd never noticed how high-voltage lines occasionally crackle, like a bug zapper; supposedly this phenomenon is related to sizzling pockets of water trapped in corroded parts of the wire.
Like many man-made lakes, there are a number of snaggy parts (0023), one of which looks distinctly ducklike (0024). I was suprised at how quickly we'd eaten up 5 miles of trail, with the bridge across the lake marking the halfway point (0027), along with a boat launch (0028-0029).
My favorite spot was a shady patch of grass right on the waterfront (0030-0039), with three decaying stumps just out of reach offshore. As we continued on, we passed a large grassy area that shone like a savannah (0040-0041).
The end of the trail is marked by the old Swisher Hill steel bridge, which the sign (0042) claims is from 1898. The bridge is substantial, made of riveted 1/4" steel in a complex spaceframe arrangement (0043-0045), with a fresh coat of modern silver paint.
The trip back was the usual cornfields (0046).