Monday, September 19, 2011

Salt Creek Trail, Mile 0

I forget now who described meeting Eleanor Mondale, but he was a fellow in my high school English (?) class (senior year? That would put it in '78 or '79), and he was a casual, only-in-class acquaintance. I got the impression from what he said that their meeting didn't quite rise to the level of a "date," perhaps because of a persistent Secret Service presence. I don't remember the exact circumstances of the meeting, though if I had to guess I would say that his parents were locally important donors to the Democratic Party -- even in Alamo Heights, there must have been a few such.

Anyway, that's my Eleanor Mondale story, tenuous as it is. Hadn't heard anything about her in years, but it's never good news when you hear about someone dying at only 51 -- someone, in theory, you could have gone to school with.

It was finally warm again on Saturday, so I made my way to the Ned Brown Forest Preserve (Busse Woods) for some walking. But on pleasant Saturdays at Busse Woods, a walker like me shares the trail with a lot of people who have taken to their bicycles. I can't begrudge them space on the trail, but bicyclists whizzing by every other minute or so makes for a less relaxing stroll. So I walked down the Salt Creek Trail, which connects with the main trail at the Salt Creek Trail's Mile 0, but which doesn't attract nearly as many bike riders.

The scenery's pretty much the same as on the more crowded trail. This time of the year, that means a still-summer green tinged with goldenrod. The much-maligned goldenrod, taking the rap for ragweed pollen.

In some spots, a lot of goldenrod.

But that's not all. I don't know this species, but I like its looks.

Also, a few manmade items. Such as one of the more obscure plaques anywhere in the Chicago area.

Actually, the rock and its plaque aren't on the Salt Creek Trail, but on the main Busse Woods trail, very near the Mile 0 sign. The plaque bears the shield of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and says:

Illinois Section Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement - 1986

Upper Salt Creek Watershed Floodwater Management Plan

I'm sure it was the crowning achievement of someone's career.

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At 7:36 PM, Blogger Geof Huth said...

It's teasel.

And Eleanor Mondale was my age! Okay, a few months older than I.

Not sure what to do for the next few months...



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