Take nothing but your memories; leave nothing but your footprints.  — Native American Chief Seattle

I traveled to Douglas-Hart Nature Center in central Illinois for my Walktober, a group walk organized by Robin over at Breezes at Dawn. If you’d like to join in the fun, do so and link here so she can include you.

Comprising 65 acres of native Illinois prairie, woodland, and wetland, Douglas-Hart nature preserve is the brainchild of a Mattoon woman who envisioned turning farmland into a natural setting before the arrival of humans.

Through Helen Douglas-Hart’s foundation, people across the region can learn about nature, participate in hands-on educational programs, hike approximately two miles of groomed nature trails, explore a visitor’s center and library, and more.

Let’s get started on our hike!

First, look way up at these immense trees:

Then glance down at this purple-colored undergrowth:

Next is something they call a Bog Garden:

The native grasses, sadly, are turning dormant at this time of year. They must have been splendid in the Spring and Summer, though:

And see, volunteers have been busy making sure new grasses will soon proliferate:

This is the Dragonfly Pond. I didn’t see any of them!

What might look like a mess to us is Home Sweet Home to little critters:

The gazebo offers a nice resting place, and you can see the wetlands behind it:

Oh, look — these trees are showing some fall color:

And so are these Oaks:

The outdoor stage, I believe, is used for educational programs. School kids often travel to the center on field trips:

I might be partial to this pond, which also features a floating dock that I was standing on:

Did you enjoy our walk? I’d done 30 minutes on the treadmill beforehand, but there’s nothing quite like being outdoors to make you feel healthy and peaceful. I hope you agree!


36 thoughts on “Walktober

    • There were lots of volunteers working and one old guy who walks every morning. The weather was perfect — clear and chilly but no wind. Thanks for accompanying me!

    • Funny you should mention spiritual. There are lots of times when I pray while walking (and I’ve got a neighbor who does the same thing). Kinda nice knowing neighbors are praying for each other!

  1. Ooooo, Debbie….if I lived closer to you, I would have LOVED joining in this hike! In as much as I love citylife and living in a city, I so enjoy spending time out in nature.

    What a beautiful day you had for the walk – sunny, clear blue sky!

    Love the gazebo! And it’s such a delight to see some fall color because we haven’t had much so far. However, we just got a cold-snap, so the leaves should start changing soon.

    “there’s nothing quite like being outdoors to make you feel healthy and peaceful. I hope you agree!”

    Yes….I’m in total agreement! I much prefer long walks for exercise than a workout in a gym.

    Thanks so much for sharing your hike, my friend. ENJOYED!

    Have a great week!
    P.S. Fab photographs!

    • Ron, I had the BEST day for walking! It was in the low 50s, clear as a bell, with no wind to speak of. There were chirping birds ALL over the place — none who wanted their pictures taken! — and it was early enough that the general public hadn’t arrived.

      You should’ve seen all the pumpkins they’d used to decorate the place — as well as the stuffed headless bodies for Halloween. Every time I came upon one, I nearly jumped out of my skin!!

      Thanks for coming along with me — enjoy the rest of your week! xx

    • I’m glad you enjoyed our walk!! I thought about taking Dallas, but since I didn’t really know what I was getting into, I changed my mind. Now that I’ve been, I know he’d love it, too!

  2. This is a place I’d love. I suppose you’ve figured out by now that there’s not much I enjoy more than being out and about in nature, and this is a lovely site. I smiled to see a plant we share. The “purple colored undergrowth” is smartweed. Apparently it grows around here, but I saw it first in Arkansas. Here’s a little page about it.

    Some day maybe we’ll get to share a walk somewhere — is there a halfway point?!

    • Linda, thank you for the link to more info on smartweed — I really couldn’t have told you what that stuff was, and it’s nice to know. Funny how we can be so many miles apart yet still share common plants. A halfway point, I think, might be Little Rock. Glad you could accompany me on this walk, and I’ll look forward to one day doing one together!

  3. Thank you, Debbie, for letting us ‘walk’ with you – what a beautiful place! I especially like the pond, too (& what a nice reflection in the water caught in your pic!) 😎

  4. Debbie, I loved walking with you through your beautiful Douglas-Hart Nature Center. Your photos made me feel like I was right there. And I agree there is no better anecdote for what ails you than a walk outdoors.

  5. What a lovely walk! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing it with us, and for joining the Walktober event. I apologize for not coming around sooner. Somehow I missed your link/ping. I found it this morning (just in time for the wrap up!).

  6. Pingback: Let’s walk! – breezes at dawn

  7. Looks like you had a beautiful day for your walk, Debbie. It’s nice to have nature centers where kids and adults can learn about wildlife and different habitats. Thanks for sharing your walk with us!

    • Thanks for accompanying me, Eliza! I’m always glad to meet new friends here. Yes, it was just about perfect weather. A bit on the cool side, but after our hot summer, it felt so refreshing!

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