Walktober 2018

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake. ~Wallace Stevens, American poet

It’s time once again for Walktober, the group walk organized by Robin of Breezes at Dawn. It’s not too late to get in on the fun (Oct. 28 is the cutoff date), so step into your sneakers and join us!

For this year’s trek, I traveled to Lake Shelbyville, a reservoir located in Central Illinois formed by damming the Kaskaskia River. Some $57 million was set aside (a hefty chunk of change back in 1963!) for the project, which was dedicated in 1970.

Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Lake offers 11,000 acres of surface waters, 172 miles of shoreline, and 23,000 acres of surrounding public lands dedicated as state parks. More than 4 million visitors a year come here to swim, fish, boat, hike, camp, picnic, or sight-see.

What are we waiting for? Let’s start walking!

Obviously, we’re not going to walk all 172 miles. Let’s compromise by strolling along the 7-mile General Dacey Trail (named for the project’s former resident engineer). We’ll begin at the visitor’s center to secure maps and pamphlets:

Let’s go outside and see if we can find something interesting. I saw an indoor butterfly house, but sadly, no butterflies (probably the wrong time of year); some dying sedum and black-eyed susan; and some still-pretty purple flowers. Oh, and look at these colorful painted rocks:

Wait, there’s something cheery and yellow — a gourd, I believe:

Okay, no more dawdling. The temperature is in the low 50s, and there’s a stiffer wind than I like, so we’ll pick up the pace. Here’s a shot of the lake itself; notice our nicely-chipped walkway on the left:

Trees here are behind schedule in donning their red, yellow, and orange dresses. As you can see from those in the cemetery across the road, they’re mostly still green:

Now let’s cross over to the dam. We haven’t had too much water here, so only one spout is open. We’re 110 feet above the stream bed, if you’re curious. Oh, and use the stairs — don’t even try going down that slick concrete:

The spillway is popular with folks who fish. One fella I talked to said he hoped to catch catfish, bluegill, or mullet; two more men were floating along in a boat with their lines extended:

Here’s one of several sandy beaches. A host of birds flies up to greet us, yelling over the distance:

Lake Shelbyville provides flood control for the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers, fish and wildlife conservation, and water supply and water quality control:

We could walk for days and not see everything! Why not plan a trip for yourself:

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27 thoughts on “Walktober 2018

  1. Debbie, it looks like you had a PICTURE PERFECT blue-sky day for your Walktober to Lake Shelbyville! What a beeeautiful place! And isn’t it invigorating to go on a long walk; especially this time of the year?

    Like here, our trees are not donning their red, yellow, and orange dresses, either. But yours have more color than we do.

    Love the beach area, I bet it’s crowded with people during the summer months.

    That final shot of the sun is glorious!

    Thanks so much for sharing your walk with us, my friend. Thoroughly enjoyed! X

    • Ron, I saw some photos this morning on The Weather Channel from Maine, and the colors were spectacular! I’m not sure ours will get that way, but I can always hope!

      Thanks for coming along on my walk. Since I’d done my miles on a treadmill earlier in the morning, I refused to even try walking another 172 miles, ha! Still, you’re right, it was a gorgeous day, and there weren’t too many people out and about (I imagine that would be way different in July or August!)

      You know, that final photo is my favorite, too, and I promise, the only thing I did to it was resize it. I was pleasantly surprised to find it came out so artistic!! xo

  2. What a beautiful place. I laughed at the painted rocks. I remember painting rocks like that and giving them to my mother as a gift. I was very young at the time! I was interested in the fisherman trying for mullet. We have mullet, but they’re mostly used for bait. I wondered if he was catching them for the same purpose, or if they’re panfish, like the bluegill and catfish. (Now I want fried catfish.)

    I need so badly to get out and start really walking, and this will be the weekend to do it. The rain is going to be gone by tomorrow night or Friday morning, and we have a great weekend on tap. I’ll get out there and get after it, and thank you for the inspiration.

    • I’m glad I could inspire you to get some walking in, Linda. With winter approaching here (and possibly some rainy days for you), it’s important we take advantage of these gorgeous Fall days while we have them. I’m sure you’ve noticed how short our daytime hours are now!
      I imagine those painted rocks were the result of a kids’ outing of some sort. They must have had fun decorating them, and it’s nice they’re “preserved” beneath a tree for visitors to enjoy.
      I remember going to that very same spot as a kid — my dad nearly slipped right into the spillway trying to catch a fish!

  3. I’m disappointed you didn’t do the full 172 miles – you should have walked faster! ;) It looks lovely and you got a nice day for it even if it was a bit chilly. Did Dallas accompany you?

    • Oh, my, I wonder how long it would’ve taken me to walk 172 miles?!? I’d probably *still* be walking, ha! It’s like that joke: Grandma started walking when she was 62; now she’s 90 and we don’t know where she is!
      No, sorry, but poor Dallas had to stay home this time. His aging hips make even short walks a challenge. Something tells me dogs who like donuts as much as he does probably should walk more though!

  4. Pingback: Walktober 2018 – breezes at dawn

  5. Hi Debbie, I’m over from Robin’s Walktober. What an enormous reservoir this is with beautiful views everywhere you look. Since I live in hilly New England, I’m oggling at the fairly flat land that goes on forever! I love this meme as we get to armchair travel all over. ;)

    • Eliza, I love the idea of having 7.5 acres to roam — how blessed you are! Perhaps because the Midwest is so land-locked, I tend to gravitate to water. This immense lake was just the pick-me-up I needed, and Robin’s Walktober was a good “excuse” to explore it. Thanks for coming along!

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