Rock Flipping Day at Horsetail

Yesterday September 7th was International Rock Flipping Day. Thanks to my friend Dave from Osage+Orange, I found out just in time! What is International Rock Flipping Day? That’s when you turn over any large rock you can, to discover what lives underneath, but you have to place it back the way you found it…that’s the rules!

I decided to force my son to walk with me at Horsetail Lake to go rock flippin’. He didn’t have a choice. Teenagers are so hilarious. They hate what you love, oh so they say…but force them to take a hike and about 10 minutes into the trip they’re saying, “Mom! Did you see that…..” and “Mom! Look what’s over there!” Yeah, they pretend to hate what you love…but we know better.

Horsetail Lake is region 7 of the Chicago Cook County Forest Preserve District. The trails are labeled by color and just look what we spotted:

I love this shot of the sun peaking through the trees on the trail. This is the yellow trail. We started on black, followed the brown trail and looped around the yellow trail back to Horsetrail Lake.

Let’s get to some rock flipping!

We didn’t find a ton of large rocks, but this one uncovered a few species. Here you can see 2 bugs, 1 spider, and a tiny snail thing. Look real hard. The interesting thing was, I was expecting to find more on the ground, but they were all clinging to the rock!

Here is a close up of Mr. Spider and Mr. Bug. I will put you guys back where you belong! I hope you weren’t too scared when you saw this big human disrupt your afternoon nap!

Did we find any horse tails at Horsetail Lake?
Why yes we did:

Here is a group of very happy campers, enjoying the end of summer with a treck though the woods on their lovely horses. I count 4 visible horse tails and 7 actual horses.

As we end our enjoyable trail hike I ask, “Will you go with me next time?”

“Nope.” My son replies, “Too boring.”

Oh but I know better. You’ll enjoy it the next time I force you to go as well!

Rock-Flipping Day Reports

Pohanginapete (Pohangina Valley, Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Blaugustine (London, England)
Nature Remains (Ohio, USA)
Pensacola Daily Photo (Florida, USA)
KatDoc’s World (Ohio, USA)
Notes from the Cloud Messenger (Ontario, Canada)
Brittle Road (Dallas, Texas)
Sherry Chandler (Kentucky, USA)
osage + orange (Illinois, USA)
Rock Paper Lizard (British Columbia, Canada)
The Crafty H (Virginia, USA)
Chicken Spaghetti (Connecticut, USA)
A Passion for Nature (New York, USA)
The Dog Geek (Virginia, USA)
Blue Ridge blog (North Carolina, USA)
Bug Girl’s Blog (Michigan, USA)
chatoyance (Austin, Texas)
Riverside Rambles (Missouri, USA)
Pines Above Snow(Maryland, USA)
Beth’s stories (Maine, USA)
A Honey of an Anklet (Virginia, USA)
Wanderin’ Weeta (British Columbia, Canada)
Fate, Felicity, or Fluke (Oregon, USA)
The Northwest Nature Nut (Oregon, USA)
Roundrock Journal (Missouri, USA)
The New Dharma Bums (California, USA)
The Marvelous in Nature (Ontario, Canada)
Via Negativa (Pennsylvania, USA)
Mrs. Gray’s class, Beatty-Warren Middle School (Pennsylvania, USA)
Cicero Sings (British Columbia, Canada)
Pocahontas County Fair (West Virginia, USA)
Sleeping in the Heartland (Midwestern U.S.)


  1. Hi Chris –
    Sorry for the looong gap between visits. You know how it is…

    I have a teenager too and he is a bit older so more tolerant, but I so remember this stage. They hate everything and claim to be bored but ask so many questions and never stop going! Great post. Love the bug – it’s a wood louse, Must be some old damp wood nearby? Tree stump?

  2. Yep, you’re a stern task master! Hah! I’m glad you had that time together and I hope you make it a tradition. Next thing you know the grandkids will be tagging along. :~)

  3. Pingback: Sherry Chandler

  4. Yesterday September 7th was International Rock Flipping Day. Thanks to my friend Dave from Osage+Orange, I found out just in time!” (Does this thing like HTML..??)

    Me too… found out just in time that is.

    Checking out all the Midwestern participant entries.

    Yeah, teenagers are like that. Have/had three of our own.


  5. Lana: ooooh, painting’s fun too! Weeee!

    CrazyCath: Yes! There are fallen tree stumps and a little water near by…you’re a smarty! Thanks for the bug ID!

    Dave: Ha! Who would have thought…you’d dedicate your life to something you once thought boring…maybe there’s hope for my children yet! 🙂

    PJ: I’ll force that tradition! He, he, he. Believe it or not I have threatened my children already that I will brain wash their children into being nature freaks, they’re kids will beg to go for a hike…I LOVE IT!!!! 🙂

    Sherry: Thanks! I don’t know exactly what kind of spider it was? Just as long as it doesn’t crawl on me, we can be friends!

    Tom: Wasn’t rock turning fun? Teenagers – punish them with nature! HA!
    I love to see all the things people found under their rocks, even Elvis! 🙂

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