What’s in the Palos Woods?

Oh how I love a good hike in the woods!
What’s so great about a walk with a million trees that all look the same? Oh, let me show you…

It’s not just a bunch of trees….

Last week I went hiking in the Palos Woods, part of the Cook County Forest Preserve Zone 7 trail system. In the middle of the Palos Woods, this beautiful creek runs strong. I love to just sit by it and listen for a few moments, total tranquillity. You can almost feel the power of the water. One might think of water as being light, but with all that volume and velocity it really  is stronger than you think, shaping the landscape as we speak.

Oh BoY! Look what I found! Squill! What…??? You read it correctly, squill. A weird name but beautiful flower. All along the stream, the landscape was dotted with this beautiful blue spring wildflower. Millions of them. I was so excited. Not because I knew what they were, but because I hardly ever see blue flowers. It was only much later, after about an hour of research did I learn that this was squill (scilla siberica). I’m so excited about this wildflower that I think this is the next subject we are going to paint!

Oooo, I don’t know what this is….but I found it and I love it. Notice the bulbs protruding from the ground, supporting the leaves.

Oh my! That’s not a wildflower! It’s a dead raccoon!
I was truly fascinated with him not because he was dead, but because I literally walked inches from him and did not see him. It was only on my return passing that I noticed him. Total camouflage. Perhaps he didn’t survive the harsh winter? I do not know. No animal fed off of him, except for a single beetle underneath his head.

That’s much better. Look…it’s trillium, pre-bloom. I love it’s variegated leaves. Maybe it will be our second painting subject?

Do you see the lovely things that you can find in the woods? Aren’t you excited? It’s all created for you, for you to enjoy and love. The Palos Woods is a treasure holding forest waiting for us to explore it!


  1. First impression….

    The photo of the creek in the woods looks as though it is waiting for a few verses of poetry to tell its story.

    And….how come you keep finding all those poor dead creatures? First a Robin and now a raccoon? 🙂

    Spring is always a great time to visit the woods when everything is new and vibrant.

  2. Very cool what you see out in nature, particularly when you stop to REALLY look, y’know?
    Your raccoon reminds me of a Halloween afternoon in Canada years ago. While hiking w/a friend, I called him over to show him the lovely colors on a changing sapling. As I pointed down at it, he pointed out that there was also a deer’s jawbone right there. Standing right there, I hadn’t even seen it! (Needless to say I took it home & cleaned it up & I keep it as a reminder of that day–& to look more carefully!)

  3. Alan: How about it! What’s with the dead animals?!? I hope I don’t have that touch on them..ha ha ha! Maybe they are placed in my path to study and pass along? Ya never know! Thanks!

    Lana: Isn’t that the coolest?!? Imagin all the amazing things we miss on a daily hike! It helps me to really open my eyes and not daydream when walking (hard for me not to do!) so I can find some “treasures”!
    Thanks for sharing that cool story!

    Drowsey: Yes, squill is cool! Before that day I never heard of them either…so don’t feel bad 🙂 Thanks so much!

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