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Posts Tagged ‘Argyle Lake State Park’

I haven’t blogged in a few days, but I feel weeks behind on the news!  I’m going to make like the top-of-the-hour headlines and give you the Blog in Brief!

Christmas Trail Run

Trail Running at Argyle Lake

All of my family events around Christmas were over by the 24th, so my husband and I headed out to Lake Argyle State Park in Colchester, IL (1 hour from Quincy) to run some trails for Christmas Day.  Here’s what I learned: I love that park but it needs a lot of work.  The stairs and small bridges on portions of the trail are broken, slippery and dangerous.  The lake is beautiful but the trails surrounding it are difficult to follow due to poor markings at intersections.  They’re also full of stumps and roots that make trying to run ill-advised.  It’s still a nice place for a hike, but you’re going to want to watch your feet.  The highlight of the day came courtesy of the skies surrounding the park, where we spotted and photographed some immature bald eagles and a few red tailed hawks.  In related news: I need to buy a pair of trail running shoes, as my old road shoes have no grip at all on wet leaves.

NuFit to Offer Winter Cycling Fusion

If you’re like me, you worked hard to become a better cyclist all summer and fall, but this winter weather has you already wondering what kind of shape you’ll be in when spring rolls around.  NuFit for You of Quincy is offering a 12 Week Winter Cycling Fusion course beginning January 7th that’s sure to have you in better shape this spring than ever before!  The class meets from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays and includes professional instruction, cross-training in Pilates and yoga, an education component, guest speakers and strength conditioning.   The class also includes VO2 Max testing before and after the 12 weeks to help you find your optimal training zones and also to see how much you’ve improved over the course of the class.  For more information, contact NuFit for you at nufit@nufitforyou.com, http://www.cyclingfusion.com/winter-training/ or call 217-779-5053

RAGBRAI

Speaking of cycling, I’ve got big news! I’ve signed up for the Register’s Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa, better known as RAGBRAI.  I’ll be riding with team #42: The Keokuk Bike Club.  There’s still time to join up with the Keokuk Club if you’re interested in making the 6-day, 500 mile trip across the great state of Iowa for the traditional tire-dip in the Mississippi with me this July.  I’ll write a full blog about RAGBRAI in the next week or two, but there’s no time like the present to start thinking about this ride.  It’s the oldest bike tour in the country and draws participants from all over the world.  The number of participants is limited and you must enter a lottery to get a spot on the ride unless you sign up with a team.  Contact Jim Vincent, President of the Keokuk Club, jjvincent (at) iowatelecom (dot) net for more information on joining the team.

Winter Running Events

There are two fun running events that have made my calendar for the beginning of 2012.  The first is the Frozen Buns Run 5K and 10K in St. Louis on January 14th.  The event starts and ends at Blueberry Hill on the Delmar Loop (near the Pageant Theater) and funds will benefit the St. Louis Triathlon Club.  Sign up is $20 ($30 on the day of the event) and includes the after party with live music at Blueberry Hill!

The second event is the Catch Cupid if You Can 5K in Hannibal, MO.  This 5K fun run/walk is 10 a.m. Feb. 11, 2012; at Riverview Park in Hannibal, MO. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the “Kids in Motion” program. Register by Jan. 27, 2012, to be guaranteed a T-shirt. Every female participant will receive a rose at the end of the course!

January Roadrunners After Dark

The Roadrunners After Dark have chosen Jimbeana’s Restaurant at 130 South 10th Street in Quincy as a meeting location for January.  The informal group welcomes new runners.  We’ll be running from the parking lot at 6:45 each Tuesday night and then meeting back at Jimbeana’s 45 minutes or so later for food and laughs.  Most nights there are several routes ranging from 3 miles to 6 miles in length to choose from.

Adventure Foot Contest Announced

Your Adventure Foot could be Blog Famous! Upload a picture of your foot having an adventure to the Adventure Foot Facebook Page before February 12th, 2012 you could win a $20 Visa Gift Card!! I’ll choose one winner via random number generator from all of the entries.  The only rule is that you must click “like” on the Adventure Foot Facebook page! See the Photo Gallery for more info.

Disk Golf Tournament

Hannibal Parks and Rec will be holding an Ice Bowl Disk Golf Tournament on Feburary 18th at Huckleberry Park.  The $10 sign-up fee will benefit the Douglas Food Pantry.

Young Bald Eagle over Colchester, IL

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Eastern Fence Lizards can be found in Sand Ridge State Forest.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I don’t yet have a plan. I know, I’m getting to it a little late, but here’s the thing: there are so many great options.  The weather is finally going to cooperate and give us some sunshine, and I’m ready to hit the trail for some hiking, but where to go? Here are the four ideas I’m tossing around — Maybe you can help pick:

Siloam Springs State Park

It’s the closest park to Quincy and has hiking trails that are just lovely.  The boat house opens this weekend, so we could rent canoes or a john boat and enjoy Crabapple Lake.  I know there are lots of nesting birds around the edges of the lake too, so maybe I’d get a chance to see some fuzzy baby geese or something!  Siloam is always a good choice for a near by adventure.

Argyle Lake State Park

Justin Sievert at Argyle Lake State Park in both the winter and the spring.

This state park is also quite close to Quincy.  It’s just outside of Colchester, IL, and is one of the area’s best-kept secrets.  The park features nice amenities including nice spots to camp and the hiking trails make different loops around and near the lake.  There have been several improvements to the park lately, including the addition of stairs on parts of the trail that were in areas that are steep and can wash out in the rain.  There is also a self-guided interpretative trail near the lake with info-graphics that describe the lake ecosystem. I love a good info-graphic!  This park is also one of the few in the area with designated mountain biking trails for the intrepid weekend warrior!

Sand Ridge State Forest

At 7,200 acres Sand Ridge is the largest state park in Illinois. It’s in Forrest City, Illinois, which is in the general vicinity of Peoria.  This park is wholly unique to Illinois.  It is a backpacker’s dream with over 26 miles of trails and 120 miles of fire lanes that can all be explored. There are registered campgrounds as well as rustic backcountry sites that can make this park a real outdoors experience.  The ecosystem of the park is unlike the rest of the state.  Thanks to the receding glaciers of the last ice age dumping millions of tons of sand on the area, as well as a prehistoric dry period in the state’s history, the forest is actually considered temperate desert or “Sand Prairie.”  The unusual make-up of the soil supports plants and animals unseen anywhere else in the state.  There are badgers, pocket gophers, fence lizards, prickly pear cactus, bur oak, and many more unusual species.  The area is also known for its bird life and includes semi-tropical migratory birds like indigo buntings, verry, ovenbirds, and scarlet tanager, along with Illinois game birds like quail, dove and pheasant.

Cuivre River State Park

Question Mark Butterfly at Argyle Lake State Park.

I blogged about this Troy, Missouri park just a few weeks ago, but I just can’t say enough about it.  The trails are great, and the wildlife is even better.  The campsites are nice and flat and all have fire pits and grill covers, and maybe best of all, there are shower facilities that are included when you pay the $12 fee to camp.  Now that it’s warm, the lake and beach will be open.  That means swimming and lounging around to soak up some rays!  The park rents paddleboats and canoes, so there are plenty of ways to beat the heat.  As if all of those things weren’t enough, Ranger Talks start this weekend, and you can listen to the experts tell you more about the wildlife of the park.  Who knows, I may even bring my bike if we go to this park, because the roads through the park also make a lovely ride.

So there you have it.  It’s a good list of options, and now all I need to do is make a choice.  I said this on my first blog, but it’s worth saying again: we live in amazing part of the country.  All that’s asked of us is to “Get Out” and explore it. Have a great weekend everyone!

Links and directions:

Siloam Springs State Park http://tinyurl.com/siloamsprings

Argyle Lake State Park http://tinyurl.com/argylelake

Sand Ridge State Forest: http://tinyurl.com/sandridgeil

Laura Sievert

Cuivre River State Park http://mostateparks.com/park/cuivre-river-state-park

Original Post May 27, 2011

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