Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hiking with Aurora

I was pretty excited to be able to hike with Aurora again. This time I'd get to meet THE Tank!

This was a view of fog along the river bottom on my drive to KVR. This spot is considered a small backwater for the Kickapoo River. The highway twists and turns along this river with multiple bridges to cross. 
During floods most locals know which back roads to use to get around the low lying areas that have water across the highway.

I brought my crappy little IR camera with me just for fun along with my pocket camera. 

We hiked out of Willow Camp and headed down towards Old 131. I hadn't taken this particular route since last winter with Bill. It is a great hike to stay out of the winter winds.

Tank [in infrared]! 
One of the most entertaining labs I've ever encountered! 
And yes, he adores sticks. To see him in person was so much fun.

Tank was Mr. Playful and seemed to carry a smile on his dog face no matter what the situation he is in. I hate to admit it, but he made me miss my days with my big dogs. I just wanted to get down and hug the heck out of him.

The best part was having two vehicles so we could park in one spot and hike to another spot without having to do loops. Here is a screen shot from an app on my 'stupid' phone called map my walk. It works pretty decently and for a free app, it isn't too bad.

This is one of my favorite spots to stop and just take in. 
This spot I call. The Ponds.
There are actually two sets of ponds. This is on the west side of the trail.
First shot is in Infrared, 
second done with my pocket camera.

I tried so hard to get a good shot of the neat old oak on the edge of the pond, but it didn't really turn out very well. 

Here is the Quiet Kickapoo. It is a very deceiving river. It is mostly very shallow and slow. Except where it isn't. Two years ago two women had to be 'water' rescued not far from here when they got tangled up in a log jam.
The Kickapoo will trick you. With a few inches of rain it can become a raging river that covers roads. The Reserve was supposed to be a site where they would build a dam to stop the river from flooding those places south.

It never went through and we now have all these beautiful acres of land to explore. 50+ miles of trails to hike. I have two trails left to do before I've walked all of them. 

Most all of KVR's trails are well maintained, not something that was done when I rode mules on it in the 1990's. Back then the land was a free for all with local kids and their 4 wheel Monster Trucks and winches. Parties were held down near old Campsite G with a rope off the bluff to swing out and drop into the river.

I recall the Rainbow People overtaking the place one year and riding through a camp of drunk, high, and naked people ... some of them covered in Kickapoo Mud.

KVR has an interesting history. 

Now it is quite tame and well kept. 

We saw some pheasant hunters. I had to chuckle. The one dog we saw was hugely fat and obviously still hunting with his master. Both master and dog were aged, but still out there. 
I have no clue as how pheasant hunting even works. I had a coach at CrossFit who hunted with his lab/pheasant dog and he posted photos, but other than that? No clue.

KVR shares the land with hunters. In fact every county park allows hunting on its lands. It is a huge attraction for tourism and locals which is good for our local towns and B&B's.

Me? I used to hunt raccoon with hounds at night. I always thought that hunting the trickster at night was more fun. Those days are over of course. But I still pause if I hear a hound baying in October.

Whoops...that was way off track.

Our hike ended with about 4 miles of walking and looking around. We stopped at this last pond which is another one of my favorites because of the reflections it has to offer.

When it isn't wet [rarely], there is a trail that goes right around the edge of this pond. I was able to grab a few shots of Canada Geese nesting on one of those clumps of grass this spring.

Here is the same pond in the middle of summer but at sunrise with a lot of fog!

I guess I never will tire of visiting this place. 
It changes its looks with the weather and seasons.

January 1st I get to map out my plan of getting all of the trails hiked and turn in my paperwork for the Trail Challenge.

I have only two trails left to explore that I haven't done before. So I think I'll be well prepared for the challenge.

It is always more fun when I can share it with someone else. 

I hope we can do this together again. 


  1. Great photos of yet another fun hike!! Loved our time & sharing KVR with you! Thank you for being so wonderful with Tank (and me). Dogs can read a person instantly, he really liked you! You could have tried to hug him. Tank wouldn't care, but he squirms away and grabs - well, you know - a stick. Tank is only cuddly late night/early morning, and none stop energy in between.

    I really enjoy seeing the differences/similarities in our photos and take-away from our hikes. I can't wait to look at mine. I feel so fortunate to have a friend like you!

    1. Blushes...
      Yes, a stick of course!
      I also enjoy our conversations, you keep my eyes open at all times to different ideas and perspectives which I think make for a good friendship.

  2. So glad you had a great hike with Aurora and Tank! What fun for you to have someone to enjoy a hike with! Your ponds look like ours a bit of color yet!

    1. I really enjoyed looking at the colors and hiking this trail. It is not full of rocks, roots, and hazards so walking and talking work well there.
      Tank is the Bomb.

  3. Was never very good at pheasant hunting. ( translation: never shot one.) but that did not stop us from trying. My cousin had a Cocker Spaniel and "lucky" was a great flusher...but not a pointer or tracker. (Translation: he would scare the pheasant up miles ahead of us, and then look surprised when we didn't shoot.) I liked squirrel and rabbits mostly, because we did not need a dog. Might have been fun had we had a dog that knew what he was supposed to do, though. Are there any Beavers in the river? Beaver dams are supposed to keep rivers from flooding violently. Mostly because they "pre-flood" the area ahead of the hard rains. Also they help store the water during drought. Eco-systems in action! So fun.

    1. Yes but our flash floods destroy beaver dams. This summer the flood was 12ft high on the Kickapoo and 5 or more feet on some creeks.
      The beavers just move to a new location.

      I enjoy watching any trained dog work and enjoy my own dog who thinks he is working! :)