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niveker

Odd, Strange, Unique Objects, in the woods and on the water...

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Weather here is finally more conducive to short morning hikes - 

an unusually clean campfire site just a bit off the beaten path:

IMG20220911081739a.jpg

the last remnants of an old railroad bridge:

IMG20220911091655b.jpg

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On my hike yesterday I came across two of these fenced areas in a recently logged section of a Wildlife Management Area - part of a forestry management program, maybe?

IMG20221030093127-cr.jpg

IMG20221030093649-cr.jpg

IMG20221030094142.jpg

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Used to hike a trail in a hilly area just outside Chicago.Is hilly because of the Des Plaines river valley and Moraine valley.I did not know what a moraine was for years but it is where the glaciers that carved out the great lakes literally stopped.Not really hills just long ridges,miles long that are not solid rock but piled rock pushed by the glaciers that receded 10;000 years ago.That is correct the great lakes very young in geological time.

Here is the weird part.A scenic 2 lane road runs about 8 miles along 1 of these ridges east to west.There is a 3 mile long slough on the south side and a wooded moraine ridge to the north.Looks a lot more like Pennsylvania or  Kentucky than Flat assed Illinois.This is all county forest preserve land ,1000s of acres of it surrounding Chicago.At the halfway point of this scenic section of road there is a pulloff and a ravine that goes uphill along a little stream that might have minnows and crayfish but not much else.You can hike along a well worn path.There is a junction in the path at about 3/4 of a mile.A hill with a tombstone that reads  OUR DOG 1890 something.One day i had my 2yo son on my shoulders on a late winter day and took the less traveled fork to the right and we climbed pretty quickly to the top of the ridge.The path opened up to a paved road with old 8 foot barbed wire fences along it.

Walked the road about a block,remains of old guard house,many large building foundations .Fed Gov signage everywhere.Probably about 10 acres or more of flat ground with asphalt roads with some good sized trees growing in the pave roads,Then i saw an area with a large boulder with a paragraph engraved into it.

               WORLD'S FIRST NUCLEAR REACTOR

  WAS REBUILT AT THIS SITE IN 1943 AFTER INTIAL OPERATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

THIS REACTOR(CP-2)AND THE FIRST HEAVY WATER MODERATED REACTOR(CP-3)WERE MAJOR FACILITIES

AROUND WHICH DEVELOPED THE ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY

THIS SITE WAS RELEASED BY THE LABORATORY IN 1956 AND THE US ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISION

THEN BURIED THE REACTORS HERE

I cane across this in the mid 80s or so .I had always heard there was something in these hills. Al Capone actually had a golf course nearby.I had fished this area extensively with my dad and as a teenager we rode our bikes from the city  15 miles or so to fish some nearby lakes.A town on the Des Plaines river and the I&M canal near this area has always been a hotbed of local ghost stories and general weird happenings as well multiple dead bodies found in the trunks of cars and sunk in the river.A common Chicago Mob practice,I used to drive by this place on my way to work and always thought it was the ridge screwing with my radio in my truck.Was always a great escape from the city when i was young but always a weird vibe in the area,

 

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13 hours ago, jcozzz said:

Used to hike a trail in a hilly area just outside Chicago.Is hilly because of the Des Plaines river valley and Moraine valley.I did not know what a moraine was for years but it is where the glaciers that carved out the great lakes literally stopped.Not really hills just long ridges,miles long that are not solid rock but piled rock pushed by the glaciers that receded 10;000 years ago.That is correct the great lakes very young in geological time.

Here is the weird part.A scenic 2 lane road runs about 8 miles along 1 of these ridges east to west.There is a 3 mile long slough on the south side and a wooded moraine ridge to the north.Looks a lot more like Pennsylvania or  Kentucky than Flat assed Illinois.This is all county forest preserve land ,1000s of acres of it surrounding Chicago.At the halfway point of this scenic section of road there is a pulloff and a ravine that goes uphill along a little stream that might have minnows and crayfish but not much else.You can hike along a well worn path.There is a junction in the path at about 3/4 of a mile.A hill with a tombstone that reads  OUR DOG 1890 something.One day i had my 2yo son on my shoulders on a late winter day and took the less traveled fork to the right and we climbed pretty quickly to the top of the ridge.The path opened up to a paved road with old 8 foot barbed wire fences along it.

Walked the road about a block,remains of old guard house,many large building foundations .Fed Gov signage everywhere.Probably about 10 acres or more of flat ground with asphalt roads with some good sized trees growing in the pave roads,Then i saw an area with a large boulder with a paragraph engraved into it.

               WORLD'S FIRST NUCLEAR REACTOR

  WAS REBUILT AT THIS SITE IN 1943 AFTER INTIAL OPERATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

THIS REACTOR(CP-2)AND THE FIRST HEAVY WATER MODERATED REACTOR(CP-3)WERE MAJOR FACILITIES

AROUND WHICH DEVELOPED THE ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY

THIS SITE WAS RELEASED BY THE LABORATORY IN 1956 AND THE US ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISION

THEN BURIED THE REACTORS HERE

I cane across this in the mid 80s or so .I had always heard there was something in these hills. Al Capone actually had a golf course nearby.I had fished this area extensively with my dad and as a teenager we rode our bikes from the city  15 miles or so to fish some nearby lakes.A town on the Des Plaines river and the I&M canal near this area has always been a hotbed of local ghost stories and general weird happenings as well multiple dead bodies found in the trunks of cars and sunk in the river.A common Chicago Mob practice,I used to drive by this place on my way to work and always thought it was the ridge screwing with my radio in my truck.Was always a great escape from the city when i was young but always a weird vibe in the area,

 

Cool story! I found this on line-

One of the most important branches of the Manhattan Project was the¬†Metallurgical Laboratory¬†at the University of Chicago. Known simply as the ‚ÄúMet Lab,‚ÄĚ the laboratory's primary role was to design a viable method for plutonium production that could fuel a nuclear reaction.

https://news.uchicago.edu/explainer/first-nuclear-reactor-explained

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16 hours ago, jcozzz said:

I came across this in the mid 80s or so

I enjoy stories like that and their associated areas.  

Very close to where I live now¬†is the Quabbin Reservoir, created back in the 30's to supply Boston with drinking water.¬† It began to fill in 1939 and reached its capacity of 412 billion gallons 8 years later.¬†¬†The reservoir and its protected watershed cover @ 120,000 acres.¬† 4 towns, originally¬†incorporated in 1800, were disincorporated¬†for its creation.¬† All vegetation and buildings (with the exception of one)¬†below the waterline as well as within the protected watershed¬†area¬†were moved, sold, scavenged, bulldozed, and/or burned.¬† All graves and their markers¬†(again, with exception of one that I know of) were disinterred and a new cemetery was created.¬†¬†Foundations, cellar holes, roads, and the ubiquitous New England stone walls still remain.¬† Most of the area is open to the public with restrictions¬†(i. e. no dogs allowed ‚ėĻÔłŹ), most of the old roads, some still leading into the water, are maintained.¬† It is a really cool area to hike through, and you can often come across stone stairs in a stone retaining wall¬†which lead across a former front yard to granite slab steps which open into cellar¬†holes.¬† If you find an old apple tree, you can be sure to find a cellar hole nearby.¬†¬†One of the old town¬†commons (Dana) is also still maintained.¬† The sidewalks, stone steps, stone walls, and cellar holes are all that remain.¬† Very cool area to hike through.¬†¬†

The photo above of the old well is located just outside of the Quabbin Park, as its called.  Its on a ridge that defines the west side of the Swift River,  the main river that was dammed to form the reservoir.  Its an area that used to be known as Cold Springs, due to the abundance of such in the area.  I have come across water bubbling up out of the ground, they seem to move around from time to time.  It was know in colonial days as a watering stop on the road to and from Boston, Albany, Springfield, etc. 

 

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You guys on the east coast have a much older history,we have some sites where the French who  were the first europeans to visit and settle the area in the early 1700s.My ancestry includes french and native americans.I always have been fascinated at how the natives moved north as the glaciers receded.Maybe encountering a wooly mammoth or saber toothed cat etc,Maybe it is part of my DNA ,but i have always felt more at home in the woods than in the city where i was born and raised. I had and still have relatives who still farm areas near the old french settlements and have french last names. My dad was the son of Irish immigrants. I believe in climate change as it has obviously always been changing. Many people who grew up here have no idea how young the great lakes are.I just was amazed that one of the birth places of "the bomb" was hidden in the woods and had never heard of it.

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14 hours ago, jcozzz said:

You guys on the east coast have a much older history,

I'm not sure thats true, I think it's just better documented for whatever reasons. 

14 hours ago, jcozzz said:

I just was amazed that one of the birth places of "the bomb" was hidden in the woods and had never heard of it.

But I agree with that sentiment, there's lots more to local history of you take some time to seek it out, even by way of a simple walk through the woods. 

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