The Lady I rescued and I love the first week of October for two reasons: first, September is over, thankfully, and second, we celebrate National Walk Your Dog Week! Founded by Pet Lifestyle Expert & Animal Advocate Colleen Paige, National Walk Your Dog Week takes place to bring awareness to the problem of canine behavior issues due to lack of exercise. My readers know that this blog is all about the walk keeping us, and the Lady, fit.
The Lady planned a special walk for this week, taking a break from our #DiscoverPortagePark adventures. Recently, a new extension to the North Branch Trail bike path opened near us, and since the Lady drove by the construction almost every week for a year, decided it’s time to check it out!
The North Branch Trail is a designated bike path that winds it way north through 18 miles of Cook County Forest Preserve land, connecting the Edgebrook neighborhood to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe (not pictured on first map). The Lady and I visited Caldwell Woods and Bunker Hill many times but always taking the trail from there but never knowing exactly where it went.
We’re at the start of the trail in Thaddeus S. “Ted” Lechowicz Woods and Taffy is ready to go! On the smaller map, the new trail is in read, in yellow is behind us where the trail will continue south and in the future connecting with the lakefront paths and others.
A major feature of this short trail is the new bike bridge over the Chicago River. Driving through the area regularly for her non-city shopping in Niles, the construction started a year ago with no idea what was going on. On both sides of Central Avenue trees were cleared, then eventually you could see a bike path taking shape, with no idea where it was going, or how it was going to connect across Central and over the river. But finally we saw the iron structure in two parts, with huge cranes waiting to put the bridge in place. Lastly, adding a stoplight at Central for bikers and those on foot to cross.
It looks like an awful long bridge to me!
North Branch of the Chicago River, giving the trail it’s name.
After crossing busy Central Avenue, a stretch of the path runs along the road. But shortly the path takes a turn into the woods.
Despite critics of the new path complaining about removing trees, it was mostly dead trees and over growth, there are plenty of woods and wetlands remaining.
This has to be the biggest tree we have ever seen with sinister limbs sticking out like arms lower down.
Sources claim that the new extension is two-miles long. But our mileage showed much less when we reach the original start of the trail.
The trail marker in the background measures “0” for the start of the original trail, even though it’s on the corner of a busy intersection, an unusual and difficult spot for bikers to start the trail, one of the main reasons for the extension. From here we’ve walked the path before from the other directing starting at Bunker Hill. The plan was to try and walk all the way there, then turn around. We eventually reached another trail marker but no miles on it. By now we walked about a mile and a half, time to turn around. According to the map it was one mile to Bunker Hill from the sign, which means we were close.
We walked about three and a quarter miles total, which for us is a long walk, taking about an hour and a half. Taffy and I had a great time, we walked mostly on the side of the path in the brush, so there were great smells, we even saw gophers, plus lots of squirrels and birds. The Lady kept me on a tight leash this time due to my reputation for finding stinky stuff to roll in. But, because of all the recent rains there were lots of puddles so Taffy was the dirtiest when we got home and got the bath.
As this is a bike trail, it’s always important to watch out for bikes. Even during an off peak time on a weekday morning we saw plenty of bikers, and a few others on foot, and only one dog. You can never cross the path without making sure there are no bikers coming from either direction.
We hope you take advantage of National Walk Your Dog Week to reinvigorate walking with your dog!