Sometimes the beaten path is the road less traveled. Sometimes you have to look for the beaten path. You think it would be the obvious, easy to see and most chosen path. But naturalists know this is not the case. For me the joy in exploring tends to take me off the paved path; I guess you could say I’m a rule breaker. I know that may be surprising to my family and friends; but when it comes to being outdoors, in nature, it just seems “natural” to just explore and throw out rules (other than remembering safety (of me) and care (for wildlife)). When looking for deer or specific wildlife I will often meander, straying from any path to find deer at rest or a rare blooming specie.
So, why is someone way off the formal Forest Preserve paved path in this first image? I’m on the paved trail today because I’m taking a short walk before physical therapy for a pulled hamstring. In other words I need to be careful while walking in the snow and ice. Actually I find myself walking just to the side of the paved path; the asphalt has too much ice for safe walking today. Here’s why this person’s not on the paved trail…the view. I have learned, as many others have learned, the walk along the river’s edge is fun. So there is truly a beaten path along the river edge. The Forest Preserve has many off-the-beaten (paved)-paths that are their own beaten-paths; popular but less traveled, more rustic and often more scenic. They may not be on a map, but I highly recommend that you search for these gems.