Weekend: Pere Marquette State Park/Olin Nature Preserve

Two weekends ago before wedding season kicked in at work, B and I spent a Saturday afternoon in Grafton. The main purpose in driving out there was to pay for our annual anniversary stay at Tara Point. We got married at the Pere Marquette Lodge in 2013 (I’ll have to make a post with some of our photos this year on our anniversary!) so we try to make it back up every year and stay a couple nights. It’s always a wonderful time. We love it! 

We decided while we were all the way out there we would take advantage of Pere Marquette State Park and take a stroll on some of the trails. When we pulled into the lot, I ran inside the welcome center to grab a map while B got himself and Cash ready to go. There are about 12 miles of connected trails in the park. It was a very muggy and warm afternoon following 2 days of rain; mosquitoes were thick around us in the woods. Pere Marquette hiking offers lots of pretty views and different trail terrain.

Lizard!After about 4 miles we went for lunch at the Loading Dock.

While we were waiting for our lunch I made a Facebook post and someone suggested we visit The Nature Institute at the Olin Nature Preserve in Godfrey, IL. Why not?! We set out for our destination.

Now, there are no pets allowed on the trails. Since we had Cash with us all day and drove all the way to Godfrey, into the pack he went. I figured as long as he was not physically walking on the trail that it wouldn’t be a problem. We do take following trail rules very seriously and if we had Bane with us we would have definitely come back another time. 

I still don’t know much about the Nature Institute. I should research this more! It was a very cool location. Short loop trail with waterfalls and pools aplenty after a heavy rain. The property is beautiful. The day we had made it even more so. Full sun and lots of blue sky and clouds. I took some of my favorite hiking pictures at this place. It’s so different!

After a lot of green, the trail opens up to a beautiful field of yellow.

We really enjoyed the walk here. I plan to go back as soon as we can! Here’s a couple more off trail pics.

That night we had chili and a bonfire at my sister’s new house.

The next day, Sunday, B had band practice and was recording music all afternoon so I vegged out on the couch in preparation for the 6 day, 60 hour work week I had ahead of me. 

That Monday I had an interesting morning…

Spiders have been bad this season (we get brown recluse here) so I set up some of those sticky traps recommended for them along the perimeter of the room. Because we renovated our garage into an insulated multi-use/laundry room, it’s not heated or A/C, and there is a door that leads outside we don’t use that’s not sealed well at the bottom or something. We do get some critters living out here kind of in the countryside of our smallish city. Mice, moles, turtles… 

I honestly do not condone killing spiders that aren’t brown recluse (and I HATE SPIDERS!), yet I know the traps will catch pretty much anything that crosses them unfortunately. 

I went out to the laundry room to put a change of clothes into the dryer, looked down and noticed one of the traps caught a SNAKE!!!! IN MY HOUSE. Of course I was home alone. B was working.

I felt awful for the guy, and with some google searches I found out how to free him! After about 15 minutes of me squealing and apologizing – the little snake was set free, but we agreed he’s not allowed back in my house. 

He was really pretty. I believe it was determined he was a juvenile blue racer. For future reference, vegetable oil will quickly break down the glue on a sticky trap. I have also decided to quit using the sticky traps and try some more natural solutions for the spiders.

Getting unstuck slowly…Much better!

After I got as much oil off of him as possible I let him go in the yard. This better be some good nature karma!! 😉

We won’t get much outside time in for awhile. So much work on the weekends through November. We will be going to the lake to close the house down the second weekend in October and we have a tentative backpacking weekend set for Halloween weekend. 

I also have some pretty awesome news for a second post I’ll be making. 

Thanks for following!


Follow us on IG @pottsiepackin

2 Comments on “Weekend: Pere Marquette State Park/Olin Nature Preserve

  1. I love that you found The Nature Institute! I stumbled upon it from a picture in a magazine and feel like this is really one of the area’s hidden gems. The only downfall as you realized is no dogs!! 😦 So part of that same area is the Mississippi Sanctuary and there is an awesome overlook high above the river. You should check it out! I posted about it on my blog a while back. Happy hiking!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: