My friend Brian and I did some cool and dreary weather hiking on Sunday. Trying to find a safe haven away from the lead hail of Deer Season and someplace nearby that neither of us had tread before, we opted for Prairie State Park and Big Sugar Creek State Park. On the way out west to the hiking areas, we saw plenty of deer, wild turkey and two coyotes crossing the road in front of us and out into some adjacent farmland. I know they're a nuisance, but they sure are pretty animals.
We opted for the Sandstone Trail at PSP, a little over four miles of walking in an enclosure with free roaming elk and bison. We tried to find them, but saw little more than hoof prints, excrement, places where they bedded down for a night and the bleached bones of their dead. We did see a good size cat print in the mud with the hooves. It was as big as my hand when cupped, so guessing mountain lion over bobcat. The second mountain lion print I've seen in the past year or two. The other was along the Buffalo River in Arkansas.
One neat find was a set of disused train tracks running through the park. They were pretty photogenic with the tall dried prairie grasses poking through the aging timbers and rusty iron.
Having struck out looking for megafauna, we called it and headed further south to Big Sugar Creek State Park. Not much to this one, just a few miles walking in a circle through the woods.
Great way to spend a day. We usually write off these shorter trails, but when you hit up multiple systems in a single day, they can be quite nice. Also, if anyone finds a 600lb black bull calf, this guy is looking for one.