Allerton Park

Allerton Park is a 1,500-acre wooded nature preserve about 40 minutes southwest of Champaign. The University of Illinois administers the park and uses it for conferences, academic retreats, and teaching. Yesterday, Yun-young, Manish, and I went hiking on two of its nature trails. Afterward, we stopped at the day's geohashing coordinates, which were only about two miles away.

We first passed through the meticulously-groomed formal gardens.

Girl with scarf sculpture Square parterre Adam sculpture Chinese garden

Then we entered the peaceful and shadowy nature trail. I periodically pointed out the trees I recognized and the animal tracks that crossed the path.

Trail and forest

Eventually, the trail curved to follow the Sangamon River.

Sangamon river

It was obvious from the muddy trail and lack of groundcover that the river had recently flooded the area.


We had to detour around standing water or ford small streams several times. The moisture also meant that we had to constantly fight off swarms of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the insect repellent. When we passed through sunbeams I could see dozens of the insects buzzing around our backs and unprotected arms. At one point, Manish killed five mosquitoes with one slap. Today my shoulders and elbows are covered with red welts.

Despite that, we all enjoyed the hike. The forest was lush and beautiful, and I found it fascinating to see the effects of the flood.

We made it to the opposite end of the park and returned along the higher and dryer access road. We passed a family attempting to break into their car, having locked their keys inside. I called AAA for a nearby service station, but the father decided to break a back window instead. That idea excited his young daughter who enthusiastically ran into the woods to find a big rock. We left before she found one.

After returning to my car, we circled the park to the day's geohashing coordinates. In a drastic departure from previous coordinates, which fell in cornfields, Saturday's coordinates fell in a soybean field. I placed a marker flag while Manish and Yun-young took some pictures. Unfortunately, we arrived late and did not meet any other geohashers.

A flag marking the day's geohashing coordinates, with Manish and Yun-young in the background.  The flag says: "The internet was here. xkcd.com/geohashing. 06/22/08"

It was a fun day trip, and all three of us look forward to exploring the rest of Allerton south of the river.

Yun-young posted her pictures in this Facebook album.

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