Skywatch Friday – Afternoon Outlaw Hike at Oxley Nature Center

Earlier this week I wanted some outside time and wanted to try something different so I decided to do some running/hiking at Oxley Nature Center. Flat, no rocks, no people, perfect.


So I took the back way in which is the closest access to downtown and I knew they had some gates they close on weekends and late at night. When I got there I found this locked gate??? So, okay, I’ll just go with it. So I parked outside the gate and stepped over it and off I went. There were no signs saying I couldn’t.

Just before the trailhead I found this group of wildflowers.

I got to the trail and started down it and noticed that it hadn’t been mowed or much of anything done in the way of maintenance. Oxley holds half the worlds population of ticks and chiggers and so I had doused myself with deet before I left the car so I wasn’t too worried.

The boardwalk had damage and had not been cleared or anything. By now, I was thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be there but I was also kind of into it pretty far so I just plowed on ahead.

See that tunnel up ahead, that is where the trail goes!

I didn’t get any photos because I wasn’t fast enough but I saw lots of deer running through the woods, a raccoon, and a turtle. Also, lots and lots of small frogs hopping here, there and everywhere.

At the far reach of the North Woods Loop the trail was completely overgrown and I was convinced that the trail was probably closed. See that bench up there? I am a rule follower and if I had known the trail was closed I wouldn’t have gone down it. I guess that I should check the web site. I don’t generally do that before going hiking.

I love being on trails where there is nobody else. In maybe fifteen years of going on this trail I have literally seen maybe a dozen people, probably less. I love it especially on bitterly cold sunny windy cold days. There is no wind at ground level but you can hear the wind howling through the trees above. I know I am weird, but I love that.

It is quite watery their. The area borders Lake Yahola, Bird Creek, and some oxbow lakes formed off Bird Creek. I am glad I was deeted up as this is mosquito heaven.

Toward the end of my outing, the sky reflecting off one of the oxbow lakes.

And another sky photo.

And an aerial view of my outing. Not very long but I enjoyed myself immensely. And I can report that apparently I put enough deet on, I only have two mosquito bites on the back of my neck.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come join in!

21 thoughts on “Skywatch Friday – Afternoon Outlaw Hike at Oxley Nature Center

  1. Peter B.

    Cool hike, Alan! I would have done exactly what you did (no sign posted, so forge ahead). There’s something thrilling about hiking in an area that is rarely visited and wild. I love that shot of the old bench all overgrown by vegetation.

  2. Eileen

    Hello, pretty views of the trail. That tunnel of trees is neat. The sunset photos are beautiful. Thanks for hosting. Have a happy day, wishing you a great weekend ahead.

  3. Jutta Kupke

    Einfach großartig, so eine Wanderung.
    Das würde mir auch gefallen so einen einsamen Ort zu besuchen.
    Tolle Fotos sind das und vermitteln auch den eindruck einer kleinen Expedition .
    Danke auch für den Besuch bei meinem Beitrag zu Skywatch Friday.
    Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland

  4. Alana

    Cool hike, cool pictures, especially the first wildflower patch. Just what I like – only the sounds of nature and no people. Although, I live in an area of Lyme Disease and know too many people who have gotten it – I would have been leery even with Deet. But that’s me.

  5. Cathy Kennedy


    This looks like a cool place to explore. I love the photo with the footbridge! That will make a good shot with fall colors surrounding it. Are you going to try to capture that? If so, I hope I don’t miss it.

    A sun-streaked sky with its reflection in the water is always a lovely view. The days of summer are coming to an end and I hope the heat soon goes with it. Have a fototastic weekend and thanks for hosting the Friday fun, my friend!

  6. Linda

    Skeeters are the enemy!
    Like you finding a gate across the road, I ran into Google trying to block me from going to your blog. I got a message about the site being insecure, but I opted to proceed. I assume it’s the https thing, or else Chrome is having a hiccup.

  7. Barb

    Breaking and entering! I like this nature center – maybe soon they’ll repair that boardwalk. Finding areas of wilderness is getting harder and harder – I also like to go where there aren’t masses of other people. I would have been on the alert for bears (and snakes…). The twilight reflected on water is lovely.

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