October 29th brought our first major dilemmas. 1) We had plans that evening and didn’t want to wear ourselves out and 2) it was raining a bit. A good solution to this was to go to Channahon State Park, because it is very small and not very far away.
Originally, this park was known as the Channahon Access, named for the three rivers that converge along the western edge. It officially became a state park in 1932, and today it is known as the official start of the I&M Trail (even though you can take the trail in two different directions when the bridge over the river isn’t under construction).
At 25 acres, this is one of the smallest parks in the state. We arrived at 11:30, and there was no one else there because of the weather. We first went directly to the I&M trail, and walked the section within the park boundaries. It starts next to a dam, and passes a small lock before running along the canal, but it was too dreary to walk very far. We then went to the south end of the park to visit the Forgotten Warrior Memorial.
Before leaving, we noticed three herons all together on the other side of the river. We were kind of surprised by that, since it was such a small area in a residential neighborhood. But after taking a few pictures we decided wed seen everything we could, and took our lunch to that day’s brewery.
To match the Halloween aesthetic of the weekend, we went to Mad Hatchet Brewing in Shorewood. There are references to classic horror movies everywhere, and it was even more decked out than usual for the holiday. Aside from the aesthetic, the beer here was truly excellent. We can honestly say we liked every single beer we tried, all seven between the two of us. We would highly recommend checking them out if you like beer.
In doing this project, we’ve come to realize that even the smallest of parks serve a purpose. The main draw for Channahon is the access to the I&M trail, but it was also the most like a regular, neighborhood park, complete with a playground. The third purpose was the war memorial, which was very nice and definitely worth visiting if in the area. But you won’t get the hiking experience of most other parks by staying within the 25 acres.