Visiting Al Sabo

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Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve written up an Adventure post. The last one was over a month ago, for my birthday, when we visited a sunflower field. We’ve been doing a few things here and there, but nothing really worth writing about, until earlier this week.

Now that I’m focusing on this blog instead of working a dead-end retail job, I have a lot more free time to go out and do things. More importantly, I have a lot more energy to spend days out hiking. So, we’ve been exploring more of the nature parks, trails, and venues around the city.

Today’s post is about one of the “best kept secrets” of the city: the Al Sabo Land Preserve. It’s nearby, but I’ve almost never heard people talk about it the way they talk about the Nature Center, or the Kal-Haven trail, or the other local trails. But, I did hear about it, and we decided to check it out one day that we had free.

Turns out, this might be my new favorite trail! Check out the photos.

This place is more compact than the Nature Center, but has a lot of room to explore through different trails. Some of them are paved, like in the third picture above, but other parts of the trail are just clear trails in the woods, and some of them are barely-marked, barely-used trails through grass and pine forests. It would be pretty easy to lose your way!

We used an app called AllTrails to keep track of where we were, following one of the major loops through the park. Even so, it wasn’t completely accurate, and we took a couple of wrong turns and even an unmarked trail across a small gap in the woods.

I think the thing I like the most about this park is that it’s so varied. There’s evergreen forests, more traditional deciduous forests, areas of grassland, an area near a river, and a lot of variation between them. Every five or ten minutes, it felt like, we’d be walking through an entirely different landscape.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Nature Center, but this place is just so fun! And we only explored a small part of it. There’s still plenty to check out, including stuff across the river. I’m looking forward to it!

Most of our hike, we didn’t see very many people, but it was fairly populated near the entrance. It seems like a very popular place to hang out and do shorter hikes, and some of the trails are made for mountain bikes, which we had to dodge a couple of times. As much fun as biking is, I don’t think I could do mountain biking. I’d be too afraid of crashing, especially out here in the woods!

I’m looking forward to going back and checking out more of the trails. If I had one gripe, though, it’s that the trails aren’t really marked. Some of them are obviously trails (and a few are paved) but some feel more like well-worn game trails. One we almost walked down seemed like it was going to the adjacent Kiwanis Club land and Boy Scout camp.

The Al Sabo land preserve was named after Alfred Sabo, director of utilities and the man who initiated the purchase and preservation of the land. The preserve is 741 acres and has been a preserve since the 1970s. It sits above an aquifer, so by preventing building, they’ve prevented groundwater contamination.

I’ll definitely be going back, and we might even check it out in the winter too. It’s a cool place to hike, that’s for sure.

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