(Next year’s list is “Top Seventeen Adventures of 2017”, obviously. 2038 will get rather tiresome, I suspect, provided I’m still writing this blog by then!)
God has blessed me so much this year, and I’ve been able to participate in and see so many amazing sights and wonders. If you’re new to this blog and want to catch up on the most relevant parts of this blog, read on. If you are an old reader of this blog, read on to see what I’ve ranked as what. If you went on one of these trips with me, thanks for putting up with all my nonsense and for going along with me, because that really made my days. If you’ve never been on a trip with me, sign ups are in the comments section below:)
By the way, I do know that we have a month to go, but I doubt I’ll see anything in December that will be put on this list. December is such a busy month that I’m not likely to be able to do anything during it. If I do have a surprisingly amazing adventure, it will be on next year’s list.
16. Electroshocking– Honestly, getting to go out and do this was great. I caught more fish in this one outing than I ever have in my entire life, and I got to do it as part of a wonderful class.
15. Being detained as a terrorist -This is one of my favorite stories to tell people, as an introduction to my life. It probably shouldn’t be, but it was quite exciting, even if that title is basically the punchline of the story. Additionally, I got to hang out with my brother, something which I’m growing to appreciate a little bit more each year. He actually took the photo above.
14. Exploring Carpenter Park with Dan and Jesse– There were so many toads, a few lifer plants, and just great times with great friends.
13. Twenty-Three Smallmouth Salamanders in Lick Creek Wildlife Area – What’s better than a Smallmouth Salamander? How about finding twenty-three of them in about an hour of searching?
12. The Great Northern Expedition– If you can’t tell, I have some of my best trips with my dad. He put up with a lot on this day, and we had a great time, especially late in the day at Nachusa.
11. Exploring Lick Creek Wildlife Area with Dan and Jesse– This was the first trip we did as a group, and the three hikes I went on with those two are among the best I’ve been on. All trips are better when taken with friends, especially friends who appreciate nature, but who can also drag you out of it for a random conversation about philosophical topics and general nonsense. This is especially good when you’re exploring someplace you’ve never been before.
10. The Ides of March – First Common Loon and Western Chorus Frogs, two of the best new birds and frogs I’ve seen this year. Overall, it was a wonderful day, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, so much so that I split it into two blogposts. Links are here and here.
9. Michigan Canoe trip– My shoes may never smell the same way ever again, I may have fallen out of the canoe twice, and my sunglasses have never reappeared since, but this was awesome. Next time, though, I’m going to get a little more prepared!
8. Seeing 14-plus duck species in Center Park- If Northern Harriers drew me into birding, this expedition capped it off! I got to see just about half of all Illinois duck species at once! Links for both sections are here and here.
7. Going to Revis Hill Prairie and Scrub Oak- Sand Prairie with Dan-
It was a difficult hike, but a great trip to two of the wildest spots in Central Illinois, and even better because I brought a friend along for the struggle. Several new plants and many strange insects awaited us in these, the absolute wildest of Central Illinois natural areas.
6. Going to Southern Illinois with the Environmental Club- This trip had orchids, salamanders, friends, and grand adventures. Plus, I got to see a Logperch! (It’s a fish). Unfortunately, we didn’t find any of the scorpions, copperheads, or anything else scary or dangerous (other than the heights at Fults Hill Prairie). Still, there’s always next time! Links for both sections are here and here.
5. First winter trip to Nipper– This single trip got me into birding big-time (to the point where I say birding instead of birdwatching). A single Northern Harrier along the road ended up becoming a hobby which I have spent countless hours doing this year. I also met people I didn’t know who read my blog, and that was back in January! Honestly, sometimes I forget how many people read this blog, and who all that might be. And, I got to do this all with my dad!
4. Going up to Mason County for the first time- That was a long, lonely trip, but there were so many new birds and experiences I had that I will never forget. I saw the rarest lifeform of the year there, the Tennessee Milkvetch, and I found a large number of nature preserves only an hour or so from my house, with tons of exciting plants and animals. The wild sandlands of Illinois are the best. Links for the three sections are here, there, and ere.
3. Going up to Chautauqua and Emiquon with Jesse and Dan- Trips are always best with friends, especially when we debate philosophical concepts while watching sandpipers on a levee in the middle of a mild thunderstorm. Trust me, it’s an invigorating experience, and one which brought me plenty of lifer shorebirds and great memories with friends, as well as an interesting experience in accidental trespassing which I hope no future employer sees as a reason to not hire me…
Links for both sections are here and there.
2. Going to Indiana Dunes- Five Orchids in one day! I’ve seen seven this year, and as it’s November I am unlikely to see any more. Roughly a quarter to a third of the lifer plants this year were seen on this trip, including a plurality of the best ones. And, as with several of my favorite trips, I got to go on this with Dad. Links for all four sections are here, there, and also here, and everywhere.
1. Surviving this year- Thanks to God for my survival this year. Considering this is a website open to the internet and the general public, I don’t plan on sharing all that’s happened to me over the course of this year. I will say that a close family member suffered from a serious disease. They are completely fine now, (again- Thank you, God!) but between that and the usual hassles that come with being a full-time student, it’s been a rather… interesting… year. At the same time, I’ve gained so many good friends… too many to list! (And besides that, half of them are all named Josh, Jesse, Dan, Logan, or Jake- It would get confusing:) I’ve been so many wonderful places and seen so many wondrous creatures. I really look forwards to next year!
P.S. Some of the older posts have egregious errors. Rather than redacting them, I’ve decided to leave them in, mostly because I’m lazy, but also because I think it’s fascinating to see how much the tone has changed from month to month and year to year on this blog. My apologies for any incorrect information. Also, there may be photos taken by other people. Other than ones taken from state websites, I will be removing those for copyright reasons, albeit slowly over the next month.