Clinton Lake North Fork Trail has to be one of our favorite area hikes. Its a beautiful 10 miles, with some terrific climbs for the very flat Midwest, and its a loop. All that makes for a challenging but convenient trek that isn’t far from home.

We hiked it with one of our favorite outdoor groups, the The Corn Desert Hiking and Adventure Group. They are always a fun, interesting and eclectic group of people and we have a great time with them!

Because the group attracts people of all backgrounds, we usually break into smaller groups based on pace. Its great, because you get the chance to chat with your hiking partners and hear all their amazing stories. There is all the requisite gear talk, future plans and greatest accomplishments shared. I just love it!

Being fall, there were some amazing specimens of fungi out there. I just love taking pictures of fungus and it helps that they hold still.

This find was our crowning achievement! I’ve learned that this is Laetiporus, or commonly known as “chicken of the woods”. Its an edible mushroom that can be prepared in many of the same ways as chicken, hence the name. Its still good to be cautious, however, because some folks can react negatively with swollen lips or nausea. We haven’t tried it yet, but I’m considering it for the future!

I have a mushroom ID book on my holiday wish list! Hopefully, in the future, I can label all my fun mushroom pics with their names.

The trail is genuinely beautiful with ponds, floodplain forests, bluffs and of course Clinton Lake.

We had an amazing time and went home tired, sore and feeling accomplished. We’re looking forward to a winter hike here again with our Master Naturalist hiking club!