I accomplished one of my goals for this Summer season (even though it is still Spring for a few more days). I walked the Pimiteoui Trail from Grandview Drive to Forest Park and back this evening. The temperature was comfortable and most of the time there was a gentle breeze blowing. From Grandview Drive, steps lead down to the path. One continues going down a slope for some distance. The trail finally reaches the bottom of the valley and off to the right is an open area that I originally hoped was near the end of the trail. Nope, no luck with that thought.
A look to the left shows steps made of timbers that go up at a fairly steep incline. Most hikers seem to have worn a path beside the steps. The path is easier. Avoid the steps whenever you can. After climbing for awhile, there is a bench called a Listening Point. It is more like a collapsing spot. From the bench, you look across the valley at the Peoria Heights Water Tower. After a brief rest, my walking stick and I continued on the path. It meanders around, a little up and down, but relatively easy for a bit. I had gotten to this area when I tried the trail from the Nature Center trailhead, so I knew what to expect from there.
The path begins to descend. Eventually you can see the street and traffic. Ultimately, you come out of the woods on Forest Park Drive across from the entrance to the Nature Center. I had originally thought of walking the trail with someone and leaving a vehicle at one end or the other and only hiking one way. Ultimately, I decided there was not much challenge in that. After a couple of quick photos, it was time to turn around and back track toward Grandview Drive. This time, I did not take advantage of the Listening Point, but rather made use of a couple of large rocks and a downed tree or two to rest a few moments.
The return trip gives a different perspective. Things that were not noticed going one way, were obvious upon the return trip. For a brief moment, there is a glimpse of the Illinois River and one of the hotels near the Paradise Casino. It seems there are more wildflowers seen on the return trip, especially purple cone flowers. The return trip is rather uneventful. Up, down, around and over until.....until one reaches the cement steps leading up to Grandview Drive. There are two flights of steps going up. By this time, the legs are tired and it seems the steps will never end.
They do end though. What a wonderful feeling to have accomplished the goal. The round trip feels like more than 2.5 miles. It took me about an hour and twenty minutes to complete the trip and that includes resting time perched on the bench or a rock or fallen tree. So it wasn't any more time than most of my hikes are, but the reward is standing at the lookout on Grandview Drive and enjoying what is probably one of the best views in Peoria, if not all of Central Illinois. It produces an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace to have spent time in a natural setting, to have accomplished a goal and look out over the magnificent view. I will sleep well tonight.