Marott Park Woods
What at first glance appears to be an unexceptional roadside park – a small rectangular patch of mowed grass with a shelter house - proves much more on further inspection. A well-worn path starts at the north end of the small parking area and soon intersects a complex network of trails that meander through rich rolling woods. In places the paths are so close together and interspersed with informal paths and shortcuts that I gave up on trying to sketch them. Rock steps, footbridges, and fencing help put boundaries on where people go, but there are places were the paths are worn, rutted, and distressingly wide.
There are large trees here, and many different wildflowers cover the ground in spring - mayapple, wood poppy, bloodroot, and toothwort are all common. This also seems to be a favorite spot for folks to bring their dogs and let them run loose. My personal record for “number of dogs threatened by” during a single visit currently stands at five individual animals. It might therefore be a good idea to keep children close at hand and leave the cat at home.
Williams Creek flows south, bisecting the park. Cross by wading, or walk up to 75th Street and over the bridge if you wish to explore the eastern portion of the preserve. The Monon Trail bounds the preserve to the east, with several informal access points along it. The eastern portion does not receive nearly the use or care enjoyed by the western portion; the trail network appears entirely informal. Most of it is also on somewhat lower ground, subject to flooding and subsequent deposition of mud and debris, vegetative and anthropogenic.