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COUNTY: Du Page County
LOCATION DETAILS: It's a brand new hiking path in the Timber Ridge Forest Preserve on the east side of Prince Crossing Road and not very well known or used yet.
NEAREST TOWN: Winfield
NEAREST ROAD: Prince Crossing Road
OBSERVED: I went for a hike at lunchtime in a newly made path that cuts through the Timber Ridge Forest Preserve. This path is surrounded by about 8 ponds. It has been very cold and snowy here in the teens and 20's for almost a month except for one warm day that melted the snow. All this melt caused the crushed gravel path to act like a white clay, making all the hikers/dogs/coyotes footprints visible in a 30 foot area.
Along with these prints are bare footprints about 13 " long. Looking at the 5 pictures I took, they're deeper set than all the other shoe prints, with 5 distinct toes.
I've read BFRO reports before, but I didn't think this area of Illinois would ever have any kind of activity.
I took a few pictures with my glove for scale. I measured the gait with my walking stick (3ft 10") I'm 5' 9" & tried to walk the gait of the prints but it was almost impossible. I followed them back to see where they started and they gradually came from the thick grass on the left.
I just kept saying 'who would walk barefoot out here it's way too cold?'
ALSO NOTICED: On previous hikes in the woods off of this path I found a small 2-3" diameter tree with its top that had been twisted to almost broken off, at about 6 feet high. I tried to twist it myself & realized I didn't have half enough strength. That still puzzles me.
I would love to know if BFRO thinks this could be an area where they might come to or through. I would also like you to see my pictures.
OTHER WITNESSES: I'm sure other dog walkers have seen them. They're still there until we have rain or melting snow.
OTHER STORIES: Never
TIME AND CONDITIONS: About 12:30 pm (lunchtime) it was mostly sunny, very cold about 20 degrees
ENVIRONMENT: Combination of Illinois woods and prairie. There are 8 or so little ponds and a larger, very marshy lake in this area. This forest preserve is one of many that are almost connected for miles.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
Left foot impression next to the witness' glove.
Right foot impression next to the witness' shoe.
I spoke with the witness by phone.
- The footprints were thirteen inches in length.
- The impression showed all five toes in the wet crushed gravel.
- The witness stated that the distance between successive steps was too great for him to match.
- According to their website the new running shoe Vibrams fit men up to a foot length of 12¼".
The area does have a large population so I reviewed a satellite map (see below). The area where he found the possible footprints is circled in red with tracts of forest nearby.
About BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
Stan Courtney has a special interest in wildlife audio recording. He has attended numerous BFRO Expeditions. See Stan's blog StanCourtney.com for recordings he has collected over the years.
Stan Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org