March 15, 2009

The Forest Glen Maple Syrup

Today was the Maple Syrup Open House at Forest Glen park. The park holds this event each spring where they demonstrate how they make maple syrup and have a pancake dinner. I've run at Forest Glen four or five times this winter so I've been looking forward to this event for a while. When I told Melissa about it she was very excited, so we just had to go. And since my parents live somewhat near the park, and they love pancakes, we invited them to come along as well.

Melissa and I arrived a little early so we could get a short hike in before the pancakes. First we hiked to the observation tower.

Forest Glen observation tower
Forest Glen observation tower

Forest Glen observation tower
that's a lot of stairs

Melissa & Rob at Forest Glen observation tower
Melissa and Rob at the top

View from Forest Glen observation tower
view of the forest

Melissa descends observation tower steps
Melissa descends the tower's many stairs

Next, we continued on the path down the hill towards the Vermillion River. We passed the beloved backpack trail on the way. The water in the river seemed high and fast-moving.

Crooked tree shadow
a crooked tree casts a shadow on the backpack trail I usually run

Vermillion River
the Vermillion River looked high

Melissa & Rob at Vermillion River
Melissa & Rob

Noon was approaching, and this was the time we agreed to meet my parents for pancakes, so we hiked back up the hill and drove over to the Maple Syrup Open House area. We got in line a few minutes after noon. My parents arrived shortly thereafter. We were having a good time, but we couldn't help but notice the line wasn't moving very quickly.

The line for pancakes and maple syrup was long
the line for pancakes was long

It took us right at two hours to reach the front of the line, get our pancakes, and sit down to eat (what became) a late lunch. The pancakes were good. The syrup was good. I'm not quite sure it was worth waiting two hours in line, but at least the weather was beautiful.

After lunch Melissa & I walked a short distance to the recreated pioneer homestead, where the syrup was made. They collected sap from 400 or so maple trees in the park all winter. Then they heat it up to evaporate away most of the water, leaving just the sugary syrup behind.

one of the pioneer homestead buildings

they collected maple sap in buckets and bags all winter long (old photo)

Maple sap drips into a collection sack
maple sap drips into a collection bag

Maple syrup building at Forest Glen
this building housed the evaporator machine which converted the sap into syrup

Evaporation device converts watery maple sap into syrup
the evaporator was heated by a wood stove

Melissa in front of the evaporator
Melissa watches sap become syrup


Melissa said...

it was nice and i am glad we went, but i am not sure that standing in a line waiting 2 hours for pancakes is something i would do again (especially while pregnant).

Frank said...

The Vermillion was high. I work in rivers, and we launch from time to time from the ramp you took that picture from. Btw, the observation tower is awesome! Thanks for reading, and good luck in the Illinois Marathon!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful day!
Delicious Pancakes!
Wonderful company!

gutzville said...

Land-o-Lakes, Maple Syrup, Pancakes, Am I sensing a theme.