Step up to the edge of the prairie. Quietly! Scan the entire length and edges of the prairie for deer. This prairie restoration was once cropland. Fragments of natural and cultivated habitats are typical of our region and include miles of "edge habitat”. The combination of edge habitat characteristics - water, food, shelter, and space - is perfect for deer.
If you are not lucky enough to see white-tails, you can certainly find evidence of them on your hike: deer tracks along the trail, droppings, "deer beds" (areas of matted vegetation in the meadows where a small group has been resting), deer trails crossing the hiking trail, and "deer browse" (ragged, ripped ends of branches on shrubs and small trees where the deer have eaten the tasty buds and slowed plant growth).
As you continue along the trail, you will soon descend back into Hall Creek valley. Walking downhill, watch for unusual rocks underfoot (not the common tan-colored lime-stone bedrock). These unusual rocks are ERRATICS, which are rocks that were brought down from the north by glaciers. Sand, silt, and clay were also pulled along with the glaciers, and they combined to create our fine Midwestern soils. On some of the hilltops in this area, the sediment deposited during the Ice Age is over 50 feet thick!