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posted: 8/31/2012 3:11 PM

Take the annual Hike Lake County challenge

You're invited to take Hike Lake County challenge

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Lake County Forest Preserve District submission

Enjoy fall breezes and autumn colors while exploring designated Hike Lake County trails in scenic forest preserves throughout Lake County.

At each preserve, look for Hike Lake County signs at the trailhead to get you started on the right route. Complete just seven of the 12 designated hikes by Nov, 30 and earn a free commemorative shield for your walking stick.

Each year features new trails and a colorful new shield.

To get started, you'll need an official Travel Log to record each of your hikes. Then select your trail locations, grab your hiking shoes and head to the trails.

Let your canine companion join in the fun and complete the hikes with you. Record their name in your Travel Log and they can earn a free commemorative dog tag. You can even purchase an optional Hike Lake County dog collar to hang it on.

Use your iPhone or Android smartphone to complete the challenge. Check-in using the Lake County Forest Preserve District's mobile app, available for free in the Apple App Store or Android Play Store (search for "Lake County Forest Preserves").

Spot a rare bird or notice any plants in bloom? Share your hiking photos and nature comments with other hikers. A Facebook account is required to enable mobile check-in.

To receive your free commemorative shield or dog tag, turn in to the Lake County Forest Preserve District your completed Travel Log or show your mobile check-ins on your smartphone by Jan. 31, 2013.

Download the Lake County Forest Preserves mobile app and use it to scan QR codes on signs hidden along the Hike Lake County trails to unlock secret content.

Uncover facts about the preserves and watch for a special keyword. Record seven keywords in your Travel Log, and enter for a chance to win a Full Moon Night Hike at the preserve of your choosing, for a group of up to 10 people. Experience the preserves at night on a guided tour -- you might even spy an owl in the oak forest.

Just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can contribute significantly to your overall health and well-being. Walking is one of the easiest ways to add activity to your routine.

For Hike Lake County program details, trail maps and other information, visit or call (847) 367-6640.