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Ever have a hankering to pay money to go look at trees and plants?  If you are like me, well, it’s great to have a nice place of peace available, but I am satisfied with what God has already provided for free.  There is an arboretum close by, about 10-15 minutes drive from my house, but until now I really could not justify the cost of going there.  I know that the Morton Arboretum is committed to excellent, so what is found there is the best.  If I though I would use a membership, I would pay the price for one.

When I saw that the Morton Arboretum had commissioned a danish artist, Thomas Danbo to make six larger than life wood trolls for display, I was intrigued.  The arboretum is bordered on one side by I-88 in Lisle, Illinois and one of his first creations was a large troll that overlooks the interstate.  Once I saw that troll, I knew that I had to pay the fee to see the trolls.  Saturday evening, D and I chose to go troll hunting at the Morton Arboretum as our date night activity.  As we found out, the troll that overlooks the interstate tollway is Joe the Guardian, an appropriate title.  Quickly, our curiosity turned to delight.  The troll hunt is a unusual delight, an addition to an already uniquely exceptional outdoor museum.

As the booklet/map explained to us, the trolls love the woods and trees there as much or more than the humans that visit there.  They decided to visit the Arboretum, concerned and even upset when the humans don’t treat the plants and trees there with respect.  Some are friendly, some are not.  Some don’t mind being found, some hide.  The map gave us the locations of each troll in the museum.  Each location had a parking area, with a trail that lead us to each troll.

We were greeted at the visitors center parking lot by a troll who obviously did not appreciate the cars.

He was our first troll encounter.  A little girl was not thrilled by her first troll encounter, shrieking and crying with fear at the scary monster.  I gave him a bit of room myself.  He was not huggable, so D and I said our hello to him and rushed away.

Our next troll encounter was with a gruff sort who preferred to hide in the woods, his big club ready to use on anyone who demonstrated bad behavior.  Like the boulder tossing brute we first encountered, the gruff troll inspired fear in a little visitor who would not get within 100 yards of him.

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We found this happy go lazy troll lounging in a meadow.  I could relate a bit, my three hour bike ride that morning (the third in as many days) beginning to make me want to lounge for a while.  D discouraged my desire to take a nap with this gentle giant.  We had more trolls to find!

Some trolls were smiling, but maybe not exactly for a good reason.  This guy was definitely friendly, but his little snare gave away his true intentions.  He definitely appreciated pretty D’s hug and my offer to pick his nose.

Our last troll was a little more difficult to find and took a bit of a hike to reach.  D loved him so much that she blew him a kiss.  Trolls blush.

20180728_193155We drove through a peaceful woods on our way out of the Arboretum, the sun casting its last rays on Joe the Guardian troll.  D and I found a table for the little picnic I had brought along, a nice end to the perfect troll hunt.