Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 19-2015, St. Louis, Aurora, Sac and Kickapoo Canyons

Today's Walker's Club Hike had 33 walkers and 3 dogs.  Not much ice on the trails.  Yak-trax can be packed away for another year.  I traded my yak-trax for my rubber boots today.  Today is officially the last day of Winter.  Trails are in good shape, not to much mud or ice to walk on, even in the canyons.
Notice the turkey vultures in the trees looking north over the walk bridge from the Lodge?
Heading out for the hike
Top of Aurora Canyon from the bridge, looking south
Sac Canyon
Almost there

Entrance into St. Louis Canyon
St. Louis Canyon

St. Louis Canyon


March 14th marked the 55th anniversary of the Starved Rock Murders.  Joe is telling the group the condensed version.

Looking up at the west rim of St. Louis Canyon
The bottom of the ice fall still has some very thick ice
The stream flowing out of the canyon has thawed, with a carved out ice channel
Hepatica will be one of the first spring wildflowers.  These leaves are from last year.  Flowers first then green leaves all summer.
Heading back to the Lodge.  This trail has some real neat sandstone formations.  Many of them are used for resting spots.
Kevin and Glen
View from the trail looking North

Of course we had to go into Aurora Canyon.  Some opted to head straight back to the Lodge.
Some of the sketchy stairs into Aurora Canyon.  These are the ones I fell off of right after a heavy snow.
Aurora Canyon
We almost all fit in the canyon
Looking up out of Aurora Canyon

Number one canyon from my eyes !!!!
Bridge still not fixed.  Still safe.
My daughter says that my sign off signature needs to change, so I bought a few books and will be changing the sign off with each post.  I hope you enjoy! 

 I will leave you with this: Know that the brightest blossoms are not always on the tallest trees.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ilinois Michigan Canal Walker's Club 03-12-2015

Today's hike met in the Lodge's lobby like every other day.  Today we had 33 walkers and 2 dogs.  The weather was FANTASTIC!!!. Sunny and bright.  Started out a little chilly, but by the end of the walk it was very pleasant.  The Tow Path that we walked on was frozen most of the way going towards split rock (1/2 way)  and towards the end it was starting to get sloppy and muddy.

This chart is located in Utica and tells you the distance along the Canal
There is also a map of the canal there.

We were quite the stream of walkers today.

This sign is pretty early on.  We only walked to Split Rock and back.  All the way to LaSalle is 4.3.

We actually saw many eagles today.  This one let us get pretty close.

We're getting there 1 mile down and 1.2 to go.  Then we have to walk back.
We are at the Pecumsaugan Creek, this is looking to the North

Looking south, Pecumsaugan Creek

Old railroad tunnel through the sandstone

You can see here that the sandstone is tipping to the West.  Some parts in Starved Rock it is tipping to the East.  One of our hikers "Geology Joe"  tells us the story of the Sandstone... why the lines....why is it here.  Interesting.  But as I explain it here it looses something in the translation.  So I will leave the Geology to Joe.

Mile marker.  We just turned around, heading back to Utica

Almost back

We were very spread out today.  Some brought there yak tracks and some just slid around.

Looking over the canal bridge in Utica we saw these formations on the ice.  Some thought they were where someone threw rocks.  I'm not so sure.  Maybe it is an indication that the flowers were soon to come.  Kind of like flower power.  This is what I'm going with.  

Today wasn't a very flashy hike, but it was nice having a larger group.  It gave us time to catch up with some of the hikers we haven't seen in awhile.  Wildlife we saw today was Eagles.  I think I saw a few Pelicans.  I'm sure I did.  Some others on the hike said no that they were just seagulls.  Well Arnie (a fellow hiker) saw a flock of pelicans off the Veranda while having lunch at the Lodge after the walk.  I'm pretty sure the birds I saw were the scouts for the Squadron, pod or scoop. (these 3 are other names for a group of pelicans).

 I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Kaskaskia, Ottawa, Pontiac Canyons - March 5, 2015

Today's walker's club boarded a trolley (driven by me) to Council Overhang parking lot east of the Lodge.  We had 21 hikers.  All had extra traction on their boots.  We started out at 3 degrees and when we finished the temperature was about 10.  We all were bundled up and had a great hike.

21 walkers
First stop Council Overhang
Right about the corner is Council Overhang.  In the background, formed in the sandstone is a hiking boot.  Use your imagination.  See it?

For some extra activity, a few walker's went up into Council Overhang
On the way into Kaskaskia there is a smaller Council Overhang forming.  It will take maaannnnnnyyyyy years to catch up!
One of the reasons we went into Kaskaskia Canyon today was to go behind this frozen waterfall.  It wasn't a disappointment.  See the crack near the top of the canyon?

The view of the frozen waterfall in Kaskaskia from the front.  Hike leader Joe is holding up the logs.

We weren't planning to go into Ottawa Canyon, but we were just so close when we walked out of Kaskaskia Canyon.
When we were on our way back we had to cross Rt. 71.  Good thing we weren't the first ones crossing.  A path was already formed.

This is an ice fall forming on the West wall of Hennepin Canyon

This is the view from the bridge over Hennepin Canyon looking North
Hidden Canyon (I think) It is suppose to be Hidden!
Trail Trees or Trail Marker Trees.  Could this be one?  These were used to mark trails so the Native Americans knew where to find things and guided them where to go.  "On the other side is Owl Canyon"

First 1/2 of the group waiting for the second 1/2 near the parking lot spur trail by Owl Canyon

Steps going down to Owl Canyon.  VERY ICY!  Glad I had my Katoohlas!!!!

Photo taken along the river trail.  I thought the ice looked like taffy being pulled.  Or maybe I was just a little hungry!

View of Terry taking a photo of us on the LaSalle Canyon Bridge. (no those are not our tracks)
Lonetree Canyon
These steps are always a little sketchy (icy and dangerous) in the winter.

Walking along the River trail all of a sudden the group just stopped.  The person in the front spotted this eagle right above us.  He/she stayed there the whole time, posing for photos. I took quite a few but am posting just 3 of them here.  Couldn't decide on which one to keep. Enjoy!

I love this view!  View of Eagles Cliff from the river trail.
A zoomed photo of Wildcat Canyon from the Bridge into the canyon.  Notice the blue color.
Unzoomed photo of Wildcat Canyon.  No ice climbers today.
Coming out of Wildcat, right by the bridge, we noticed these bones.  Pretty sturdy vertebrae with lightweight rib bones.  Thinking its a Turkey????
Pontiac Canyon... Great Canyon, just happened to have a fantastic ice fall. Again took lots of photos and couldn't choose.  Enjoy!!

Someone started a snowman near Wildcat canyon
The top of Starved Rock from the Bluff Trail

French Canyon from the top.  Certainly looked icy.
Almost back to the Lodge

Eagle carving near the Lodge.  Still seeing Eagles!!!!
 I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.