Friday, April 24, 2015

April 23rd, Ottawa, Kaskaskia and Illinois Canyon, Council Overhang

Today we left the Lodge and carpooled to the Ottawa / Kaskaskia Canyon parking area off of Rt. 71.  We first enjoyed Council Overhang, then walked into Kaskaskia and the Ottawa Canyon.  To finish off our hike we delighted in the excellent display of the Virginia Bluebells there.

Beautiful day for 27 hikers and 1 dog to go hiking

Rosanne and Mandy (Mandy is the dog)
Nodding Trillium

"The Boot"

All of us going up into Council Overhang

Looking up into the sky in Council Overhang

Yellow Bellwort with Squirrel Corn

Bishop's Cap / Miter wort

Ottawa Canyon

Ottawa Canyon close up

Jack in the Pulpit (these are just now coming up

Jack in the Pulpit

Virginia Bluebells with a little bit of horse tails sprinkled in.  This photo was taken at the Ottawa and Kaskaskia intersection.

Prairie Trillium

Prairie Trillium, this flower just started blooming, so it is hard for me not to take photos of it.  Yes there are more to come.

Picturesque Kaskaskia Canyon

Looking back out of Kaskaskia Canyon

Blue Cohosh, later in the year it will have little blue berries (hence the reference to blue)

Trout Lily - Just about the last blooming one, until next year

Wild Ginger- Notice the hidden maroon flower underneath

The highlight for me today was going to be the Bluebells in Illinois Canyon.  I saved it for last on purpose.  And I wasn't disappointed.

Virginia Bluebells

More Bluebells

Swamp Marigolds or Buttercups

Swamp Marigolds or Buttercups

State flower of Illinois - Blue Violet

Walking along the trail, we saw this little egg

Crossing one of the 3 stream crossings

Yes! 3 of the 27 hikers crossed this stream on the log.  Would I do it again???? Maybe, we'll see.

Illinois Canyon
Illinois Canyon - Close up

All of us in Illinois Canyon - What a great group!!!

False Rue Anemone

Coming out of Illinois Canyon

Single file....

All trying to get the perfect photo of the Bluebells

Bluebells upclose
Lots of flowers today and 3 waterfalls.  Getting ready for the Mega Hike on Saturday and Sunday.  This is the best time to see the wildflowers.  

I will leave you with this: Breathe the Wind, Drink the Rain.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 16th &18th, Wildcat, LaSalle, Eagle's Cliff, Lover's Leap

I did two hikes this week. Went to the same places.  So I thought I would mesh the photos together.  On Thursday, my friend Lori and her son Kevin with their dog Phoenix.  And on Saturday I hiked with the Take a Hike and lunch group.  Both hikes went to Wildcat and LaSalle Canyons, Lover's Leap and Eagles Cliff. Both days were equally beautiful with Saturday being much hotter in temperature.

Dutchman's Britches with some May apples sprinkled in.

Tooth wort

Lori, Kevin and Phoenix at upper Wildcat Canyon

Upper Wildcat

Upper Wildcat

View from the Eastern overlook of Wildcat Canyon

Kevin in the photo spot

Many of the trees are blooming white

View from Sandstone Point - Looking at the Zimmerman Site (Halfway House or the Sulfur Springs Hotel)

Spring beauties trying to open

Young ferns along the sandstone

Yellow Bell Wort are numerous

We still have some Hepatica

Skunk Cabbage - notice the maroon flower at the base.  This is the first wildflower to bloom.  Sometimes when the snow is still on the ground.  Skunk Cabbage can be found in the swampy areas in the park.

Skunk Cabbage

Blood Root

Bridge going to LaSalle Canyon

New Hepatica leaves

False Rue Anemone

Nodding Trillium - This will eventually bloom white.  Maybe another week

LaSalle Canyon on Thursday

LaSalle Canyon on Thursday

Ferns unfurling

Squirrel Corn


Virginia Bluebells, just about ready

We saw this little raccoon in the distance

Blooming Spring Beauties

A field of May Apples.  When these get to be blooming you won't even see the leaves.

Tooth Wort

Blooming Bloodwort

This Blooming Star has a couple of weeks to go before we see the blooms.  It is one of my favorites.

Top of French

Prairie Trillium almost blooming on Thursday

I picked up this bag of Garbage on Thursday.  Sad that people can't take out what they bring in!

Saturday's Hike
 The rest of the photos on this blog's post is from my group on Saturday.  The sun was brighter and hotter and there were lots of people. 
Finally saw the Toad Lily blooming on Saturday, Lots of them!!!

View of Wildcat from the East overlook (notice that on Saturday there is more people

I had a great group of hikers.  One family of 14, a newlywed couple, and a group of 3 ladies celebrating a birthday

My friend "Burl"

Blood Root, almost gone, we were lucky to see these.

One blooming Prairie Trillium all day

Couple of frogs in the water under the LaSalle Canyon bridge

Squirrel Corn

LaSalle Canyon on Saturday

Lunch in LaSalle Canyon

West Wall of LaSalle Canyon

A seat for three.  They are celebrating a birthday.  2 of them have been friends since first grade.  The other one joined in later.  Great group of ladies.

Water falling in LaSalle Canyon

Behind LaSalle Canyon looking out to the East

Little yellow violets

The snakes have arrived.  He was right where I anticipated he would be, right below "The Snake Tree".

View of Eagle's Cliff from the River Trail

Saturday and good weather brings out all the crazies.  A couple of weeks ago, this is the canyon where a man fell and broke both of his legs.

Wildcat Canyon

Yes those are people way up there.  Look close they are there.

Wildcat Canyon on Saturday

"Best view in the Park"  View from Eagles Cliff

It was a hot day!  I enjoyed two glasses of ice water upon my return. 
Both of my hikes were enjoyable!  I had great company.  I will be back out there on Monday for the Waterfall and Canyon Tour.  Ottawa, St. Louis and Aurora (maybe French also).  We'll see.

I will leave you with this: Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground.  Most of the time.  But always stay on the trail at Starved Rock State Park.