Thursday, December 1, 2016

St. Louis, Kickapoo, Sac and Aurora Canyons 12-01-16

St. Louis Canyon Waterfall

Welcome to December!!!  Today we had 41 walkers and 4 dogs.  We were scheduled to go to a Nature Preserve, but with hunting, we thought that St. Louis Canyon would be the better option.  We took the West Bluff trail to St. Louis Canyon (passing over Aurora, Sac and Kickapoo along the way).  Coming out of St. Louis Canyon, a few people headed back the way we came, but most went up and over the entrance road to the park and walked through the picnic area in hopes of seeing an eagle (not today).  We then went into Aurora canyon and back up the steps to the Lodge.

Can you see all 4 dogs? Ellie, Mandy, Coco and Riggs

Bridge at the West end

Coming down to the top of Aurora

Love the smell of the pine

Sac Canyon had a nice waterfall today.

The Watchtower or better known as the orange rock.  Watch the bottom step it is a doosey.

I often wonder, how this happens.  Notice how the trunk is twisted. Amazing.

If you didn't know any better, you would think with all the green leaves, Spring is right around the corner.  This Hepatica plant will turn maroon this winter.  This will be one of the first spring flowers. First there will be a flower, and then green these leaves will come in the summer and stay green and turn to maroon in the winter.  

Nice waterfall in St. Louis Canyon

I took this photo and close as I could get without going in the water pool.  St. Louis Canyon

The group taking a break.  I think they were looking for Joe to tell the story of the St. Louis Murders.  I ended up telling an abbreviated version.

1/2 way point.

Going up....

Going over.....

Going down.....

Once we got up, over and down from the entrance road, there was this swamp land to the East of us.  I just thought it made for a cool photo. 

One of the other hikers pointed out some recent beaver damage in the swamp area.

We crossed over this little bridge by the picnic area and headed East

There were way more Canadian Geese than Eagles.  Canadian Geese about 100 - Eagles 0

At this point, some bypassed Aurora Canyon and just went back to the Lodge

They are hard to see, but using the steps are always a better idea.

Aurora Canyon Waterfall

Aurora Canyon Waterfall

Inside Aurora is the smallest canyon.  We went in shifts. Many people that came today, said they have been to park numerous times, but doubted that they ever visited Aurora Canyon. 
I will leave you with this: The elevator to success is out of order, you will have to use the stairs one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagles Cliff, Wildcat and French Canyon

Hiking days are fun days!

It was a little drizzly today, bringing the number of hikers to 26 people. We left the Lodge and headed to Starved Rock, into French Canyon, up Jacob's Ladder and onto Lover' s Leap and then Eagle's Cliff.  To finish off the hike we went into Wildcat Canyon and then back to the Lodge via the Pontiac Canyon trail. Excellent.
26 hikers set out on this drizzly day.

22 steps, an incline and then 66 stairs to the top of Starved Rock.

Joe is telling the group about when the steps were put in.  His mother was here when the CCC workers were putting in the steps. 

View of Lover's Leap from the Top of Starved Rock

View of the Locks from the top of Starved Rock

No eagles today.  Leopold Island

Close up of Leopold Island

Flags at Half Staff through Wednesday, November 23rd to Honor Private First Class Tyler R. Iubelt

View of the Lodge from Starved Rock

View of the Lower Park picnic area from the top of Starved Rock

French Canyon

Most of the Walkers Club today (some didn't come in the canyon)

Regina and her grandkids coming out of French Canyon

A bridge across the stream from French Canyon.  Jacob's Ladder is coming up.

View of Devil's Nose in the distance

Barge going through the locks

View of a barge from Lovers Leap

View looking East from Eagles Cliff. "Best View in the Park"

Foggy view of the Illinois River from Eagles Cliff
We generally don't go to the top of Beehive Overlook.  Today we had some extra time.  Not much of a view with all the Pine trees.

Wildcat Canyon Waterfall from the floor of the canyon

Wildcat Canyon from the East Overlook, looking down into the Canyon

Small waterfall on top of Wildcat Canyon

Coming back via the Pontiac Canyon trail

New directional signs, that hopefully won't get overgrown

Only deer we saw today.  They were scarce today, especially with the hunting last week.

Snow will be here soon to keep this snowman healthy.

Some of the hikers enjoying a cool drink or a hot cup of coffee/hot chocolate in the Cafe after the hike.

Inspirational sign in the Cafe. They change the sign about once a week.
I will leave you with this: Be thankful for your entire family. Be thankful for what you will have.  Be grateful for those difficult times that made you who you are.  Be thankful for your friends that hike with you in the rain.