Thursday, May 16, 2019

Nearly fifty SR Walkers drove to the Hennepin Canyon Parking lot and walked the surprisingly muddy East Bluff Trail to Owl Canyon and back. We beat the rain! 
Get up! Go Outside!

 The small army of Walkers leaving the parking lot.
 Mayapples are blooming under the plant's umbrellas and below your knees.
 Prairie trillium are finishing and blue phlox is peaking.
 Doll's eyes are beginning to blossom. 
 The trails will soon be completely shaded by the emerging leaf canopy.
 Pussy toes, nearly the smallest Spring wildflower, is setting seeds.
 A walking pause for talking at the Hennepin Canyon overlook.
 Wild geraniums are blooming everywhere along the trail.
 Summer is starting to peek out from under the Rt. 71 bridge over upper Hennepin Canyon.
 Sure hope this spider is vegan since all this web on the Hennepin Canyon trail bridge has captured is flower petals!
 Hidden Canyon is rapidly disappearing behind its leaf cover.
 Shiny new poison ivy is appearing on knee to chest high wooden stems.
 Leaves of three, let it be!
 SR Walkers crossing upper Owl Creek.
 Watching Owl Creek disappear into Owl Canyon.
 Yellow star grass along the East Bluff Trail.
 The largest blue phlox bouquet seen trailside today.
 We discovered a field of wood betony (louse wort) above the east wall of Hennepin Canyon.
As our walk finished, this first year jack in the pulpit in Marseilles was being hit by hail stones.

Let's end with this quote from Thomas Jefferson

"Of all exercises walking is the best."

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Forty-odd SR Walkers (Some of us are!) hiked out to the Sandstone Point staircase and back on a mostly dry 60-odd degree day.

 We had one dog with us.
 Yes, there is going to be a sun hole in the canopy at this spot on the Campanula boardwalk.
 Jack in the pulpits are peaking along the boardwalk.
 Purple phlox is popping everywhere.
 SR Walkers descending onto the Wildcat Canyon rim boardwalk.
 An east rim view of the canyon floor shows that the Illinois River has left the canyon to Wildcat Creek. There might also be some "ant" tracks in the silt the river left behind. 
 Raindrop impressions and worm trails (protrails?) on the East Bluff trail means that we are the first walkers here today.
 That "hole" in the SR dam is actually the only closed gate. the other nine are mostly out of the water!
 Sandstone Point is the best place along the Bluff Trail to stand on the Park's bedrock.
 A freshly showered bird'sfoot violet on Sandstone Point.  The leaf shape gives this plant its name.
 The trailside burl that we have named "Milton".
 Crossing Lone Tree Creek on the River Trail back towards the Lodge.
 Look! There is a bird's nest in the "snake tree". Look closer!
 SR Walkers probably talk more than we walk.
 A view across Wildacat Creek to the canyon's headwall.
 Wildcat Creek has somehow separated the "hiking boots" from the "rubber boots".
 The channel marker buoy that arrived at the mouth of Wildcat Creek with last year's floods has moved 100-yards further up the creek this year.
 There is more than one reason to call it a River Trail!
The ball blossoms of the sarsaparilla are appearing uder the plant's leaf stem.
The Mayapple blossoms are also beginning to pop under this plant's umbrellas.
 My personal patch of shooting stars just above French Canyon.
French Creek is particularly frothy... it disappears down the falls into lower French Canyon.
If this is the only downside of having a flowering crabtree then I'll take it!

I will leave you with a quote from W.J. Holland:
 "Happy is the person who has acquired the love of walking for its own sake."

Friday, May 3, 2019

Edna began this SR Walkers blog some years ago. She is leaving and the Lodge wants to continue the blog. Since I am still going Outside they asked me to take it over. With apologies to Edna and wishing her the best I have agreed to accept the hand-off. So begins "Hike with Joe"...

A bakers dozen SR Walkers donned their rain gear and headed out to St. Louis Canyon as the  planned trek on the east side of the Park was largely under water. Five minutes out the rain stopped. It turned out to be a great day for a walk in the woods!

 Kay is commenting on Ron's "rain skirt".  He prefers the term "rain kilt".
 Most were never aware of the upper-upper falls on Aurora Creek.
 The usual Upper Aurora Canyon falls were a roaring echo down the canyon!
 The Sac Canyon Falls pretty much filled the available space.
 A trail bridge view down Sac Falls into lower Sac Canyon.
 The Mayapple colonies bring a quick layer of green over the brown forest floor duff.
 There is boss Edna on her last walk as Activities Director.
 A white pine reflection on the St. Louis Canyon trail.
 The "green tunnel" around the trail is rapidly forming.
 The moment you become thankful for your waterproof boots!
 Reaching the canyon headwall is always the pause that refreshes.
The 83-foot St Louis Canyon waterfall is responding vigorously  to 4+ inches of rainfall.

 The sedimentologist in me appreciates the bite of sand the creek has removed from the bank to begin its journey to the Gulf of Mexico.
 When fast moving water escapes its confined banks it spreads out, slows down, and drops its sediment as an alluvial fan. I have seen alluvial fans with sediment sizes from clay particles up to boulders. Lower angle fans that remain mostly below water we call "deltas".
 A very nice trailside colony of nodding white trillium.
  A picture of a nodding blossom pretty much requires an upskirt shot.
 These catkins now littering the ground are the male flowers of oak trees.

I leave you with this quote from John Muir - "In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks".