Thursday, April 21, 2016

Margery Carlson Nature Preserve 04-21-2016

The day started out with a little bit of sun.  Not sure of the temperature but it was comfortable.  A little humidity crept in about 1/2 way through the hike.  We met in the lobby of the Lodge at 9:00a.m.  I told everyone where we were going to hike today, as a Nature Preserve was on the schedule.  We only go to a Nature Preserve a couple of times a year.  There are no trails in the Nature Preserve, so you are on your own.  I chose the Margery Carlson Nature Preserve for the wildflowers that I thought were blooming there.  It also has the great view of the Vermillion River.

This preserve is named in memory of Margery Carlson, who was instrumental in protecting the area, formerly known as Big Bend Nature Preserve. Carlson was a founder of the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy, serving the chapter as its first secretary and later as trustee.  234.34 acres. Donated in 1976 and more was added in 1978

Not many spaces in the parking lot.  Many had to park in on the road.  Today we had 33 hikers.  There was another group of 8 that stayed at Starved Rock and hiked to Wildcat Canyon. 
Parking lot is small

The invasive Garlic Mustard. 

Blue Phlox, If you can crouch down and smell this flower it is very fragrant.  I think they smell like lilacs.

I finally got to see a blooming Prairie Trillium this year.  One of my favorites!

This was a surprise.  Wild Ginger.  I thought these didn't come up until later in the year.  Notice the small maroon flower at the base of the plant.  What a treat!

Wild Geranium, the plant was everywhere, however I just found these 2 blooms. 

Not to many Jack in the Pulpits out there. There will be more to come.

Bishop Cap was everywhere.  Also called Miterwort

Bishops Cap near a mossy log

Great showing of False Rue Anemone

Squirrel Corn

The Vermillion River

Vermillion River

Shells along the shore of the Vermillion River

We like to get a group photo from time to time.  Great backdrop with the Vermillion River

Rocky beach

Virginia Bluebells

Broken bridge is always an attraction.  I have no idea what its purpose once was.

A field of Mayapples, none are blooming yet.

An apple is at the base of the Mayapple.  This apple will eventually turn into a white flower.

Yellow Wood Violet

We are on our way back up hill to the parking lot

Heading back
I will leave you with this: “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Matthiessen State Park April 14. 2016

What a gorgeous day! Mid 60's to lower 70's and the beautiful sun is out.  We left the Starved Rock Lodge at 9:00a.m. and carpooled to Matthiessen State Park's main area near the replica fort.  To the surprise of no one, there were 43 hikers and 3 dogs.  The trail started out a bit muddy, but the waterfalls, scenery and company were great.  

Every day this week on my way to work in the morning I have seen little blue birds on these bird houses near the back entrance road to the park.  Well today, I was ready; I had my camera turned on and in zoom mode.  I even had my radio turned off and window rolled down for quick photography. NO BIRDS!!! 

We began our hike at the fort area.  We went down the stairs near the fort and went left when we reached the bottom.

This park was originally owned by Frederick Matthiessen and was originally only 176 acres and called Deer Park.  After Frederick Matthiessen's death the land was donated to the state and became a state park in 1943.

Map at Matthiessen Park.  These maps are located at all the major intersections.
Yellow Bellwort

Toothwort is everywhere

Strawberry Rock

There is still some Hepatica holding on

Going down into the lower dells area.  
This is where the mud is.

Devil's Paintbox.  I didn't go in here, it was extremely muddy.

Arnie and Linda just admiring the waterfall at Cascade Falls

There is a little cave like area near Cascade Falls

Close up photo of Cascade Falls

Walking out the way we came.  I just love the sun on the sandstone's West wall.

Some False Rue Anemone

View looking south from the lower dells

Going up the concrete steps and over the bridge

This was such a treat.  I have been seeing these leaves for weeks.  Finally a bloom.  There weren't many blooms, but I managed to get an ok photo.  Dog Tooth Violet or Trout Lily (same thing)

There was some follow the leader going on today to get across the stream crossings.  But oh what fun!!

The start of Coral Bells (Heuchera)

One of the man made dams in the dells area.

Still have a few Dutchman's Breeches blooming around the park.

Not really a good photo, but this is the leaves for the Blue Cohash.  In the summer the ends will have little blue balls.

Virginia Bluebells will soon be blooming everywhere.

There are still a few Bloodroots blooming.

A few hikers taking a break by the Giant's Bathtub

We all maneuvered through the roots and rocks

Now this is a family that is really glad to be hiking during Spring Break.  Couldn't of had a better hike!  Waterfall is Lake Falls.

View of Matthiessen Lake

Bridge going over Lake Falls

Prairie Trillium is still not blooming, maybe this weekend.

A little bonus waterfall on the way back to the car.

After hiking some of the Walker's Club members stay a few minutes to visit in our Cafe and have a cold beverages after a vigorous hike.  They really come in for the outstanding coffee and to check the inspirational board (see next photo).

Hillary from our Cafe changes these inspirational sayings once a week.  Way to go Hillary!!
I will leave you with this: "Know that the brightest and sweetest smelling blossoms are not always on the tallest trees.