Saturday, June 3, 2017

Visit a Canyon- New trolley tour. 06-03-2017

I took a drive out to Council Overhang / Ottawa Canyon this morning to check the trail.  I wanted to see if some of the mud has dried up.  Today is the first day of the new tour "Visit a Canyon Tour".
Council Overhang

The "Visit a Canyon Tour" consists of the following: When checking in for the tour you will be given a Starved Rock map backpack with a bottle of water and a package of Hiker's Trail Mix.  You will board a trolley in front of the Lodge for a historic tour.  Trolley stops at the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for a beautiful view and photos of the Starved Rock.  Next the trolley will take you through the Village of Utica and tell you a little bit about the Illinois and Michigan Canal.  While aboard the trolley, the driver and guide will tell legends and history of Starved Rock and the the Lodge.  From the village of Utica the trolley will then take you to the Council Overhang/Ottawa canyon parking area where you will be dropped off with a guide for a scenic walk into the canyon and back.  Getting back on the trolley, they will take you to the park's Visitor Center for a short stop before concluding the tour at the Lodge.

 There are quite a bit of wildflowers and other interesting things to look at while on the trail.  Can you find these?

Wild Ginger (notice the heart shaped leaf) flowers are underneath the leaves

False Solomon's Seal (notice the small flower spray coming out the end).  The "Real" Solomon's Seal has small white flowers under the opposing green leaves on the stem.

Virginia Waterleaf (this flower is almost past)

Bladder Nut (small tree /bush)

Who has a good imagination?  See the hiking boot in the sandstone?  It's kind of like finding shapes in clouds. 

You can take this flat trail or go up the small incline in the photo below to Council Overhang

Eroding incline to Council Overhang

View of Council Overhang looking out.  Photo taken from the back wall.

Continuing into the canyon, this mini Council Overhang can be seen on your left.

This tour will go in to Ottawa Canyon.  Kaskaskia is for another day....

Near the Ottawa/Kaskaskia sign is a patch of "Snake Grass"  This is one of the very few places it grows in the park.

Stepping stones into Ottawa Canyon

View going into Ottawa Canyon.  Almost there.
Ottawa Canyon Waterfall

 There are plenty of other things to see on this tour.  This tour is offered June -September on Mondays from 10:00-12:30, Saturdays from 10:00-12:30 & 12:30-3:00, and Sundays from 10:00-2:30p.m.

I will leave you with this: Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

LaSalle, Wildcat Canyons, woodpecker video 06-01-2017

Today we had 42 hikers on a picture perfect day.  We left the Lodge at 9:00a.m. and headed on the East Bluff trail down the short-cut to the River Trail, bypassing Lover's Leap and Eagle's Cliff.  Once arriving on the River trail we went into LaSalle and Tonti Canyons.  Back up the Bluff stairs by Lonetree canyon, with a stop at the East Bluff overlook to see the Wildcat waterfall.  Arrived back at the Lodge between 11:30.12:00p.m.

LaSalle Canyon

Top of French Canyon


Small White roses along the trail

May "Apple".  This "apple" appears after the flower is gone.   I have read and heard conflicting stories as to if they are edible.  Cooked or uncooked, stay away from them. 

Real Solomon's Seal (underneath there is a stream of white flowers).

Yellow Flag Iris along the river area, found usually where it is swampy.


Northern Bush Honeysuckle

Zoomed in to get this photo of 2 water snakes.  One in the water and one on the log.

Little bit of mud never hurt anyone..... well, not unless you fell....

Bridge near LaSalle and Tonti Canyons.  Caution: Slippery going up and slippery coming down.

Going into LaSalle Canyon.  Gotta love the GREEN

LaSalle Canyon was worth the walk

Walker's Club taking  a short break

Reception ???????

On to Tonti Canyon

Little bit of a waterfall in Tonti Canyon

It's hard to get a bad photo in Tonti Canyon

Wild Coral Bells

I don't know what Glenn is up to with the smile, he is almost to the top of the Bluff stairs (155).


Looking down into Wildcat Canyon

Waterfall in Wildcat Canyon

What's left of the Green Dragon.  If you look close you can see a wilted dragon on the bottom of the stalk.

Top leaves of the Green Dragon

Now this is someone who loves hiking (heart). 
 I recorded the following video of a Pileated Woodpecker this past weekend.  Thought I would share.

I will leave you with this: Never take life for granted, whatever comes your way, just grasp it, in both hands, and enjoy it everyday. So, enjoy each precious moment and always give your best.  Remember to keep faith in God, then you'll be truly blessed!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wildcat, Sandstone Point, Eagle's Cliff, Lover's Leap 05-12-2017

I LOVE this photo!

33 hikers took the Campanula Trail out to Wildcat Canyon.  From there we followed the Bluff trail past Sandstone Point and down the major stairway by Lonetree Canyon.  On the river trail back to the Lodge we went into Wildcat Canyon. Before arriving at the Lodge we also stopped at Eagle's Cliff.  The weather was beautiful and the company was great.  Perfect Thursday for hiking.

On the Campanula Trail

Mayapple blossom.  Not much longer and these will be gone until next Spring

Boardwalk on the way to Wildcat Canyon.  Boardwalks can be slick after a rain.

Wild Geranium are still blooming throughout the park

Top of Wildcat Canyon from the Bridge

The rest of the group arriving at the top of Wildcat Canyon

Vegetation growth.  Soon this log may be covered over.

Today we saw 2 waterfalls in Wildcat Canyon. This stream is the top of the 2nd waterfall

View of Wildcat waterfall from the East viewing platform

Photo of the West platform over Wildcat Canyon, taken from the East platform

Columbine wildflowers are in abundance

Little bit of mud on the trail on top of Basswood Canyon

View from Sandstone Point.  We took a little break here.

Bird foot violet.  Near Sandstone point

"Burl"  There are many of these throughout the park, however this is one of the largest to be seen from the trail.

Mouse Eared Chickweed

Wild Lily of the Valley (I think)

These Columbine can be found along the river trail

Woodland Phlox

Real Solomon's Seal (as opposed to the false) Notice the flowers pods on the underside of the stalk
Raspberries anyone? Soon.....

This is a stalk of False Solomon's Seal.  No pods and a flower out the end.

When I first saw this, I thought it looked like it was in the Sedum family. Sure enough it is Woodland Sedum

And now it begins.  The coming of all the summer yellow wildflowers that I just can't remember.  This one may be Golden Alexander

One of my favorite Spring Wildflowers the Shooting Star.  These are almost finished until next year.

Wildcat Canyon

Two waterfalls in Wildcat Canyon

Wildcat Canyon

Just a different angle of the Wildcat

Today's Walkers resting up before going up the stairway to Eagle's Cliff

View looking East from atop Eagles' Cliff

View of the Lock and Dam from Eagles' Cliff

Walt having some alone time.  Is he contemplating what he is going to do the rest of the day?

Shooting stars amidst Columbine

Hard to say if I have seen this flower before, Yellow Star Grass (thanks for the comment Jared)
I will leave you with this: Be happy..... not because everything is good, but because you can see the good in everything!