Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mid Week Mega Hike November 7, 2018

Mid-Week Mega hike Nov. 7, 2018
 8:30a.m. departure group

I love leading the Mega Hike especially the mid week mega hike in November.  This year my guide that went with me was Peggy. We boarded the trolley at the Lodge and the trolley took us to the East end of the park to Illinois Canyon parking lot and we walked back from there going into every accessible canyon and overlook.  Once we got back to the Lodge, there was lunch waiting for us.   Yumm!  We had a 1/2 hour lunch and then departed for Starved Rock and the West end of the park.  Great weather and none of the crowds that are here for the weekend Mega Hikes.

The trolley dropping us at Illinois Canyon parking lot.  We were the first group to arrive.  There will be another Mega Hike group arriving in a half hour.
Tree down in Illinois Canyon

Over or under.  Most of us chose under.

When looking for a waterfall, Illinois Canyon is a sure bet lately

We have been taking group photos by this tree for years on the mega hike.  When we started taking the photos on the mega hike the leaning tree was over their heads.

The boot area.  This is located on the trail right before Council Overhang

Coming down from Council Overhang

Kaskaskia Canyon.  I was really surprised there was a mini waterfall here.

Ottawa Canyon

We had some great colors on the trail today.  Up out of the Council Overhang area and over route 71.  First incline of the day!  That warmed many of us up.  Gloves and scarves were coming off.

Great view of the LaSalle Canyon Creek Bridge.

Entering LaSalle Canyon

LaSalle Canyon

On the river trail with a great view of Eagle's Cliff in the distance

This is the BEST view in the park.  Especially today.  Love the fall colors.  It could only be made better with a little bit of sun.

Lover's Leap looking at Starved Rock.  20 minutes we will be having lunch at the Lodge

The Legend of Starved Rock Plaque at the top of Lover's Leap.  Starved Rock is in the background

Miranda was checking everyone in at lunch.  Turkey BLT wrap, chips, apple, granola bar and a bottle of water

After lunch we went to the top of Starved Rock.  This is the view looking East.  Lover's Leap

While at the top of Starved Rock walking around on the boardwalk, I tell the hikers about the Illinois River, Eagles, Locks and the photo here of the Starved Rock Lodge.  There is so much history in the Starved Rock Area. 

First Canyon after lunch is Aurora Canyon.  We could of just walked up on the upper trail and not gone in, but why? This is such a great canyon, my favorite!

Aurora Canyon

Everyone seemed to like this canyon also.  Maybe they just said that for my benefit.

top of Sac Canyon

Last canyon is St. Louis.  Not much water falling today.

Coming back on the West Bluff trail. There are a few of these sandstone sitting areas. Nobody wanted to stop and rest.  It was getting chillier the longer we hiked.

Everyone seems to call this the "Orange Rock" 

Nice long stretch of the last boardwalk of the day.

Last stairway!  I promise this is the last one!

Final walk or run across the bridge.  I like to high five everyone coming across after the mega hike. The hike is 13.4 miles visiting all 18 canyons and 5 overlooks

My group of 21 all finished!  This doesn't happen very often. Way to go you were the best!

 I will leave you with this: Never get tired of doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.

Matthiessen State Park Upper and lower dells Oct. 18, 2018

We started our hike today like all the other hikes in the Lodge's lobby. We drove to Matthiessen State Park's Fort area and hiked from there. The weather was perfect along with the company.

Fall Colors are starting to turn at Matthiessen State Park.
Going down the major stairway by the fort

I ran down the steps so I could get a photo of the group coming down.

One of the areas in the park that was showing off what fall colors are at Matthiessen Park

The group coming around the bend by Strawberry Rock

Going all the way down to the floor of the Lower Dells

View of the South concrete bridge through the trees

View into Devil's Paintbox

We had to walk on and around lots of rocks today

Walt taking a break

Cascade Falls (no falls today)

For many people this was their first time to Matthiessen State Park

Many cave like areas in the lower area

Heading back out

Nice fall colors here! Crossing the bridge over to the West side. 

And then back up the other side

On to the next attraction

The Fall colors are really trying to come through

Beautiful Lake Matthiessen today!

What a crowd.  Nice day for a hike with friends

We went down to the lower upper dells near Lake Falls.  Very little water flowing today.

Everyone coming down to the lower area

Single file please

Always a favorite. Giant's Bathtub

Giant's Bathtub

Lots of tree roots and rocks to walk around and over.  A few minor falls today

I love this area.  We are working our way through the lower area of the upper dells.

Plenty of rocks to maneuver around

Near the Cedar Point area

We need to let them know that a few trees have fallen

One at a time.  Watch your step!

Looking up at the bridge by Cascade Falls.

Soon we will be using this cabin to rent cross country skis. Not me, but someone will.  This will be available in the winter on the weekends when there is snow.
I will leave you with this: Don't look back, you are not going that way!