Saturday, October 7, 2017

Oct. 5th, 2017 St. Louis and Aurora Canyons

We left the Lodge's lobby on a beautiful Fall morning.  There were 48 walkers and 2 dogs.  We left the Lobby and headed out to the West Bluff Trail. 

Welcome to the Fall Color Season

Going over the walk bridge at the West end of the Lodge property.

This photo is nice, but it was stunning in person.

Going down to the top of Aurora Canyon

Looking into the tree canopy was just stunning.

Another fall tree photo.  Trying to get the best photo.

Almost down the wooden steps near the "orange rock" 

Rocks, Roots, and pine needles.  All a danger of falling

Look real close, there is a waterfall in St. Louis Canyon

Lots of frogs on the edge of the plunge pool.  This one waited to jump.

Looking out of St. Louis Canyon from the waterfall area.

Coming out of St. Louis Canyon.  Balancing on the planks are fairly easy when there is little water.

Once we get in the canyon, it is often hard to get them moving again.  They all love to visit.

The sign post on the left was found on the side of the trail. We picked it up and took it to the Visitor Center.

At the top of Sac Canyon

A few sandstone steps into Aurora Canyon

Zoomed photo of the top of Aurora Canyon

Aurora Canyon

Going back to the Lodge.  This trail is in disrepair.

The Glassinator is still today

I don't think this fella will be going on any Fall Color tours this weekend.

Fall Colors are getting there.  Love the clouds!  This tree is at the back entrance to the Lodge off of Rt. 71.  "Edna's Tree"

Entrance to the Lodge
I will leave you with this: Count your blessings, so you can lose count of your problems.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sept. 24-2017 Mega Hike

The Mega Hike is an event that the Starved Rock Lodge offers 3-4 times a year.  The event is $37.00 per person and includes an event t-shirt, lunch, trolley transportation and 2 knowledgeable guides from the Starved Rock Walker's Club.  The hike begins with check in at the Lodge at 8:30, 9:00 or 9:30a.m.  The group boards the trolley and heads out to the Illinois Canyon parking area.  The idea isn't to hike all the trails in the park, the idea is to go to all the canyons in the park. The hike is 13.4 miles and we see all 18 canyons.

Today, I am leading the 9:30a.m. tour with Tom. 

Sunday, 9:30a.m. mega hike group

Tom getting off the trolley ready to hike.

The first canyon of the day is Illinois Canyon.  Look closely, there is a waterfall.  Only about 6 inches but it was falling.

The standard group photo in Illinois Canyon.  This is my group. 17 great people and my excellent guide - Tom

Council Overhang is next....

The "Boot" area.  Right around the corner is Council Overhang.

View of Council Overhang looking out.

Everyone in Council Overhang taking my suggestion for a great photo.

2nd Canyon is Kaskaskia

3rd Canyon is Ottawa

Coming out of Ottawa Canyon is this lovely place.  I call it miniature Council Overhang

After Ottawa /Kaskaskia Canyon we experienced our first major stairway, up and over Rt. 71 and up some more.

Hennepin Canyon Overlook

There really isn't a good photo spot for Hennepin Canyon. So this is as good as it gets.  Love the blue sky

LaSalle Canyon

Tonti Canyon

Wildcat Canyon

"Best view in the park" Eagles Cliff looking East

View looking North/West from Eagles Cliff.  Looking at the Illinois Waterway, Lock and Dam

Some went down to be on Lover's Leap to see Starved Rock

Every Mega Hike has it's own shirt. This one will be a favorite!

We arrived at the Lodge about 1:50p.m. for lunch.  After a half hour lunch break we got up and hiked some some.  At this point, you could elect to opt out or hike on.  My group of 17 went down to 12.  The Mega Hike Lunch: Chicken ceasar wrap, homemade granola bar, apple, bag of chips, bottle of water.  This year since it was soooo hot, we had glasses of ice.  Everything hit the spot.  Yummy!

First stop after lunch was French Canyon

Aurora Canyon

St. Louis Canyon is our last canyon and there was actually a pretty good waterfall here. 

St. Louis Canyon. 

Miranda writing out the Certificates upon completion.

Long time Walker Club member Linda - First time Mega Hike leader.  I'm really proud of her!  You deserve that Certificate and Snicker Bar!

This group of girls kept me on my toes.

We have 18 canyons in Starved Rock State Park.  Some canyons you can only see from on the top as there is no trails into them.  There are also some canyons you can only walk into and not see from the top.  Some have both a top view and interior.  I have listed them here:
Top: Hennepin, Hidden, Owl, Lonetree, Basswood, Pontiac, Fox, Sac, Kickapoo
Interior: Illinois, Kaskaskia, Ottawa, LaSalle, Tonti, St. Louis
Top and Interior: Wildcat, French, Aurora

I will leave you with this: Stop doubting yourself, work hard and make it happen!