Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015 Starved Rock, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyons

Not necessarily the best photo of the day, but how can I not feature the ELUSIVE GREEN DRAGON!

Today's Walker's Club had 39 walkers and 3 dogs.  Started out a little cloudy but ended up a beautiful day.  Had my jacket around my waist most of the time.  Wildflowers are still out there but are dwindling to a few.  Enjoy!!!

39 hikers and 3 dogs take off for the trail

Nice picture, but I think this is an invasive honeysuckle plant

Going into French

French Canyon

1 of 2 Poison Ivy display signs.  Leaves of 3 leave them be!!!

My motto is, "If its green leave it be"

Lover's Leap --- View to the East from the top of Starved Rock. 
Look real close, this is a zoomed photo of Leopold Island. There is an Eagle in the center of the photo.
Pelicans have arrived

Ron telling the Legend of Starved Rock

View of the Lodge from the top of Starved Rock

Looking over the boardwalk atop Starved Rock

Muillen at the top of Starved Rock

Poison Ivy creeping out onto the steps

Heading to Lover's Leap

Stay on the Trail!!!!   We have a new walkway and stairs

New stairs near French Canyon

You can still find a few Jack in the Pulpits

Everyone from the Walker's Club says HI!!!  Photo taken from Lover's Leap

Barge getting ready to come through the Locks
View from Eagle's Cliff looking East (Best view in the park)

Arnie and Cocoa enjoying a photo op at Eagles Cliff
We enjoyed the new stairs coming down to the river trail from Eagles Cliff

Columbine (Red) and Mouse eared Chickweed (white)

I think this is a Common or Northern Dewberry

Wildcat Canyon

This sister and brother pair from Evanston joined us today after the sister came in January for a hike.  She then told her brother about our group and park.  Both enjoyed the hike today.

Helen taking a break in Wildcat Canyon

These (Jack in the Pulpit) flowers are almost gone until next year.  I just couldn't resist the photo.

Coming out of Wildcat, have to go up, up, up.... 150 or so

Top of Wildcat

The Green Dragon   This flower is very hard to find... because it is green.  Notice the top is curved. The dragon comes up from the ground similar to the Jack in the Pulpit.

Just the dragon part.  Green bottom shooting yellow

2 dragons

After the Starved Rock hike, a few of us went to Matthiesen State Park in search of a Yellow Lady's Slipper.  (photo below)  Photo above is of a very large Jack in the Pulpit.  They did seem to be a bit big this year. 

Yellow Lady's Slipper at Matthiessen Park
 What a great day for a hike!!  (Like there is ever a bad day!!) Love finding those elusive wildflowers.  Soon I will be looking for Coral Root (another orchid).

I will leave you with this: Dreams are the seedlings of realities.  And it is often from the fertile soil of failure that they grow.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 14, 2015 St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo, and Aurora Canyons

Best Photo of the post
For today's hike we met in the Starved Rock Lodge's Lobby and headed out on the West Bluff trail to Aurora, Sac, Kickapoo and St. Louis Canyon.  Upon returning, we also dropped down into Aurora Canyon.  We had 39 hikers and 4 dogs.  I also did a waterfall and canyon tour on the previous Saturday. I am going to incorporate a few of those photos as well.  Enjoy!!

39 hikers and 4 dogs head out to St. Louis Canyon

Joe is inspecting the new bridge beam.  This bridge was hit by a too tall semi last year and has been only partial open. They put in a new beam on Monday.

Still some Mayapples out there blooming
Bloom for the Mayapple.  Once the flower is gone there will be an apple (hence the name).  I read online that you can make preserves with them.  I haven't tried this.  You cannot pick them in the park!!
Top of Sac Canyon

Wild Geranium

Prairie Trillium - Not many of these left, they are almost gone until next year.

Wild Ginger - Notice the little maroon flower at the base.

Columbine on the trail going to St. Louis Canyon

Shooting Stars, They are a bit past their prime. 

Watch out Dave! That last step is extra deep!

Jack in the Pulpit

Virginia Waterleaf are plentiful.  A beautiful dainty lavender flower in St. Louis Canyon

Couldn't resist this photo!  The bee was so heavy, he just weighted down the flower bloom.
Everyone getting the best photo of St. Louis Canyon on Thursday

St. Louis Canyon on the previous Saturday
All of the Walker's Club today

Dan trying to move the rock a smidge (not really, just a photo funny)

The last of the Nodding Trillium

This cool looking flower was from a fallen tree in St. Louis Canyon.  Don't know the name.+

Real Solomon's Seal.  Notice the flowers or seeds on the center stem.  The False Solomon's Seal has a fuzzy flower at the tip (See photo below)

False Solomon's Seal - See comment from previous photo

Going down the stairway to Aurora Canyon.  This fence is new!  Pedestrians are NOT allowed on the road in either direction to the Lodge.

Doll's Eyes (I think)

Going into Aurora Canyon.  Notice the Bishop's Cap (Miterwort) lining the path


Aurora Canyon on Thursday

Aurora Canyon on the previous Saturday (video to follow)
We all were taking turns in Aurora Canyon

Once we came out of Aurora Canyon, we had to go back up the steps to the Lodge

The trail back to the Lodge from Aurora doesn't look so good after the recent rains.

Wild Hydrangea
 It was certainly a treat to be out hiking with the Walker's Club again after missing 1 week.  Starved Rock Lodge Walker's Club meet every Thursday at 9:00a.m. in the lodge's lobby.  

I will leave you with this: All trees fall, but Life doesn't end.  It only changes.  The fallen tree keeps giving, and in all that grows around it, rises once more.