Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ottawa, Kaskaskia and Illinois Canyons 05-03-2018

My favorite pic of the day!

We started our hike today in the Starved Rock Lodge's Lobby.  We carpooled to Ottawa/Kaskaskia Canyon parking lot.  There were 33 walkers today.  As much fun as the waterfalls were today, the real attraction today were the Virginia Bluebells in Illinois Canyon.

Wild Ginger.  Not quite blooming yet.

False Rue Anemone - The cuts on the leaves for the true Rue Anemone aren't as deep.

Wild Geranium

Nodding Trillium

Going up into Council Overhang

Close up of the Sandstone in Council Overhang

Looking out of Council Overhang

Bishop's Cap - Miterwort 

Squirrel Corn
The pool under the waterfall in Ottawa Canyon
Ottawa Canyon Waterfall

These boots were the smartest choice for the spring hikes

Nice bouquet of Miter wort in the canyons today.

Snake Grass/Horse tails mixed in with a few Virginia Bluebells.  At the intersection of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons

Swamp Buttercup

Nice patch of Swamp Buttercup going into Kaskaskia Canyon

Nodding Trillium

Blue Cohosh blossoms

Kaskaskia Canyon, Also the video below is of Kaskaskia Canyon

Blue Phlox

On the to main attraction today.  Illinois Canyon and the Virginia Bluebells

Some are white

The photos do not do it justice.  Once you get out of your vehicle and on the trail, you can see bluebells for as far as you can see. It is just amazing.

Virginia Bluebells

Pink and Blue

My favorite pic of the day!

Prairie Trillium or some people call them bloody noses.

To get to the Waterfall at the end in Illinois Canyon, you will need to cross the stream 3 times.  Yes those are bluebells in the distance.

Illinois Canyon falls

This young man was telling Joanie the difference between a frog and a toad.  He was having a great time. He was catching them and showing us then putting them back. 

What a time he had today.

Our state flower "Blue Violet"

They are here.  Be careful and check yourself often.  Stay out of tall vegetation.  Another great reason to stay on the trails.

After the scheduled hike today, 4 of us went to pick up this pile of trash at the bottom of the stairs by Owl Canyon.  Thank you Peggy, Harvey and Kim.  We brought out 6 small bags and 1 large bag.

My helpers today.

We came across this Robin on the stairs going down to the garbage pile.  I met a couple on the parking lot that had called the rangers to report the bird. 

Rob, TJ, Peggy and I helped.  Between cutting the branch, covering the birds head, holding the bird (that was me), cutting the fishing line, and pulling all the fishing line out.  The bird flew away.  Thank you Rob and TJ for letting me help with this.  I was uplifted all day.  Thanks again.
I will leave you with this: "That's the best thing about walking, the journey itself.  It doesn't matter much whether you get where you're going or not.  You'll get there anyway.  Every good hike brings you eventually back home"

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagle's Cliff, Beehive Overlook and French Canyon

French Canyon Waterfall

Today we had 35 hikers that joined us on one of the most popular hikes in the park.  We stayed close to the Lodge and Visitor Center. At 9:00a.m. the sky was overcast but the temperature was comfortable.  In the early afternoon we started to have some snow flurries.

Stream flowing into French Canyon

This sign was atop Lover's Leap.  The replaced all the signs a few months ago.  I found this one interesting.

View from Eagle's Cliff looking East

View from Eagle's Cliff looking North towards the Starved Rock Lock and Dam

Best time of year to hope for a view at the Beehive Overlook

A few green buds leafing out

Going up the Eagles's Cliff shortcut trail

Coming down Jacob's Ladder, heading for French Canyon

Not sure what bird lost this feather.  The feather is quite large for the birds I could think of.  Maybe it was a feather from a migrating bird?

On the way into French Canyon, there are some tell tale signs of the Spring Wildflower Dutchman's Britches.  This sample had a few buds coming up.  We must be patient!  Spring will get here in it's own time.

First stairway into French Canyon

Waiting in the "short line"  to get into French Canyon.  Today there was more water than I had anticipated.  If you would come on a weekend, the line would be much longer.

More water in the outbound stream than I had anticipated. Waddle in and waddle out.  One foot on each side.

French Canyon was just a beauty today! 

French Canyon Waterfall
This monument is located behind the State Park's Visitor Center
I will leave you with this: I love the kind of hugs where you can physically feel the sadness leaving your body.