Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oct. 16, 2014 Wildcat, LaSalle Canyons

 Today's Walker's club left the Lodge at 9:00a.m. heading out on the Campanulla Trail to Wildcat Canyon.  On the bluff trail, down 155 steps to the river trail and to LaSalle Canyon.  From there we came back on the river trail, into Wildcat Canyon, up to Eagles Cliff and Lover's Leap and back to the Lodge about 12:00p.m.  Great Colors!  Great Day for a hike!  Enjoy!

22 hikers
Started the hike with some great color!

Top of Wildcat Canyon

Everyone was taking photos of color today!

Wildcat Canyon from the East overlook


Sandstone Point

Some large pleasure crafts heading south for the Winter

Break is over, time to get a move on...


155 steps, going down....

Fall Colors  from the LaSalle Canyon bridge
Great Blue Heron, near the LaSalle Canyon Bridge

LaSalle Canyon- Yes that is a waterfall!

LaSalle Canyon

LaSalle Canyon

LaSalle Canyon from behind the waterfall

LaSalle Canyon from behind the waterfall.  I forgot my umbrella this time.

Wasp nest over the stream in LaSalle Canyon
Steps in LaSalle Canyon

Yellow flower coming out of LaSalle Canyon

I looked this one up and think it is the Possumhaw. Never heard of it before.

While the fresh green leaves and smooth, light gray stems are enough to make possumhaw holly an attractive shrub, the appeal of this plant is more evident in late fall. Bunches of small berries form along the branches and turn bright red as the leaves fall off. Only female plants bear fruit (plant at least one male plant for best berry production), which finally becomes palatable to wildlife in the early spring. Possumhaw tends to sucker from the roots, so it's best to allow it to form a multitrunk screen.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Bright red berries in fall and winter. U.S. native.

Heron along the river in flight

Yes ladies, we are going that far.  That would be Eagles Cliff in the distance.

Wildcat Canyon

Wildcat Canyon

View from Eagles Cliff.  I still say this is the best view in the park!
Lock and Dam from Eagles Cliff

View of Starved Rock from Lover's Leap

Still enjoying our Pelican friends
Time to RETURN to work (behind a desk and in front of a computer)
 It was a great day for a hike.  The rain I think has finally stopped. The colors are almost peaked.  I think a few more days with some sun and we will be brilliant.  Glad I got to experience it today.

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 28, 2014 Mega Hike- All 18 canyons, 13.4 canyons in ONE day!

Starved Rock Lodge organizes a Mega Hike twice a year.  These take place the last weekend in April and the last weekend in September.  We have 2 departure times at 8:30a.m. and 9:00a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  All groups have 2 leaders from the Walker's Club.  This group's leaders are Kevin Cleary (guy in the green jacket on the right), and Arnie Leder (guy with a green hat and a walking stick).  I went along just for blogging purposes.  Enjoy!
We started our hike at the Lodge.  We boarded a trolley for transportation to Illinois Canyon.  We walked back from there, walking into every accessible canyon.
Entering into Illinois Canyon (I have no idea how this photo got to be black and white).
Sandstone behind the turning trees
downed trees in Illinois Canyon
Walking into Illinois Canyon and captured these rays.
Stream bed #1
Stream bed #2
Stream bed #3
I just marvel at these huge trees. I think this is a Sycamore.
Illinois Canyon - The shortest waterfall.  Yes it was flowing.
The area, before going into Ottawa, Kaskaskia Canyons.  We call it the Wedding Cove.  The trolley sometimes take wedding parties here for photos.

First good look at the sandstone. "The Boot"
Going up to Council Overhang

Our leader Arnie... telling us about the sand
Kaskaskia Canyon
Ottawa Canyon
On the way out of Ottawa
Touch me nots.  Those little pods next to t he flower will POP when touched.  Spreading seeds
Hennepin Canyon Overlook

Hidden Canyon (we think)  It is hidden after all
leading into Owl Canyon
Taking a break by the Illinois River, near Owl Canyon
Owl Canyon Overlook
New bridge on the river trail
Bridge near LaSalle and Tonti Canyons
heading into LaSalle Canyon.
LaSalle Canyon
Going into Tonti
Tonti Canyon
No name area
Paw Paw leaves
Bluff trail steps- We didn't have to go up these. Yeah!
Jerry helping everyone down some sketchy steps
The river trails, turns into a cement boardwalk for a while
My friend Jerry.  He has been on quite a few Mega Hikes.  So many so that he could lead them!
What a great day!  Nice break spot to view Eagle's Cliff and the Dam.
A busy Wildcat Canyon

View into Pontiac Canyon
Millipede on the trail

I say this is the BEST view in the park
Illinois Waterway Visitor Center and the Dam
  Arnie is telling the legend of Lover's Leap
View of Starved Rock from Lover's Leap
The Dam
Devil's Nose from a distance on the bluff trail
top of French
Chicken Ceasar Wrap, homemade granola bar, piece of fruit, bag of chips and bottle of water for lunch
Back over the bridge (Fox Canyon) after lunch
1 of the eagles on our bridge.  Donated in memory of Jerry Krasinski. 1of 2 eagles
Very crowded in French Canyon

heading out of French Canyon
Still have Poison Ivy. Eeeeks!
Heading up the steps to the top of Starved Rock
View of Lover's Leap from Starved Rock
View of Leopold Island
Lone Pelican
Flagpole at the top of Starved Rock
View looking West at the top of Starved Rock
View of Starved Rock Lodge
solar panels at the top of Starved Rock.  These panels  help keep the American Flag lit at night.
Many of people rub Lincoln's nose for good luck
Starved Rock is a National Historic Landmark
One of the current maintenance buildings are from the Civilian Conservation Corps.
On our way to Aurora (my favorite canyon)
Cool steps going into Aurora Canyon
Aurora Canyon
Aurora Canyon from the top
Sac Canyon -  there was a slight waterfall.  Well maybe it was really waterfalling.....
Great view from the St Louis Canyon trail
Turning leaves
Iron in the sandstone
St. Louis Canyon.  Only REAL waterfall we saw today
Group photo (we lost a few along the way)(lunch time)

Steps going up and over Rt. 178
Almost done, bridge going to the picnic area.
Last stairway - 150 steps
Done, finally.  13.4 miles (or maybe a few more) and 18 Canyons  Everyone who finishes receive a certificate and a Snickers bar.  Today because it was so HOT, we also had ice water. Thanks Laura!

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.