Friday, April 4, 2014

Wildcat, LaSalle Canyon, Eagles Cliff, Lover's Leap

Our Take a Hike and Lunch begins on Saturday April 5th.  The trail has been extremely icy and dangerous so Joe came in today to check out the trail.  We were hoping that with the beginning of Take a Hike season we would be able to take groups in LaSalle Canyon for lunch.  

Top of French Canyon
 When we left the Lodge we couldn't resist taking a few photos at the top of French Canyon. Joe and I both commented that this was one of our favorite stretches on the trails.  Especially when the water is flowing.
Top of French Canyon
We then arrived at Wildcat Canyon.  Most all of the ice is gone now.  Easy walking with bits of mud here and there.  If you come out this weekend, you should have waterproof boots or shoes you don't care about.  They will get muddy.
Top of Wildcat
Wildcat Canyon 70 foot waterfall

Walking along the bluff, we came upon Basswood Canyon and Lone tree Canyon.  Not much to look at from the bluff but the signs.
Joe's photo spot
When hiking with Joe, you stop at this location and if you are small enough, you can go in the tree and Joe will take your photo.  Joe's backpack made him too wide to go inside. 
There have been flocks and flocks of white pelicans off and on the past couple of weeks.  Some days we see hundreds and the next we will see none.  Today from the bluff trail we saw this small flock of about a dozen.
These tree trunk infections called "burls" look like bumps or warty growths probably caused as a result of environmental injury. Cambial growth is hyper-stimulated as a way for the tree to isolate and contain the injury. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even when underground.
Often, a tree that has developed burl wood is still generally healthy. In fact, many trees with burl wood will go on to live for many years. Still, burl wood in vulnerable spots or with off-shooting growth can become so large and heavy that they create additional stress on a tree and can cause the tree to break apart.

Closed trail to Tonti Canyon
 On the bridge that over looks the Illinois River and the stream coming out from LaSalle and Tonti Canyons if you look down you will see an old beaver Lodge.  We haven't seen any new sticks or beaver activity in the last couple of years.
Old Beaver Lodge
LaSalle Canyon
These two videos were taking in LaSalle Canyon.  The first was taken right when we got there of the water stream.  The second was taken behind the waterfall.  Kind of neat.

 I feel that I am really pushing the arrival of Spring.  I really was hoping to see some wildflowers today.  We saw two.  Skunk Cabbage was the first and Hepatica was the 2nd.
Skunk Cabbage
The Skunk Cabbage flower always comes out way before the foliage.  You can find skunk cabbage in boggy areas.  The foliage is big big green leaves. The flowers are only visible in the late winter, very early spring.
The leaves we see here are from last year.  After the flowers fade it will grow new green leaves that will stay all summer. Hepatica is named from its leaves, which, like the human liver (Greek hepar), have three lobes. It was once used as a medicinal herb. Owing to the doctrine of signatures, the plant was once thought to be an effective treatment for liver disorders. Although poisonous in large doses, the leaves and flowers may be used as an astringent, as a demulcent for slow-healing injuries, and as a diuretic.[4]
Trail marker
Time to Return (follow the white dots).  We came back on the River (red) trail and on up to Eagles Cliff.  Hoping to see at least one eagle.  Not the case.
Starved Rock from Lover's Leap
Devil's Nose
Well that was my hike today!  I am truly blessed to work at a place that I can be out in nature and experience all its wonders. If you are looking to do the same hike we have this available with Joe on Saturday and Sundays for $17.00 (includes lunch and a backpack).

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.  

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