Saturday, May 3, 2014

5-3-2014 Ottawa, St. Louis, French Canyons- Waterfall and Canyon Tour

We had 2 tours today.  The first one began at 9:00a.m and ended with lunch at the Lodge at Noon.  The second tour began with lunch at 1100a.m. and boarded the trolley at Noon for the walk into the canyons.  I was the lucky guide on this gorgeous day.  22 guests on the tour.  

Still a great wildflower day.  Our first stop is at the Parking lot for Council Overhang, Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons, off of Rt. 71.  First stop is Council Overhang.

All going into Council Overhang

Walking into Ottawa is always a challenge.  Over logs, over streams, through muddy leaves and finally we get to the payoff..... what we came to see.... THE WATERFALL.

Ottawa Canyon

Ottawa Canyon
Snake Grass and Virginia Bluebells
At the intersection of Kaskaskia and Ottawa canyons this patch of snake grass grows.  It is mostly green all year long. This is the only place in the park (that I know) where there is a patch this size.

Squirrel Corn, Dutchman's Britches

Squirrel Corn and Dutchman's Britches are still in high bloom.

False Rue Anemone

Jack in the Pulpit

Saw some Jack in the Pulpits today.  Not as many as anticipated.  But they are just starting to come out.

Nodding White Trillium
Wild Ginger
The wild ginger leaves have been out about a week.  Today was the first day I found the flower.  Look closely at the base.  It is a small maroon flower.  They will stay blooming all summer.  Enjoy.

Spring Beauties and Dandelion
Right before we boarded the trolley again, I got this great photo of Spring beauties and the most beloved wildflower of them all - The Dandelion.  And then off to St. Louis Canyon.

St. Louis Canyon
Once we got to St. Louis Canyon, we found that it was a very popular place today. We enjoyed the great waterfall. In the photo, the sand looks like snow.

St. Louis Canyon Waterfall

Miterwort and Yellow Bellwort

Miterwort is a favorite of mine in St Louis Canyon.  If you look at it up close the tiny white flowers are very delicate.  Also in the photo is Yellow Bellwort. 

Mouse Ears
I'm not sure what they are really called, but I call them Mouse Ears.  They have just started to come out and I found 2 on the way into St. Louis Canyon.

Up the steps and back on the trolley.  Now we are headed to the Visitor Center for a short bathroom break and then into French Canyon.

Sign at the Visitor Center
The Civilian Conservation Corps was an integral part of Starved Rock.  There were 3 CCC camps located here at Starved Rock throughout those years and this is a plaque commemorating the largest and most active group (the 2601.)  
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25 as part of the New Deal. Robert Fechner was the head of the agency. It was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. 

French Canyon

Everyone rallying for a photo.   Always a great canyon for a photo.

French Canyon

Well that makes 3 canyons.  We had a few minutes to spend at the Visitor Center then it was back to the Lodge.  What a great day to be out hiking!

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.


  1. Yes. But a hike with a waterfall as the object can overcome exhaustion or sheer laziness. Just got back from three glorious days of hiking at Starved Rock. I think we made it to all of the waterfalls.

  2. and thanks for the great photos.. I posted far too many on Facebook, but I can check back here to make sure where they were and to identify the flowers.

    1. We do a mega hike in April and Sept. We start with the trolley taking you to the east end of the park at 8:30 or 9:00 departure. You will walk back to the Lodge with 2 guides from the Walker's Club. Lunch is provided at about 1-1:30p.m. You continue to the West end of the park and conclude about 4 4:30. You will have seen all 18 canyons. Last weekend in April and September. 37.00 per person. Includes, guide, lunch, transportation and an event tshirt. Enjoy the park.