Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 10th, Matthiessen State Park

Today's Walker's Club Hike was scheduled to stay here in the park, but unfortunately we had a terrible storm that damaged many of our trails at Starved Rock.  We are hoping to have the trails open soon.  But until then we will work with what we have.  We had 27 hikers and 1 dog.  Saw some great waterfalls and very little mud.  Enjoy the walk!!
Dells Area hike map
Picnic Shelter
 If its your first time to Matthiessen State Park, you have to go walk around in the fort. I did this for the first 10-12 times now I can resist.  Its pretty neat.  Also pictured is the picnic shelter.  The Walker's Club generally has our annual picnic/potluck in July here.  We had to move some hikes around, and now the picnic will be held at Starved Rock in the Fox Ridge area next week after the hike (July 17).  If you plan on coming bring a dish to pass and a table service.

Replica fort
We walked down a major stairway and we were off.  We took a right when we got almost to the bottom.  We are headed to the Lake.
Paths are in good shape

We also saw many summer wildflowers.  I'm not so good at identifying them.  Also saw a ground squirrel that wanted his photo taken.
Ground Squirrel
Small waterfall on the way to the Lake, near Cedar Point area
After we passed the Cedar Point area we came upon a concrete path.  Very pleasant to walk on.
Concrete path

Right when we got to the Lake, I noticed this memory plaque.  I just wonder the story???  I must have walked by this tree many of times and never noticed it.

This following photo is taken from the bridge at the Lake, looking down into the fall.

Falls from the bridge

Taking a break at the Lake
We left the Lake and continued around and went down the stairs to the creek area.  Oh what fun rock hopping can be.
Follow the leader, and watch your step!
Many of the group went into the Lake Falls area, but I stayed back.  I didn't want to risk getting my feet wet. (I still had to work in the office today, and I didn't bring my rubber boots.)
Lake Falls

Giant's Bathtub waterfall
Giant's Bathtub waterfall

Rock Hopping at its best!
Giant's Bathtub
More rock hopping
Raised concrete stepping stones- steady as you go.

Man made waterfall
Almost 1/2 way.  We can see the bridge by Cascade falls.  Next we will go up the stairway and over to the Lower Dells.
Bridge by Cascade Falls
Going up!
Once we arrived at the stairway at the other end going down into the bottom area.  I stood on the bridge and took a photo of what it looks like towards the Vermillion River.  This water comes from Matthiessen Lake and drains into the Vermillion River.  A week ago on July 4th, my family and I went Kayaking and Rafting on the Vermillion River. 

Looking off the bridge towards the Vermillion River
Looking off the bridge toward Cascade Falls
Strawberry Rock, because of its   Shape???  Color??

Wild Hydrangea
Fruit of the Jack in the Pulpit
We hiked back up the main stairway to the Fort area and headed back to the Lodge.  We were back by about 11:00 or so.  Next week is the picnic.  

I like to see nature or park related license plates.  Here is one I saw this week on our parking lot. 

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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