Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31, 2016 Illinois, Kaskaskia and Ottawa Canyons

The early morning started out with a downpour.  It was quite the shower on my way to work.  I wasn't really looking forward to hiking in the rain today, especially since last week's shower.  I did however remember to bring an extra pair of socks and shoes. The hike always meets in the Lodge's Lobby on Thursdays at 9:00a.m. Today we carpooled to Illinois Canyon's parking lot.  We hiked into Illinois Canyon then some of us took the "Swamp trail" to Ottawa / Kaskaskia Canyon parking lot. Today we also had a reporter from the News Tribune and a photographer with us.  They will be doing a story on hiking that will appear in the local paper sometime in May.

All of us getting ready to hike.  Illinois Canyon Parking lot.

Who is wearing the BEST footwear for the hike today?

Hyacinths.  I really have no idea why these are here.  I always thought these needed to be planted.  ???

Virginia Bluebells will be blooming before you know it.

Patches of Purple Trillium were everywhere.  We did not see any with open flowers, just buds.

Dutchman's Breeches were everywhere
Walking into Illinois Canyon there was lots of "Bonus Waterfalls".

A larger patch of Purple Trillium.  They are going to look spectacular when they bloom

We all help each other getting across the stream

Another "Bonus" waterfall on the way to the Illinois main waterfall

Not there yet, still a "Bonus"
The Illinois Canyon stream.  To get to the end (waterfall)  you have to cross it 3 times.

And finally the all impressive Illinois Canyon Waterfall (much better in person)

Rue Anemone

The stream in Illinois Canyon is really flowing today.

This flower photo is tricky, if your not paying attention it appears to be a Spring Beauty, if you just look at the nearby grass like leaves.  But it is Hepatica.  Check out the fuzzy stems and the bluish color.  And there are more than the 5 petals that are on a Spring Beauty. (Thanks Jared)

Big important discussion going on here.

Mayflowers will be blooming soon, hopefully they will delay long enough to get to May

Huge field of Trout Lillies, (also called Dog Tooth Violets).  They are going to be stunning when blooming.  I have to remember to come back and check it out.  Located in Illinois Canyon

Leaving Illinois Canyon, there is a trail to connect to the parking lot of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons.  I have always called it the "Swamp" trail.  For good reason today!!

We always like to see who has an imagination here.  Look at the rock face, what do you see?  This young man from Peoria got it right!!  This is our "BOOT" hiking boot that is.

All going up into Council Overhang

Inside Council Overhang looking out.

Lime green was the color of the day.

Wildflowers everywhere, going into Kaskaskia Canyon

White Trillium are also almost ready to bloom.  Maybe by the weekend

Kaskaskia Canyon

All of us enjoying Kaskaskia Canyon

Kaskaskia Canyon is a bit rooty.  One step at a time.

Horsetails, these don't grow in to many places in Starved Rock.  These are at the intersection of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons


Ottawa Canyon, We were lucky and there were 2 waterfalls.  There is a smaller one on the right of the main one.

What gives???  What ever happened to "Leave No Trace"? "Take only Memories, and Leave only Footprints"? 

Looking out of Ottawa Canyon.  I always did like this view.

Council Overhand #2

Spring Beauties mixed in with the Trout Lilly leaves.

A pair of hubcaps, a large bottle of Southern Comfort and a Canon Camera.  I took the card out of the camera to see if there was some cool photos on it.  There was only 1 photo (from 2008), some guy was taking a selfie. 
Recent additions to most of the doors of the Lodge.  We are in the process of putting in new carpeting throughout the Lodge.  Hopefully guests will be courteous and wipe their muddy boots off outside before coming in on the new carpet.

I will leave you with this: "The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over.  The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever"


  1. 1. The unknown plant was an exotic species, the hyacinth bulb.
    2. The first "Spring Beauty" was actually a Hepatica, which lacks leaves when it flowers, growing near spring beauty leaves. Spring Beauties are rarely bluish, whereas Hepaticas often are. Furthermore, Hepaticas have more petals than the five of Spring Beauty. Wild Hepaticas are only found in high-quality woods, so good find.

  2. Totally see it now. I now see the fuzzy stems. I was looking at the grass like leaves from the spring beauties and I liked the log in the background. We actually have a lot of Hepatica in the park. Thanks

  3. So so sorry I missed this, but thank you for my armchair hike. Edna. Photos were beautiful as always and love that you give so much info on the flora. Just ordered some Bogs Boots so I can enjoy those streams and even that mud!!!!

  4. Pictures are inspiring. Nice to see what flora might be seen on such a hike. Now might be the time to find a pair of mud/walking boots.