Thursday, February 1, 2018

Kaskaskia, Ottawa and Illinois Canyons 02-01-2018

Today's hike left the Lobby at 9:00a.m. and we carpooled to Ottawa / Kaskaskia parking area and went into both canyons and then took the connecting trail to Illinois Canyon.  There was about 44 hikers on a Sunny 21 degree windy day.  Great weather to be hiking IN the canyons away from the wind. Many frozen waterfalls and frozen creeks and frozen mud to walk in.

One of the regular hikers who picks up trash regularly got a bonus today!  He is going to check it for a balance, he will let us know next week.  

On our way to the canyons.  This is the "Boot" area by Council Overhang

Looking up into Council Overhang from the bottom

Once your in Council Overhang you can get a great photo of the opening if you stand by the back wall.  Winter is one of my favorite seasons if I had to pick.  I love seeing the canyon walls that are behind the summer leaves. I always tell hikers that in the winter the canyons are naked and you can see way more than in the summer. 

Coming down from Council Overhang on the other side. 

Frozen stream crossing

Going into Kaskaskia Canyon

Most of the time coming into this canyon we were walking on the ice.  Yak trax or other traction would have been ok, but it was still doable with just hiking boots. 

Kaskaskia Canyon

I was trying out a new lens on my phone camera.

Icicles up close

More up close icicles

Everyone loved seeing the frozen waterfalls today. Many of us went behind the waterfall.  Some years it just doesn't freeze enough to go behind.  This year we were lucky. 

Ottawa Canyon

View from behind Ottawa Waterfall

The blue or the defraction in the ice is better seen from the East side of the icefall. Still Ottawa Canyon

I talked many of the hikers into going to see the blue ice on the East side of the icefall. Ottawa Canyon

Looking out of Ottawa Canyon

At the intersection of Ottawa and Kaskaskia this plant, (Horsetail or Snakegrass) is one of the only places that I know of in the park that this plant is plentiful and visitors can view it.  It stays green all year. 

We took the Swamp Trail to Illinois Canyon.  It was frozen today, so it wasn't a problem. 

1 of the Bonus waterfalls in Illinois Canyon

In Illinois Canyon you have to cross the same stream 3 times before you get to the waterfall.  Today the water was still running in spots and you could see it, however there was still great places to cross. Crossing #1

Crossing #2

Crossing # 3

Bonus waterfall in Illinois Canyon

Another bonus waterfall in Illinois Canyon

With all the ice near the waterfall I was real close today.  It was amazing. 

We walked on the ice to get back into Illinois canyon a bit.
I will leave you with this: "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see." John Burroughs

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