Thursday, June 27, 2019

Forty-seven SR Walkers Club members did the best hike in the Park today by trekking out to LaSalle Canyon and back. June finally turned the rain off for a while, but a huge bucket of humidity was dumped on the Walkers today.
 The first climb out of French Canyon onto the Campanula boardwalk.
 The group arrived at the boardwalk around the rim of Wildcat Canyon looking very unwilted.
 No worries, the East Rim Overlook has a capacity of 20 hikers. A number I just made up.
 The overlook view down the canyon's headwall waterfall.
 At 9:20AM there were no "ants" to be seen 95-feet down on the floor of Wildcat Canyon.
 The Walkers used the well-packed edges of the muddy East Bluff Trail all the way out to Sandstone Point.
 The East Bluff Trail on the headwall of Basswood Canyon is one of the muddiest sections. Bypass trails that formed increasing higher on the headwall are abandoned as the mud dries.  
 The group occupies the shade at the back of Sandstone Point to listen to some guy expound on the characteristics of the unusually round St. Peter sand grains.
 Now that the rainwater has mostly run off, the iron-stained groundwater is all that is meandering down "no name" creek.
 The LaSalle Canyon waterfall is the turnaround point for the now quite wilted group.

 This long log has been snagged near the south shore of the river for years,....

...but only had one sunbather on it this morning.
 On the return trip we met this fresh group of walkers enjoying the East Rim Overlook.
 By 11:15AM, a lot more "ants" had found the floor of Wildcat Canyon.
 An East Rim view of the West Rim Overlook at Wildcat Canyon.
It has finally dried up enough so that the expansion of the LaSalle Canyon parking lot on Parkman's Plain north of  Rt. 71 has begun in earnest.

It's SUMMERTIME and the living is easy. 

Follow Lou Reed's advice and

"Take a walk on the wild side!"

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thirty+ Starved Rock Walkers parked their cars on the east side of the Park and walked nearly five miles back to the Lodge for their pre-purchased box lunches. Then, ten+ Walkers decided to make it a "Mostly Megahike" and walked all the way back to their parked cars! Yes, with nearly an inch of rain last night there was MUD involved. 

 The caravan parked in the Council Overhang parking lot and started walking down river to the Lodge.
 The mud on the Bluff Trail meant you kept your eyes on your feet. There was active slippage in many places!
 Exiting the Bluff Trail down the Owl Canyon stairs meant things got nicer on the River Trail. This trailside primrose thinks so!
No need to watch your feet on the River Trail!
 OOPS! About half of the River Trail still demanded strict attention!
 I keep trying to take a bad picture of the trail bridge over LaSalle Creek. Another epic fail!
 Not much sun, but there were spots of glorious morning.
 Even saw a group of Susans. resting trailside.
 Spiderwort is peaking everywhere!
 Of course I trudged back to the LaSalle Canyon headwall to see this!
 If you are still carrying a single use plastic water bottle then STOP IT! I'm getting too old to pick them up! Please choose a reusable container instead.
 Yes, these are poison ivy berries so don't touch them. I will return in about a week to save you from the "rotting" black ones! ;)
 The River Walk is a six-foot wide poured concrete path along the riverbank between Sandstone Point and Wildcat Creek. Apparently, plants don't like anything six-feet wide!
The Mayapple leaves make this last attempt at color before they disappear. Many Spring wildflower blossoms, stems, and leaves are completely gone by the end of June.
 My new hiking boots have been adequately welcomed by SRSP!
Some Walkers enjoyed their last lunch of Spring 2019 outside on Fox Ridge.

 After lunch these Walkers geared up and headed back to the Council Overhang parking lot!

All Park trails remain open, but how has this record wet Spring treated them? I'll leave you with these trail pics from today's walk.
We have the GOOD...

 ...the BAD...

...and the UGLY! 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Today 33 Starved Rock Walkers drove to the Museum parking lot in Utica and walked the I & M Canal trail towards Buffalo Rock. Another small group of club members decided to walk west to Split Rock instead. I stuck with the majority.

 We left the Museum lot with the wind at our backs.
 Here the trail crosses to the south side of the canal.
 Most of this trail section between Utica and Buffalo Rock is now shaded by the "green tunnel".
 About 2.5 miles east of Utica is a washout that took out a section of the trail in 2013. This is a view from barricade to barricade across the gap which is being filled in by six years of  growth.
 The creek now flows through the 30-foot wide by 10-foot high gap created when the two 6-foot culverts that carried the creek under the trail were washed away in 2013.

A much improved bridge now spans most of the creek to ease bikers & hikers around the gap.
 The barricade is our turnaround point for the walk back to Utica.
 All managed to overcome the only trail obstruction along this section. 
 All walkers dress for the weather they expect to encounter.
 Many walkers also use trekking poles to ease the load on their knees. I mostly use my pole to point at things.
Back across the canal to the parking lot.
 This was the first walk for my news Oboz hiking boots. My feet were very pleased!
BTW - The silt and driftwood have been removed from about 25% of the main parking lot at SRSP. The first parking down by the river since April 1st!

My new boots recalled this quote from Emme Woodhull-Bache,

"You need special shoes for hiking
 - and a bit of a special soul as well."