Thursday, March 12, 2020

None of today's 46 SR Walkers were tested so none were positive. We walked out to St. Louis & Aurora Canyons without seeing any covid-19. Not sure about next week.
 We left the Lodge without attaching traction as we were expecting mud not ice.
 A trail view of the upper Aurora Canyon waterfall.
 Climbing the rim trail above Aurora Canyon.
 A trail bridge view down the Sac Canyon waterfall to water splashing over a ledge thirty feet below before falling another thirty-five feet to the creek on the canyon floor.
 Our footwear determines whether we walk through the mud or around it.
 Trekking poles take 50% of the weight off your knees. Most don't walk without them.
 Some trees appear to be prepping for St. Patrick's Day.
 Looking down the trail stairs beside "yellow rock".
 My favotite piece of the Bluff Trail winds along the narrowest part of the bluff.
 St. Louis Canyon off the left side of the trail, the Illinois River Valley off the right.
 A view from the Bluff Trail down to the Walkers on the canyon trail.
 A turkey tail "fun guy" party on a trailside log.
 A view up St. Louis Creek to the Walkers massed below the canyon headwall.
 St. Louis Canyon always dwarfs its visitors...
 ...and doesn't miss the dwarves when they are gone.
 Walkers headed back down canyon.
 A trail bridge view of the white St. Peter sand moving down the bottom of St. Louis Creek.
 The Walkers don't notice but others say the canyon trail could use some maintenance.
 Trail stairs curving across the top of "yellow rock".
 A bluff Trail view of some Walker "ants" on the floor of Aurora Canyon.
A trail bridge view up Aurora Creek.

We will end our first pandemic hike with a quote from Sarah Louise Arnold,

 "Wholesome exercise in the free air, under the wide sky, is the best medicine for body and spirit."

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Forty five Starved Rock Walkers (0 dogs) left the Lodge lobby and drove to Buffalo Rock State Park to hike the Effigy Tumuli and River Trails there. A sunny, windy March day for a walk!

 The bison Pebbles came out to see us off.
 Tailgates open and gearing up for the hike.
 We took the accessible trail (sidewalk) from the parking lot to the first overlook platform. In summer this is one of the nicest wheelchair walks in the county.
 The Effigy Tumuli Trail winds through five different effigies constructed from old strip mine piles that used to be here.
 Edna agreed to lead most of the group to the summit of the catfish.
 This is the summit team descending the head of the catfish.
 This is truly one of the best strip mine reclamations you will ever see.
 Leaving the frog effigy I noticed one walker thought today is the perfect day to wear his bison hat!
 Some of us also chose to summit the snake effigy.
 Signs seen from atop the snake encouraged us to turn around so we did.
 This was our first traction-free walk of 2020. No one missed the ice & snow!
 The River Trail funnels walkers into single file along the edge of Buffalo Rock. 
 Walkers on the stairs down to the river overlook.
 A downriver view from the overlook at the wind driven rollers and whitecaps moving up river.
 Only the geologist was impressed by the limestone stairs at the end of the River Trail.
 The right half of the "wedding oak" in the Park's picnic area went down in the 28 February 2017 tornado. The left half is still doing fine. No, you cannot call it the "divorce oak"!
Cocoa, right, joined Pebbles to watch us leave.

As we "Think Spring", a quote from George Santayanya reminds us,
"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring."

Thursday, February 27, 2020

About thirty Starved Rock Walkers drove to Matthiessen State Park and walked (counterclockwise) around the Lake. A cold winter's day with occasional spills of sunshine.

 Down the stairs to the canyon rim.
 A trail view across the canyon to the stairs into the upper dells. Summer vegetation does not allow such views.
 Nearly everyone attached their traction for this walk.
 There are a few places where the rim trail is sliding into the canyon.
 FYI - This nylon rope will not slow your 85-foot bounce to the canyon floor.
 Walkers trudging and talking along the rim trail.
 A trail view up a tributary creek. No ice falls here!
A view along the half-mile accessible sidewalk to the Lake bridge. 
 Across the bridge is the accessible ramp up to the Lake Shelter parking lot.
 A trail view across the frozen Lake to Lake Shelter, the lower level of which was a boat house when the Lake was eight feet higher.
 In the summer this trail is closed in and under the green canopy tunnel. You can see much further in the winter.
 There were no large splashes at our hardest stream crossing.
 Unlike SRSP, the Matthiessen Lake trail is for multiple users. We saw none of these.
 None of these either!
 It was apparent that three large "dogs" broke trail for us this morning.
 Now we know where we were and where we are going.
 The trail skirts the Deer Park Golf Course. This is not a missing cart!
 A tral view up into the Lake Shelter.
 Walkers climbing from the Lake Trail up to the bridge.
 Nobody doesn't like the Lake Matthiessen Bridge!
 The required acraphobic view over the bridge rail on the water falling 45-feet down the lake dam.
 A down canyon view from the Lake Bridge NOT screened by summer vegetation.
SR Walkers to the left. Choosing the path less-travelled has made a difference!

There is a movie wherein Morpheus says,

"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."