About thirty Starved Rock Walkers (no dogs because, too cold for them) drove to the Hennepin Canyon parking lot and hiked the East Bluff Trail out to Owl Canyon and back. A sunny, windy, feels like -5F walk in the Park.
A deep water-filled bootprint in the mud, now all frozen solid, sums up today's trail conditions.
Gathering in the puddled and rutted Hennepin lot, except the puddles and mud are concrete hard!
This inch+ deep puddle was solid ice with a frost speckled surface.
The bright sun and blue sky really hides the below zero windchill!
When walking with a geologist he will point out where the trail crosses an old coal strip mine. The white arrow on the right side of the pic is pointing to the coal seam. This was probably mined for personal use before the Park's 1911 founding.
A trail bridge view up Hennepin Creek under the Rt. 71 bridge.
A winter trail glimpse of the waterfall on the headwall of Hennepin Canyon. This cannot be seen through the summer vegetation.
The turnaround point where the Bluff trail crosses Owl Creek and meets the trail climbing to the Parkmans Plain parking lot.
This is bent "Indian" tree #3 along a fifty-foot section of the Owl Canyon rim. I suspect that all three trees were woven through a long-gone fence that kept hikers safely above the rim.
Today's walk caused a modification in a quote from Ruth Westheimer;
"Our way is not soft grass, it's a bluff trail with lots of frozen mud. But it goes forward, toward the sun."