Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014 Matthiessen Park

Today's Walker's Club went to Matthiessen Park.  We planned to test out a long hike we will use for one day during the Hike-a-palooza event scheduled for June 22, 23 and 24.  We started at the fort at the main entrance of the park.
Main sign to the park
20 hikers departed
Replica Fort
We left the Lodge's lobby at about 9:00a.m. and carpooled to Matthiessen State Park Dells Area.  We put on our boot, picked up our walking sticks and took off.  There was 20 hikers all together.  Some were Lodge guests and some were regular members. We left the fort and headed down into the dells area for the first half of the hike.

Strawberry Rock
Real Solomon's Seal

We also many wildflowers today.  This park seemed to be a little behind Starved Rock.  Maybe it is because it was more shady???

Concrete Bridge and Stairway
We went down a stairway and traversed the stream at the bottom until we got to the waterfall.  Much to see on the way.

Bridge along the way
We saw this turkey with a couple of little ones.  Very hard to get a photo.  What a treat.

First big crossing
We call this Spongbob's cousin
I first took a photo of the waterfall and then a video.  They were fabulous after the rain we had last night.  I also took a 360 video.
First waterfall

Devil's Paintbox
We went back up the steps and over the concrete bridge.  We went down again on the other side of the dells area.  More water crossings.

Water crossing
Another water crossing

A little tricky. 

Some water crossings were trickier than others.  We had a few fall.  No names mentioned.

Just walking along
My favorite waterfall at Matthiessen park
Prairie Trillium
We saw many wildflowers.  Most I knew, but I did see some new ones.  One-flowered Broomrape ; One-flowered Cancer Root, Ghostpipe, Naked Broomrape. Not having knowingly encountered this parasitic plant previously, I was surprised to find that it is found in every state in the United States except for Hawaii. It's also found in much of Canada. It may attach its feeder roots to the roots of many different species of plants.

One-flowered Broomrape

Waterfall by the Lake
We came up the stairway by the lake.  This is where we lost a few hikers.  Well not really lost them, they choose to end their hike here and walk back on the other side of the Dell area and finish for the day.  Some of us then hiked around the Lake.
Lake shelter (old boat house)

Some old things on the trail

Toad tucked in to the underbrush
Horse Campground
About 1/2 way around the lake we came to the Horse Campground.  I will say that this is about where it gets confusing for me.  Matthiessen State Park has Cross Country Ski trails, Horseback riding trails, Mountain Biking trails, and Hiking trails.  Very confusing. One of our hikers Ron, is an expert at this park. Thanks Ron!!!
Horse Trail marker

Ski Trail marker

Horse and Ski marker
Mountain Biking marker
Trail courtesy
View of the Lake bridge
After we finished going around the Lake, we were headed back to the fort for lunch.  The Lodge made us sack lunches for $10.  I was really hoping to see the Yellow Lady's Slipper.  I knew it was getting close to the end of the season for them.  They are in the orchid family and very rare and hard to find.  We were in luck.  Gary found these 2.  What a treat.

Yellow Lady's Slipper
Yellow Lady's Slipper

Small Waterfall on the way back

More hikers left after lunch.  And then there were 3.  On the second half of the hike we headed to the Vermillion River area of the park.

Little pond
Model Airplane Field

Clover (notice the bee?)

In the Crown Vetch Family?

Spider Wort
The Green Dragon

I have been looking for this flower for the past 2 years.  It is really hard to find because it is GREEN!  Check out the leaves.... in a circular pattern.  The dragon if you will is underneath (similar to the Jack in the Pulpit). It also is GREEN, with a yellow tongue coming out of it.  I found 1 first and then about 5 minutes later I found 2 more.  What a treat.  When I first saw them, I was sooooo excited.

Top view
Green Dragon

Two Green Dragons, Can you find them?
Wild Garlic
Walked down by the Vermillion River.  Great views of the bluffs.  Also spotted some rafters.
Vermillion River
Little Stream on the way back
Not sure of the kind of flower?
We got back to the parking lot about 3:30p.m.  About 10 miles or so.  If you are interested in doing this hike, the Lodge is having the Hike-a-palooza on June 22, 23 and 24 and the last day is Matthiessen State Park.  You can do just this hike or do all 3 days (includes Starved Rock, Buffalo Rock and I & M Canal (night hike).

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.