Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 28, 2014 Mega Hike- All 18 canyons, 13.4 canyons in ONE day!

Starved Rock Lodge organizes a Mega Hike twice a year.  These take place the last weekend in April and the last weekend in September.  We have 2 departure times at 8:30a.m. and 9:00a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  All groups have 2 leaders from the Walker's Club.  This group's leaders are Kevin Cleary (guy in the green jacket on the right), and Arnie Leder (guy with a green hat and a walking stick).  I went along just for blogging purposes.  Enjoy!
We started our hike at the Lodge.  We boarded a trolley for transportation to Illinois Canyon.  We walked back from there, walking into every accessible canyon.
Entering into Illinois Canyon (I have no idea how this photo got to be black and white).
Sandstone behind the turning trees
downed trees in Illinois Canyon
Walking into Illinois Canyon and captured these rays.
Stream bed #1
Stream bed #2
Stream bed #3
I just marvel at these huge trees. I think this is a Sycamore.
Illinois Canyon - The shortest waterfall.  Yes it was flowing.
The area, before going into Ottawa, Kaskaskia Canyons.  We call it the Wedding Cove.  The trolley sometimes take wedding parties here for photos.

First good look at the sandstone. "The Boot"
Going up to Council Overhang

Our leader Arnie... telling us about the sand
Kaskaskia Canyon
Ottawa Canyon
On the way out of Ottawa
Touch me nots.  Those little pods next to t he flower will POP when touched.  Spreading seeds
Hennepin Canyon Overlook

Hidden Canyon (we think)  It is hidden after all
leading into Owl Canyon
Taking a break by the Illinois River, near Owl Canyon
Owl Canyon Overlook
New bridge on the river trail
Bridge near LaSalle and Tonti Canyons
heading into LaSalle Canyon.
LaSalle Canyon
Going into Tonti
Tonti Canyon
No name area
Paw Paw leaves
Bluff trail steps- We didn't have to go up these. Yeah!
Jerry helping everyone down some sketchy steps
The river trails, turns into a cement boardwalk for a while
My friend Jerry.  He has been on quite a few Mega Hikes.  So many so that he could lead them!
What a great day!  Nice break spot to view Eagle's Cliff and the Dam.
A busy Wildcat Canyon

View into Pontiac Canyon
Millipede on the trail

I say this is the BEST view in the park
Illinois Waterway Visitor Center and the Dam
  Arnie is telling the legend of Lover's Leap
View of Starved Rock from Lover's Leap
The Dam
Devil's Nose from a distance on the bluff trail
top of French
Chicken Ceasar Wrap, homemade granola bar, piece of fruit, bag of chips and bottle of water for lunch
Back over the bridge (Fox Canyon) after lunch
1 of the eagles on our bridge.  Donated in memory of Jerry Krasinski. 1of 2 eagles
Very crowded in French Canyon

heading out of French Canyon
Still have Poison Ivy. Eeeeks!
Heading up the steps to the top of Starved Rock
View of Lover's Leap from Starved Rock
View of Leopold Island
Lone Pelican
Flagpole at the top of Starved Rock
View looking West at the top of Starved Rock
View of Starved Rock Lodge
solar panels at the top of Starved Rock.  These panels  help keep the American Flag lit at night.
Many of people rub Lincoln's nose for good luck
Starved Rock is a National Historic Landmark
One of the current maintenance buildings are from the Civilian Conservation Corps.
On our way to Aurora (my favorite canyon)
Cool steps going into Aurora Canyon
Aurora Canyon
Aurora Canyon from the top
Sac Canyon -  there was a slight waterfall.  Well maybe it was really waterfalling.....
Great view from the St Louis Canyon trail
Turning leaves
Iron in the sandstone
St. Louis Canyon.  Only REAL waterfall we saw today
Group photo (we lost a few along the way)(lunch time)

Steps going up and over Rt. 178
Almost done, bridge going to the picnic area.
Last stairway - 150 steps
Done, finally.  13.4 miles (or maybe a few more) and 18 Canyons  Everyone who finishes receive a certificate and a Snickers bar.  Today because it was so HOT, we also had ice water. Thanks Laura!

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.