Friday, February 27, 2015

02-26-2015 Matthiessen Park

Today's Walker's club hike went to Matthiessen Park near the fort area. We went down the major stairway and down into the upper falls area.  Once we arrived at the Lake shelter falls area we walked around the lake and back to the fort.  It snowed the night before about 4-5 inches. There were 19 hikers. 
This is my handy artwork on a bench at Matthiessen State Park
They were just starting to plow the parking lot so we parked on the edge.
I broke the bad new to the group.... NO SWIMMING today!
The replica fort
We were the first one on the stairs and trails today.
Going down into the upper dells area
Cool little ice fall to start us out
The concrete stepping stones are hidden today.

Giant's Bathtub

Lake Falls

We got back to the Falls, but we had to watch our step, there were still holes in the ice.

Don was contemplating how far out to go / Really, if he cut across the lake, how much of the trail will he miss?
The old boat house
Boat house and the Lake falls bridge from the other side of the Lake
About 1/2 way around the lake there are some old vehicles.  How did they get here?  And why are they here?

I thought it seemed like more than 1 mile.
I talked Jan into joining me in making snow angels.  For all the fun we had making the angels, Jan said we added a few years to our lives.   Check out the video below

These are our angels

a meandering stream, that was easy to cross when it was partial frozen, Spring and Summer it will be a different story.
We were following horseback and cross county ski trails.
Bridge over Lake falls
There is a short walkway trail almost under the bridge.
This couple joined us today for the hike. They are honeymooners from Urbana.
Time to go back to work.  It was a great hike.  A little harder than I thought it was going to be with all the snow.  This week it wasn't the ice and lack of traction that slowed us down, it was the amount of snow and being the first ones on it.  It was like walking on a beach in the sand (without the warm temperature).

 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.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

02-14-2015, Lover's Leap, Eagle's Clif, Wildcat Canyon

Today's hike was the scheduled Guided Winter Hike.  Joe the regular hiking guide had another commitment.  I didn't mind going hiking, especially on this sunny day.  Ok, so it was a little on the cold side, about 11 degrees and with the wind chill about -9 or something like that.  We were all bundled up and most wore some sort of additional traction.  We had 11 HARDY hikers.  They were a wonderful group, and all with a great sense of humor, everyone stayed together rather well.
Wildcat Canyon from the bottom looking up

I gotta say, I was a little worried with the wind if we were going to see many eagles today.  I was very delighted when we go to Lover's Leap and saw our first eagle near Starved Rock in the Fishing Cove.  Center of the photo above.

Starved Rock from Lover's Leap

Eagle Watching on Eagles Cliff.  Yes, it was a little breezy here.  Many eagles

Eagles Cliff

My group graciously posing for a photo in the bitterly cold wind.... THANK YOU!!

Coming down the stairs by Eagle's Cliff there was an eagle in the trees along the river. 

Along the river trail on the way to Wildcat Canyon

Wildcat Canyon.  Ice climbers at the top

Looking up at the ice fall from the bottom

3 ice climbers from Peru, getting ready to go down.  I also took a video of the running water in the ice fall.

Coming down the last set of steps before we arrive at the Lodge

Once we arrive back at the Lodge, we see these hungry deer.
Great sunny day to be hiking.  Joe, you missed a great one! If you come out hiking in the winter please come prepared.  Dress warm and in layers.  Bring some traction things for your boots.  I recommend Yak-trax.  If you forget them or don't know where to purchase them, you can get them in our Gift Shop.  They have them for sale for $25.  Cheaper than breaking an arm, leg or hip.  

 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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Feb. 12, 2015 Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagles Cliff, Wildcat Canyon

Thursday February 12th.  Extremely cold, about 10 degrees with the wind chill about 0 or less.  19 hardy hikers bundled up with layers and some sort of traction helpers for the boots.  Todays hike went to the top of Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagle's Cliff, Beehive Overlook and Wildcat Canyon.  Saw many eagles 15-20, 4 deer and 2 ice climbers in Wildcat Canyon.

Walker's Club heading out  - 19 

Eagle woodcarving guarding the steps by the Veranda

View of Starved Rock from the Veranda

This bench and plaque is near the base of Starved Rock

View of the Hydro-electric power plant from the top of Starved Rock

There are 5 eagles here

Flag at the top of Starved Rock

View of the Lodge from the top of Starved Rock

Looking West from the top of Starved Rock

The trails are VERY ICY.  If you come hiking please wear Yak- Trax or some form of extra traction for your boots.
Heading over to Lover's Leap

Over the foot bridge on the way to Lover's Leap

We were on the boardwalk almost to Lover's Leap when we spotted these deer.  There were 4 all together.  Two left by the time we arrived.

This picture was taken from Lover's Leap looking toward Starved Rock.  This is the fishing cove.  Eagles hang out here.  Can you see the one in the center?

We saw many eagles on our hike today.  I also took a few videos.  Enjoy!

We came down from Eagle's Cliff and saw these two perched near the river

I chose to go up to Beehive Overlook in the chance to see some eagles perched close by.  No such luck.

Wildcat Canyon

Even though I had added traction on my boots, they were no match for the frozen icefall in Wilcat.

Two first timer Starved Rock ice climbers from Libertyville.  Photo taken from the East overlook in Wildcat Canyon.

One of them getting ready to go down

Alas, it is time to Return

It was definitely cold out today, but if your dressed correctly and come prepared, your hike can be very rewarding. Hiking 2 hours today was still a better day than spending the whole day behind a desk.

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.