Friday, May 29, 2015

May 28, 2015 Buffalo Rock State Park

Featured photo from the hike

 Today's Walker's Club met in the Lodge's Lobby and departed in cars to Buffalo Rock State Park.  We had 45 walkers and 4 dogs.  Tied a record for the number of walkers.  It was a great day, not too hot or cold.  Could have used a breeze here and there to keep the mosquitos away.  But hey, tis the season.
Titled "Effigy Tumuli" in tribute to the Native American burial grounds that inspired it, this unique "earth art" depicts five sculptures native to the Illinois River. The Effigy Tumuli was the vision of artist Michael Heizer who created the sculptures of a snake, turtle, catfish, frog and a water strider. To better appreciate and understand the sculptures, it is best to look first from a distance and then walk around on top of them.

Starting our walk

Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus

1/2 the group was ahead of me, 1/2 the group was behind me.

This fragrant flower was on a low lying branch on a tree

Some hikers got an early start walking on the back of the Catfish

These great signs were originally placed next to the sculpture.  Now most of them are gone.

I thought at first this was a Partridge Pea, but after further inspection I believe it is the Bird's Foot Trefoil
Crown Vetch

Beautiful day in the park

Watch your step

Are we still in Illinois?

Illinois's version of a slot canyon

Real Soloman's Seal

Relaxing on the overlook at the end of the hike

Couple of walker's discussing the day's hike

Our two buffalo relaxing in the sun

Blue Indigo outside the doors by the Cafe

Blue Indigo up close
After I returned back from the hike, I found a tick on my head and another hiker called and also found one.  It is tick season. After hiking anywhere, check yourself for ticks.  Pull them straight out with a tick remover or tweezers.  Do not burn, freeze, put oil or anything else on it.  It will just aggravate the tick.  Happy hiking.....  Believe it or not, but I have NEVER gotten a tick in Starved Rock.  Only Buffalo Rock and Matthiessen State Parks.

I will leave you with this: If you haven't seen anything incredible today.... Go Outside.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015 Starved Rock, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyons

Not necessarily the best photo of the day, but how can I not feature the ELUSIVE GREEN DRAGON!

Today's Walker's Club had 39 walkers and 3 dogs.  Started out a little cloudy but ended up a beautiful day.  Had my jacket around my waist most of the time.  Wildflowers are still out there but are dwindling to a few.  Enjoy!!!

39 hikers and 3 dogs take off for the trail

Nice picture, but I think this is an invasive honeysuckle plant

Going into French

French Canyon

1 of 2 Poison Ivy display signs.  Leaves of 3 leave them be!!!

My motto is, "If its green leave it be"

Lover's Leap --- View to the East from the top of Starved Rock. 
Look real close, this is a zoomed photo of Leopold Island. There is an Eagle in the center of the photo.
Pelicans have arrived

Ron telling the Legend of Starved Rock

View of the Lodge from the top of Starved Rock

Looking over the boardwalk atop Starved Rock

Muillen at the top of Starved Rock

Poison Ivy creeping out onto the steps

Heading to Lover's Leap

Stay on the Trail!!!!   We have a new walkway and stairs

New stairs near French Canyon

You can still find a few Jack in the Pulpits

Everyone from the Walker's Club says HI!!!  Photo taken from Lover's Leap

Barge getting ready to come through the Locks
View from Eagle's Cliff looking East (Best view in the park)

Arnie and Cocoa enjoying a photo op at Eagles Cliff
We enjoyed the new stairs coming down to the river trail from Eagles Cliff

Columbine (Red) and Mouse eared Chickweed (white)

I think this is a Common or Northern Dewberry

Wildcat Canyon

This sister and brother pair from Evanston joined us today after the sister came in January for a hike.  She then told her brother about our group and park.  Both enjoyed the hike today.

Helen taking a break in Wildcat Canyon

These (Jack in the Pulpit) flowers are almost gone until next year.  I just couldn't resist the photo.

Coming out of Wildcat, have to go up, up, up.... 150 or so

Top of Wildcat

The Green Dragon   This flower is very hard to find... because it is green.  Notice the top is curved. The dragon comes up from the ground similar to the Jack in the Pulpit.

Just the dragon part.  Green bottom shooting yellow

2 dragons

After the Starved Rock hike, a few of us went to Matthiesen State Park in search of a Yellow Lady's Slipper.  (photo below)  Photo above is of a very large Jack in the Pulpit.  They did seem to be a bit big this year. 

Yellow Lady's Slipper at Matthiessen Park
 What a great day for a hike!!  (Like there is ever a bad day!!) Love finding those elusive wildflowers.  Soon I will be looking for Coral Root (another orchid).

I will leave you with this: Dreams are the seedlings of realities.  And it is often from the fertile soil of failure that they grow.