Friday, July 31, 2015

July 30, 2015 - Hennepin, Hidden, Owl and LaSalle Canyons

Today's hike we went out to Hennepin Canyon parking lot and 30+ walkers walked in from there to LaSalle Canyon.  I heard there was a MOUND of garbage there.  I mentioned it to the Walker's Club, if they wanted to grab a garbage bag from the front desk and help pick up the trash along the way it would be appreciated.  (I'll tell you later how much we picked up and carried back).
Theme photo of the hike
I took this photo earlier this week in the prairie area south of the Lodge.
Doll's Eyes

Rt. 71 is under construction. You have to wait for the pilot vehicle to come back, to lead you through.

Queen Anne's Lace

We have lots of these on the trails.  Some sort of a sunflower

Fern Leaf False Foxglove

Fern Leaf False Foxglove

Some sort of lichen near Hennepin Canyon Overlook

Enjoying the view with a breeze at Hennepin Overlook.  Some were reading the informational boards there.

Hennepin Canyon

This "thing" caught my eye

Hidden Canyon

Odd shaped tree near Owl Canyon

Walking along the river, headed to LaSalle Canyon, we saw this freshly fallen tree.
Walking Stick

Very delicate leaves, look close, they look like a fern. Partridge Pea

Red Admiral?

How many do you see?  There are 4
LaSalle Canyon
What's wrong with this photo?  Such a beautiful canyon!  It is sad that so much trash was found here.  Photo shows 2 bags with more trash on the ground.  We picked up trash on the way in and out.  All total we pick up 5, YES 5 garbage bags full of trash.  You name it.... diapers, bottles (glass, plastic and aluminum), socks, towels, wrappers, straws, beer cans, etc.  Whats going on??????

I will leave you with this: How ever you want to say it - "Leave footprints, take only memories", "Leave NO Trace" "Carry out what you carry in"

Thursday, July 23, 2015

07-23-2015 Aurora, St. Louis Canyon

Theme photo of the day!

Today for Walker's Club, we were scheduled to go into St. Louis Canyon and Aurora Canyon, passing Sac and Kickapoo Canyons. We generally go to St. Louis first and drop down into Aurora Canyon on they way back.  I thought we would switch it up this time.  Jack from the club says "Going to Aurora Canyon is like having dessert first"  Well said!!  My favorite Canyon is Aurora!
On my way to work yesterday I stopped to take this photo by the Illinois Community College.  The cloud was just hanging there over the field.  Couldn't resist

New carving near the pool patio "Illinois Symbols"

An early "touch me not"

Going into Aurora Canyon

Only so many people fit in Aurora Canyon

The rest of the Walker's Club.  No water in Aurora Canyon

Top of Sac Canyon

Blue Cohosh - the berries are almost blue

Turkey Vulture sunning himself.  We saw him on the West Bluff trail on the way to St. Louis Canyon

Indian Pipe - or the Corpse Plant.  This wildflower does not make any chlorophyll

Coming down the steps heading to St. Louis Canyon

St. Louis Canyon

Everyone loves the Waterfall in St. Louis Canyon

Wild Hydrangea - We have many of these in the park

Ten Petal Sunflower

On the way back to the Lodge, we spotted this pretty big Snapping Turtle. This turtle was about 9 inches wide by 14 inches long.  The top portion of the shell is called the Carapace.  The Scutes are the big squares on the shell.  Most turtles have 13 of these.

When we came upon this turtle, he was on top of this log.  We thought he was stuck or dead.  Turns out he was just hanging out.  When we came upon him, he went off the log and rolled onto his back.  He eventually turned over and was on his way.

He wanted us to leave....
We had 30 hikers today for the walk.  The weather was great for a hike, about 83.  

I will leave you with this: I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 16th, 18th, Illinois, LaSalle and Wildcat Canyons

Thursday July 16th was with the Walker's Club.  It hasn't rained for a while, so I thought we would be alright to hike at the East end of the park into Kaskaskia, Ottawa and Illinois Canyons.  We carpooled and parked in Ottawa / Kaskaskia Canyon Parking area.  I was badly mistaken.  It was a mud pit with heavy mosquitoes.  One of our walkers fell going into Kaskaskia so I walked her back to her car.  
Theme photo of the hike

Beginning of the mud.  The planks laying there should have been my first clue of what was to come.

Pick a log, any log, all are slippery

Looks like the spring time shooting star.  But it is too far into the summer.  Any thoughts?

Illinois Canyon

Little frog in Illinois Canyon

Illinois Canyon - Yes that is a mosquito net on Kevin's head.  They were very plentiful

Chicory, along the road from Illinois Canyon back to Ottawa Canyon parking lot
 On my way home for the day, I stopped along the prairie entrance and took a few photos.
Purple Prairie Clover

Wild Bergamot
 On Saturday July 18th, I was the one scheduled for a guided hike.  Yes, it was hot.  Don't know the temperature but it was HOT with high HUMIDITY.  When I arrived back at the Lodge around 2:30p.m. all my clothes were drenched.  The group was from Northern Illinois University.  It was a group of students from all over the world.  In my group they were from Brazil, Taiwan, Pakistan, Ecuador, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  Very interesting to talk with.
My group on Eagle's Cliff

View of the Dam from Eagle's Cliff

Bufferfly along the trail to Wildcat Canyon

Jessica (from Brazil).  I went to Brazil about 20 years ago with the Rotary Group Study Exchange.  Jessica and I talked quite a bit about what she misses most about Brazil and what I liked while I was visiting there.  She is studying Engineering.  Good Luck Jessica, thanks for a great hike!

The other guide for the group was Kevin.  We split the group in half.  Kevin kept his group cool with his misting fan.  We met in LaSalle Canyon at lunch time.

Many people were already in LaSalle Canyon when we arrived. 

Wildcat Canyon from the Eastern Upper overlook

Upper waterfall in Wildcat Canyon
 We also have had Bud Hainzinger here carving our latest chainsaw carving.  It is called Illinois Officials.  Come take a look.  It is near our pool patio on the West side of the Lodge.

Illinois Officials

I like it when all of the carvers sign them and put the date.  Thanks Bud! Nice Job!
It's been hot and buggy.  If you plan on hiking this summer, bring lots of water and bug spray and you will be fine.

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