Thursday, October 29, 2015

10-29-2015 Walker's Club, Wildcat & French Canyons, Eagles Cliff, Lover's Leap

Today's Walker's Club totaled 41 people.  We left the Lodge and headed out on the Campanula to Wildcat Canyon. On to Eagles Cliff and Lover's Leap (Great colors here). We finished up in French Canyon.  It was a bit breezy and the sun came out occasionally.  Saw some great color on the overlooks. Enjoy!!

Theme photo of the day

Wet boardwalks can sometimes be slippery. 

These are Paw Paw trees - brilliant yellows

This is a Paw Paw tree leaf.  HUGE

How many people did you saw this deck was good for? 

Looking into Wildcat Canyon, sorry folks, the waterfalls are done for the season.

Inside Wildcat Canyon, Soon we will be seeing frozen ice falls here.

Part of the steps leading up to Eagle's Cliff

Best colors yet!!!  Taken from Eagles Cliff, looking East

Leopold Island

Lock and Dam

Is that an Eagle?  You bet it is!!!  Soon we will have plenty more.

Starved Rock from Lover's Leap

Today we had plenty of pelicans. I zoomed in and got a close up of this lone pelican

Joe is telling the Legend of Starved Rock

Devil's Nose

Walking into French

French Canyon, no waterfall here either.

Everyone leaving French Canyon
I will leave you with this: One small crack doesn't mean you are broken, it just means that you were put to the test and were strong enough not to break.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Oct. 22, 2015 St. Louis Canyon

Starved Rock in peak color!!!

Today's Walker's Club went to St. Louis Canyon, with some of them venturing into Aurora Canyon.  I had a prior hike scheduled with a group of 2nd graders and had to break off early and bypass Aurora.  It really pained me not to go into Aurora as it is my favorite canyon.  When I was with the 2nd graders we went to Lover's Leap, Eagles Cliff and Wildcat Canyon. 

Since I had to leave early, I asked Terry to lead the group.  He stopped at our newest wood carving. All about Illinois.

We have 18 canyons in the park and 4 of them are to the West of the Lodge

What is a walk without going up?

On this walk, I think Orange/Yellow is the color of the day.

View of Utica from the West Bluff trail

Not all the color today were in the leaves. This is on the way to St. Louis Canyon.  Iron in the sandstone

St. Louis Canyon - dry today
Terry is getting ready to tell the group a story

Close up of St. Louis Canyon where the waterfall once was earlier in the year

I was waiting (not long) for a raccoon to peek out

Little bit of red

On the way back to the Lodge
Once the boardwalk ended the trail was barely visible.
I only saw the top of Aurora Canyon.  That will have to be enough for today.
Bridge over the entrance road
I arrived back at the Lodge with 20 minutes to spare.  What a treat.  They asked many questions and stayed as a group.  They were a little chatty, but when I was telling them some history or about the animals that lived here, they were all quiet and listened well.  Just like little sponges.  I must say, they were a little disappointed that we didn't have bears here.  Some of them were really hoping to see one.  We saw pelicans, Canadian geese and many grey squirrels.
Our first stop was Lover's Leap.  This is where I told them the Legend of Starved Rock.  How Starved Rock received its name.

The colors were so spectacular here, I thought I would take two photos.

View looking East from Eagles Cliff

Many pelicans, all trying to get the best spot.
I will leave you with this: A fallen leaf is nothing more than Summer's wave goodbye.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oct. 15, 2015 Matthiessen State Park Dells Area

Today the Walker's Club had a record number of hikers - 49.  We met in the Lobby of the Lodge and carpooled to Matthiessen State Park the Dells Area, near the replica fort.  The Fall colors were fabulous.  I think they are better today than at Starved Rock.  We even saw a waterfall, or at least water falling. 
Theme photo of the hike

We started by the fort area.  49 people and 3 dogs

We pretty much took the whole stairway

Matthiessen State Park has more trails than you think

Matthiessen Lake Falls Bridge

Matthiessen Lake

Not sure when the new small stepping stones arrived, but thank you, it was a big help.

Waterfall-ing at Lake Falls

Can you see the waterfall in the background?  More like water falling, some is better than nothing.  This couple was staying at the Lodge and came hiking with us today.  Hope they had a great time. 

There is Sandstone everywhere

Giant's Bathtub

Our Singapore friends took many photos.

Some of the faster hikers made it to the bridge before the rest of us
Joe was giving us directions if we wanted to cut our hike short.  Only about 6 opted to leave early.

Oak leaves are generally brown in the fall.

Nice Color everywhere

Don is contemplating? Pondering? Thinking? Debating? Wondering?

Concrete Bridge at the South end of the Dells area
Down in the Lower Dells area

Is there a resemblance???? At least both are smiling and have a hat.

See the face?  Many people walk right by and don't see it.  Have you?

In the  Cascade Falls area
This couple came from Singapore.  The gentleman ran in the Chicago Marathon and came down to hike with us today.  He found us from this hiking blog.

Part of the group around Strawberry Rock

Cross Country Skiing will be coming soon. Trails are marked

This cabin is where the cross country skis are rented.
I will leave you with this: Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.