Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagle's Cliff 11-25-15

Theme photo of the hike

Today we had 34 hikers that left the Lodge for a VERY slippery

Steps behind the Lodge were fine except for the landings.  150 steps down.

Once we reached the bottom of the stairway we were met with the first of many sections of ice for the day.

View of Lover's Leap  and Dam from the top of Starved Rock

Ron telling the Legend of Starved Rock

View of the Lock and Dam from the top of Starved Rock

We were lucky enough to see this lone eagle on a tree on Leopold Island.  View is from the top of Starved Rock.
Icy trail on the boardwalk on top of Starved Rock.

View of the Starved Rock Lodge from the top of Starved Rock

We came down from Starved Rock and headed into French Canyon.  Surprisingly there was no ice going into the canyon.

The beginning of French Canyon
French Canyon

All of us just loving French Canyon.  So nice I even took a photo.

One way in, one way out.

The top of Starved Rock from Lover's Leap
Ice on the Lover's Leap deck

Some of the hiker's didn't venture down the steps at Lover's Leap, because there was so much ice on the steps.

"Best View in the Park"  View of the Illinois River from Eagle's Cliff looking East

Top of Pontiac Canyon

View of Wildcat Canyon waterfall from the West overlook.  (The East Overlook has a better view).

Top of Wildcat Canyon Waterfall
The ice on this hike was very surprising.  Some of the hikers had their Yak-trax or Katoohlas with them.  I did not. Let that be a lesson to me.  From now through the winter months, traction devices are a must.  Just bring them along to be safe.

I will leave you with this: If you wait for the perfect weather day to go hiking, you would never go out.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19, 2015 - St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo and Aurora Canyon

Today's hike began in the Lodge's Lobby with 37 hikers and 4 dogs.  We were scheduled to go to a Nature Preserve, however with the recent rains, we switched to St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo and Aurora Canyons.  We left the Lodge and headed West on the Bluff trail to St. Louis Canyon. We then went out the West end and over the entrance road and down into the picnic area.  Took the trail to the BEST canyon, Aurora!  And up the nearby staircase back to the Lodge.  Great to see the sun.

The Lodge is being decorated for Christmas this week

Waterfall at the top of Aurora

Sac Canyon waterfall was so fabulous, I even took a video.

View of Unimin from the West Bluff trail

St Louis Canyon Waterfall

St. Louis Canyon.  This sand slide happened in June 2002
Sandstone photo coming out of St. Louis Canyon

A picturesque pine cone

Up and over --  Going up and over the road.....

And down we go.

This path is an old road on the West end of the park

When the trail ends there is a bridge we take to the picnic area.  The nature preserve continues to the Illinois River.

Walking through the picnic area on our way to Aurora Canyon we saw this Juvenile eagle.

On our way into Aurora Canyon

Small but great canyon, Aurora. A couple from Rock Island joined us for the tour today.

My friend Lori

View looking up out of Aurora Canyon

The Glassinator was really spinning today

The Cafe posts inspirational sayings a few times a week.  Well worth reading.
I will leave you with this: " Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.  Autograph your work with excellence".

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nov. 12, 2015 Illinois & Michigan Canal - Section of Buffalo Rock to Ottawa

Old Railroad Bridge

We changed the schedule a little bit for today's hike.  With the weather being as blustery as it was, we thought that a nice hike with the wind to our backs would be great.  The walker's drove their cars to the Illinois Michigan Canal parking lot off of Boyce Memorial Drive in Ottawa and I picked them up in the trolley and dropped them off at the Buffalo Rock I & M Canal Access.  We all walked back to the cars.  It was a nice change.  Most of us have not done this section of the Canal.  And the wind was to our back.  What is the saying..... Something about the wind at your back??? more later....
All 17 hikers and 1 dog, (Cocoa) just got dropped off from the trolley and we are heading out for a windy 3 mile hike.

3 miles to Ottawa

Only one tree across the path

.6 miles to what is left of Lock 12

This is what is left of the old railroad bridge.  They used this bridge when transporting coal when mining what is now part of Buffalo Rock State Park

Catalpa tree seed pods.  Sometimes called the Indian Bean tree or Cigar tree

Lock 12

There was actually quite a bit of beaver damage on the canal

Along the canal are these signs that tell visitors about the life on the Canal

Behind the Pampas Grass is U.S. Silica.  There really is a huge pile of sand back there that blends into the clouds.

What is left of Lock 11

Distances along the Canal

Since the trolley was still at the Buffalo Rock entrance, I had a choice of walking back (into the wind) (that wasn't happening) or catch a ride with someone going back to the Lodge.
I will leave you with this: May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.  May the sunshine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.