Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31, 2016 Illinois, Kaskaskia and Ottawa Canyons

The early morning started out with a downpour.  It was quite the shower on my way to work.  I wasn't really looking forward to hiking in the rain today, especially since last week's shower.  I did however remember to bring an extra pair of socks and shoes. The hike always meets in the Lodge's Lobby on Thursdays at 9:00a.m. Today we carpooled to Illinois Canyon's parking lot.  We hiked into Illinois Canyon then some of us took the "Swamp trail" to Ottawa / Kaskaskia Canyon parking lot. Today we also had a reporter from the News Tribune and a photographer with us.  They will be doing a story on hiking that will appear in the local paper sometime in May.

All of us getting ready to hike.  Illinois Canyon Parking lot.

Who is wearing the BEST footwear for the hike today?

Hyacinths.  I really have no idea why these are here.  I always thought these needed to be planted.  ???

Virginia Bluebells will be blooming before you know it.

Patches of Purple Trillium were everywhere.  We did not see any with open flowers, just buds.

Dutchman's Breeches were everywhere
Walking into Illinois Canyon there was lots of "Bonus Waterfalls".

A larger patch of Purple Trillium.  They are going to look spectacular when they bloom

We all help each other getting across the stream

Another "Bonus" waterfall on the way to the Illinois main waterfall

Not there yet, still a "Bonus"
The Illinois Canyon stream.  To get to the end (waterfall)  you have to cross it 3 times.

And finally the all impressive Illinois Canyon Waterfall (much better in person)

Rue Anemone

The stream in Illinois Canyon is really flowing today.

This flower photo is tricky, if your not paying attention it appears to be a Spring Beauty, if you just look at the nearby grass like leaves.  But it is Hepatica.  Check out the fuzzy stems and the bluish color.  And there are more than the 5 petals that are on a Spring Beauty. (Thanks Jared)

Big important discussion going on here.

Mayflowers will be blooming soon, hopefully they will delay long enough to get to May

Huge field of Trout Lillies, (also called Dog Tooth Violets).  They are going to be stunning when blooming.  I have to remember to come back and check it out.  Located in Illinois Canyon

Leaving Illinois Canyon, there is a trail to connect to the parking lot of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons.  I have always called it the "Swamp" trail.  For good reason today!!

We always like to see who has an imagination here.  Look at the rock face, what do you see?  This young man from Peoria got it right!!  This is our "BOOT" hiking boot that is.

All going up into Council Overhang

Inside Council Overhang looking out.

Lime green was the color of the day.

Wildflowers everywhere, going into Kaskaskia Canyon

White Trillium are also almost ready to bloom.  Maybe by the weekend

Kaskaskia Canyon

All of us enjoying Kaskaskia Canyon

Kaskaskia Canyon is a bit rooty.  One step at a time.

Horsetails, these don't grow in to many places in Starved Rock.  These are at the intersection of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons


Ottawa Canyon, We were lucky and there were 2 waterfalls.  There is a smaller one on the right of the main one.

What gives???  What ever happened to "Leave No Trace"? "Take only Memories, and Leave only Footprints"? 

Looking out of Ottawa Canyon.  I always did like this view.

Council Overhand #2

Spring Beauties mixed in with the Trout Lilly leaves.

A pair of hubcaps, a large bottle of Southern Comfort and a Canon Camera.  I took the card out of the camera to see if there was some cool photos on it.  There was only 1 photo (from 2008), some guy was taking a selfie. 
Recent additions to most of the doors of the Lodge.  We are in the process of putting in new carpeting throughout the Lodge.  Hopefully guests will be courteous and wipe their muddy boots off outside before coming in on the new carpet.

I will leave you with this: "The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over.  The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever"

Friday, March 25, 2016

March 24, 2016, St. Louis Canyon, Rain, Aurora Canyon

St. Louis Canyon

Today's hike started out with a mist. In the middle of the hike we had a down pour and finished with a slight drizzle.  There were 25 hikers today.  Some turned back early.  I was one that went the distance, then realized I left my work shoes at home.  When I got back to the Lodge, my clothes were mostly dry, thanks to an umbrella, rain coat and poncho (thanks Terry).  Although I have waterproof boots, the rain was getting the bottom of my pants wet, which eventually seeped into my socks.  I do keep an extra pair of socks in the office, so I did have some relief.  

It was all worth it!  The waterfall in Aurora canyon was spectacular!

Quite the colorful group.  Umbrellas have not been opened up YET!

Aurora and Sac Canyons are marked. Kickapoo is just there and St. Louis is not marked but unmistakable, it is one of the shining stars of Starved Rock

Umbrellas up, no one turned back yet.

The Hepatic flower wasn't open today, but would have been, if it was a sunny day. They were plentiful all around
Going over Aurora, just wait for the lower Aurora photo.  It is quite different.

Dutchman's Breeches are blooming

What a view on the West Bluff Trail!

My daughter Kayla came home for the Easter holiday. She was just so excited to join the Walker's Club

Found some False Rue Anemone in St. Louis Canyon.  Most of this flower hasn't bloomed yet.

Bloodroot.  Wasn't expecting this wildflower for a few more weeks, What a surprise.

Branches from a rare Eastern Hemlock tree in St. Louis Canyon.
We still had to cross the stream in St. Louis Canyon to see the Waterfall
My colorful group admiring the St. Louis Canyon Waterfall

As a marsupial, the opossum has a reproductive system including a divided uterus and marsupium, which is the pouch.[12] The average estrous cycle of the opossum is about 28 days.[13] Opossums do possess a placenta,[14] but it is short-lived, simple in structure, and, unlike that of placental mammals, is not fully functional.[15] The young are therefore born at a very early stage, although the gestation period is similar to many other small marsupials, at only 12 to 14 days.[16] Once born, the offspring must find their way into the marsupium to hold on to and nurse from a teat.

Kayla goofing off in an optical illusion photo.  She isn't really under the waterfall.

It was really starting to pour at this point in the hike

There were bonus waterfalls in places that aren't generally there.

Up and over the road today to get back to the Lodge.  Some left us here and walk back the way we came.
Taking a break and waiting for the rain to end. (Yeah right, that didn't happen)

Free Firewood???
A gaggle is a term of venery for a flock of geese that is not in flight; in flight, the group can be called a skein. A gaggle is greater than or equal to five geese.

 Skunk Cabbage - Breaking or tearing a leaf produces a pungent but not harmful odor, the source of the plant's common name; it is also foul smelling when it blooms. The plant is not poisonous to the touch. The foul odor attracts its pollinators, scavenging flies, stoneflies, and bees. The odor in the leaves may also serve to discourage large animals from disturbing or damaging this plant which grows in soft wetland soils.

Great photo of the inside of the Skunk Cabbage.

Still Raining.  Old Civilian Conservation building up ahead
The rain finally caught up in the Canyon.  The sound of the water coming down was deafening.
Following the stream out of the canyon

Moss at the bottom of a tree.  Love seeing the green.

The MUDD from last week's hike is washed off.  Now I can start fresh again next time out.
I will leave you with this: Maybe raindrop of the bravest things created by God, want to know why? It's because they are never afraid of falling.