Friday, April 29, 2016

LaSalle & Tonti Canyons 04-28-2016

Today we met in the Lobby of the Lodge and hiked out to LaSalle Canyon and back.  We stopped at upper Wildcat and walked into Tonti canyons.  Today we had 29 hikers.  Great hike, great waterfalls, great company.
Tonti Canyon

Great photo of the Red bud trees at the start of our hike.

Trailhead received a facelift with some mulch.  This was spread by a group of boy scouts a few weeks ago.  Thanks Boys /Guys!

Very few May apples are blooming.  We managed to find 3 on our hike today.

Jack in the Pulpits are blooming everywhere

Prairie Trillium still blooming, being overshadowed by the May Apples.

Upper Wildcat Canyon Waterfall - just the beginning

29 hikers just arriving at Wildcat Canyon from the Campanula Trail

View of Wildcat Canyon Waterfall from the East overlook

View from Sandstone Point

Walker's enjoying the view on Sandstone Point

Birds Foot Violet

Our friend "Mr. Burl"  A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus or fungus. Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy that is generally not discovered until the tree dies or falls over. Such burls sometimes appear as groups of bulbous protrusions connected by a system of rope-like roots. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect infestation and certain types of mold infestation are the most common causes of this condition.

Going down the 155 steps to meet the River Trail.

Fiddlehead fern - Fiddlehead ferns are one of the delicious telltale signs of spring. While there are a few varieties, the most edible and the one most commonly found in markets and on restaurant menus are ostrich ferns. These tightly wound, disc-shaped vegetables are the curled fronds of a young fern, that are harvested during spring before the frond has a chance to mature and uncurl.

Virginia Bluebells, Prairie Trillium and May Apples

White Nodding Trillium, one of my favorites.

Skunk Cabbage

Wild Geraniums and Blue Phlox


A bonus waterfall on the way into LaSalle Canyon

Squirrel Corn

LaSalle Canyon, looking good!

LaSalle Canyon up close.

Leaving LaSalle Canyon

Great photo of LaSalle Canyon

Was told this was Witches thumbprint, but couldn't find description online.

Tonti Canyon's West wall waterfall.

Swamp Buttercup

Walker's Club admiring both waterfalls

Moss covered sandstone coming out of Tonti Canyon

Interrupted fern, notice the darker "interrupted section"

Mouse eared chickweed

Raspberry's growing in an undisclosed location.  "yes it is on the trail"

Yellow Bellwort

View of Eagles Cliff from the River Trail

Columbine on the River Trail

Lousewort or also known Wood Betony

Shooting Stars when we were almost back from the hike.  These were on the bluff trail.

I love Shooting Stars

The brightest Shooting Star I've seen today.
Almost back to the Lodge, Upper French Canyon

Sorry, I tried to identify this plant, but I came up short.  Any takers?

One of the employees in the Cafe posts these wisdom bits every week. 
I will leave you with this: It's impossible to walk in the woods and be in a bad mood at the same time.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Margery Carlson Nature Preserve 04-21-2016

The day started out with a little bit of sun.  Not sure of the temperature but it was comfortable.  A little humidity crept in about 1/2 way through the hike.  We met in the lobby of the Lodge at 9:00a.m.  I told everyone where we were going to hike today, as a Nature Preserve was on the schedule.  We only go to a Nature Preserve a couple of times a year.  There are no trails in the Nature Preserve, so you are on your own.  I chose the Margery Carlson Nature Preserve for the wildflowers that I thought were blooming there.  It also has the great view of the Vermillion River.

This preserve is named in memory of Margery Carlson, who was instrumental in protecting the area, formerly known as Big Bend Nature Preserve. Carlson was a founder of the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy, serving the chapter as its first secretary and later as trustee.  234.34 acres. Donated in 1976 and more was added in 1978

Not many spaces in the parking lot.  Many had to park in on the road.  Today we had 33 hikers.  There was another group of 8 that stayed at Starved Rock and hiked to Wildcat Canyon. 
Parking lot is small

The invasive Garlic Mustard. 

Blue Phlox, If you can crouch down and smell this flower it is very fragrant.  I think they smell like lilacs.

I finally got to see a blooming Prairie Trillium this year.  One of my favorites!

This was a surprise.  Wild Ginger.  I thought these didn't come up until later in the year.  Notice the small maroon flower at the base of the plant.  What a treat!

Wild Geranium, the plant was everywhere, however I just found these 2 blooms. 

Not to many Jack in the Pulpits out there. There will be more to come.

Bishop Cap was everywhere.  Also called Miterwort

Bishops Cap near a mossy log

Great showing of False Rue Anemone

Squirrel Corn

The Vermillion River

Vermillion River

Shells along the shore of the Vermillion River

We like to get a group photo from time to time.  Great backdrop with the Vermillion River

Rocky beach

Virginia Bluebells

Broken bridge is always an attraction.  I have no idea what its purpose once was.

A field of Mayapples, none are blooming yet.

An apple is at the base of the Mayapple.  This apple will eventually turn into a white flower.

Yellow Wood Violet

We are on our way back up hill to the parking lot

Heading back
I will leave you with this: “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” —Theodore Roosevelt