Thursday, July 28, 2016

Matthiessen State Park Dells Area - Club Picnic

Feature photo for a great hike!
Hot day today!  It wasn't really the heat it is the humidity.  Who's kidding who, it was HOT!  There were about 40 hikers today that joined in for the hike to Matthiessen State Park Dells Area.  The waterfalls were fabulous.  Today was also the Club's Annual Picnic.  Everyone brought a dish to pass.  Great job everyone!  Special thanks for those of you that brought extra table service and tablecloths.

First we hike the upper dells then the lower dells

A little bit of catching up from the previous week.

This tree is near the bridge by the Lake Falls

Matthiessen Lake Falls

Matthiessen Lake

Joanne was the recipient of a butterfly landing

Were all heading down to the water by the waterfall.

Lake Falls from in the dells area

Giant's Bathtub

I have never really noticed this root ball before.  Kind of interesting.

Rock hoping is always a challenge

We are all so grateful for these stepping stones.

This fungus was almost clear.  Very interesting.

Yes this is a stroller!  The trails at Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks are NOT suitable for strollers.  The walker's club ended up carrying this broken stroller and 5 bags of garbage out of the park today.  Thanks to all who helped.

Cascade Falls.  There is no swimming and wading in any of the waterfalls, canyons or dells areas. 

This yellow wildflower is abundant here.

All waiting in line for a great lunch

We sure know how to fill a shelter

One of our Walker members brought his grandson.  It was his 7th birthday. "Happy Birthday Jett"

Today was Cocoa's 7th Birthday also.  "Happy Birthday Cocoa!" Yes she got her birthday cupcake just like Jett's blue one.
I will leave you with this: Last summer one of our Walker Club members wrote a poem.  I think it is time to re post it.  I hope you enjoy. 

Leave No Trace
Parks are gifts to you and me, 
a haven to go with sights to see.

I am glad there is a place, 
where I can go and leave no trace.

John Muir said our soul restores
 when we share the great outdoors.

Yet there seems to be some space
where green gives way to others trace.

A plastic bottle, a soda can, 
a candy wrapper in the sand.

Why would one behold such beauty 
and disregard a greater duty,
to stow the trash in its place, 
and keep the park without ones' trace?

Perhaps we'll leave this legacy, 
for generations yet to see.

I hope my children visit this place, 
and say, "Dad came, but left no trace."

"He loved this place, but left no trace."

Thank you, and well said Jack!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagle's Cliff and Wildcat Canyon

I took this photo in a field of Sunflowers early in the morning on Tuesday. 

We split up into two groups today.  My group went to the top of Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, Eagle's Cliff, and Wildcat Canyon.  It was a little warm outside.  No wait, it was HOT!  Still a great hike.

My group descend the steps by the Back Door Lounge.  150 steps

These new Kiosks finally have posters.  I will try to get a better photo later without a glare.

Once at top of the Rock, Ron tells the new people of the group the legend of Lover's Leap

View of the Lodge from the South West side of the Rock

Two signs on the way to Starved Rock, tell visitors how to beware of Poison Ivy.
Campanula Flowers are everwhere

A young couple contemplating Lover's Leap.  Not really, just a great photo!

Also from Lover's Leap is a great view of Starved Rock

Starved Rock

The Illinois Waterway Visitor Center across the Illinois River

View looking East from Eagles Cliff.  "Best view in the Park"

Excellent place for a photo!  This photographer looks like a pro.

Wildcat Canyon.  What's wrong with this photo????? It has amazed me for years, why anyone would come to Starved Rock to enjoy the beauty and serenity of one of the great Natural Resources of Illinois, and leave their trash.

A new Walker Club member from Hennepin enjoying Wildcat Canyon

Family get together from Canton Illinois and Texas.  Hoped they liked the place and company!

Bottom of the waterfall in Wildcat Canyon

We are all just about ready to leave Wildcat Canyon.  4 bags of garbage later.

Top of Wildcat Canyon from the upper East overlook

Upper Wildcat waterfall

Seed pod at the base of the Green Dragon

Little snake at the top of French Canyon. Only about 8-10 inches.

2 bags went in the garbage can before I could get a photo, and 1 hiker put there garbage into a different can. 5 bags total. Mostly plastic water bottles.  Thanks all who helped.

I will leave you with this: If every morning you can find a reason to say, "It's going to be a beautifully great day".   And everyday you find a reason to say, "Yes, it is a beautifully great day".  And every night, you find a reason to say, "Yes, it was a beautifully great day". Then one day, you will be able to look back and easily say, "It has been a beautiful, great life"

Thursday, July 7, 2016

St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo and Aurora Canyons 07-07-2016

Today is the first week in a about 3 weeks that I went hiking with the Walker's Club.  The day was overcast and very humid.  There was a mix up with the schedule, so 1/2 of the group went to Starved Rock, French Canyon, Beehive Overlook, Lover's Leap and Eagle's Cliff.  My group went to Aurora Canyon and then through the picnic area.  Over the entrance road and into St. Louis Canyon.  Coming back on the West Bluff trail over Kickapoo, Sac and Aurora Canyons. 

Chainsaw Woodcarving at the Lodge.  Illinois Symbols
Bridge over the entrance road.  Trail leads to St. Louis Canyon

We all went into Aurora Canyon before venturing onto St. Louis Canyon

Looking Good!  Aurora Canyon.  Video to follow...

Wild Hydrangea are everywhere in the park.  All white.

Maidenhair Fern
Walking through the picnic area.  Isn't that a great looking group of hikers?

One of the youngest hikers today.  If he's visiting Grandma and Grandpa and they are going hiking, then so are they.  Yippee!!

Crossing the main entrance road and onto St. Louis Canyon

Found this flower on the way down the steps from the road. 

Steps on the other side of the road, heading into St. Louis Canyon
All make the walk down seem effortless
Black raspberries for a lucky few.

St. Louis Canyon is a wonderful as I had anticipated.

East side of the Canyon

Ron, Carol, Adam and Jack.  All enjoying the breeze from the waterfall.  Or maybe it is the company they keep.

The pool beneath the waterfall in St. Louis Canyon.

One more St. Louis Waterfall picture

Walking back on the bluff trail

Purple Campanula flower. 

Stairway by the "Orange Rock" on the way back to the Lodge (last big stairway)

Another Wild Hydrangea

Nice "Apple"  This was from the Mayapple flower.

Sac Canyon

Aurora Canyon looking to the South

Almost back to the Lodge, just cross over the bridge and you are there.
I will leave you with this: Don't let your past dictate who you are, but let it be a lesson that strengthens the person you will become.