Thursday, June 29, 2017

Visit a Canyon Tour June 26, 2017

This blog post is dedicated to the new tour this year.  Visit a Canyon Tour. We offer it on Saturday, Sunday and Mondays from June - September.  The cost is $25.

Included in this tour is a bottle of water, map backpack and a 6oz package of Hiker's Mix.

After checking in, you will board a trolley for a narrated tour of the area.

All Aboard! And we're off!

Today the first stop was the canyon for a leisurely walk into Council Overhang and Ottawa Canyon.

The guide will point out many things on the tour.  Most importantly they will show you what Poison Ivy looks like.

"The boot area"  Also the trail back to the Lodge

Going up to Council Overhang.  You can also take a lower trail, to avoid the stairs. 

Inside Council Overhang looking out from the back wall.

Snake Grass / Horse tails

Minor stream crossing

Everyone took turns getting their photo by the waterfall. Ottawa Canyon

Coming out of Ottawa Canyon.  "Mini Council Overhang"

The seed pod from the Jack in the Pulpit. 

"Wedding Cove"  This area is near the Ottawa Canyon Parking lot

Back entrance to Starved Rock State Park
Front steps to the Visitor Center
Display of an American Elm that died near the visitor Center.  Bullet was found when they were getting it ready to display.

On the tour you will have time to browse the State Park Visitor Center.  Gift Shop and Concessions are also located here.

Today, Tom and Kyle are ready to help any visitor with questions. 

There are many interesting displays at the visitor center.

On the tour, you will also hear the Legend of Starved Rock on the Trolley

Replica "Fort St. Louis" is also at the visitor center

The Foundation Bookstore.  All purchases here go to fund park activities.

Trolley also stops at the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.  This area is also a working lock and dam. Best place to see Starved Rock

Always a friendly Ranger at the facility. Today was Ranger Gary's turn.

Great view of Plum and Leipold Island looking to the West

Barge and tow boat, view to the East.  Going up river.

View of the Dam

Have to keep moving, the tour isn't finished yet. Back on the trolley

Downtown Utica

The Aitken One room schoolhouse.  Sits right next to the Illinois & Michigan Canal

LaSalle County Historical Society, Former Canal Warehouse
This is a great all around good tour.  A historic trolley ride with a short hike.  Offered every Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  $25.00 per person.  Includes a souvenir map backpack with a snack and a bottle of water.

I will leave you with this: Always believe something wonderful is going to happen.  Even with all the ups and downs, never take a day for granted.  Smile, cherish the little things and remember to hug the ones you really love.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Visit a Canyon- New trolley tour. 06-03-2017

I took a drive out to Council Overhang / Ottawa Canyon this morning to check the trail.  I wanted to see if some of the mud has dried up.  Today is the first day of the new tour "Visit a Canyon Tour".
Council Overhang

The "Visit a Canyon Tour" consists of the following: When checking in for the tour you will be given a Starved Rock map backpack with a bottle of water and a package of Hiker's Trail Mix.  You will board a trolley in front of the Lodge for a historic tour.  Trolley stops at the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for a beautiful view and photos of the Starved Rock.  Next the trolley will take you through the Village of Utica and tell you a little bit about the Illinois and Michigan Canal.  While aboard the trolley, the driver and guide will tell legends and history of Starved Rock and the the Lodge.  From the village of Utica the trolley will then take you to the Council Overhang/Ottawa canyon parking area where you will be dropped off with a guide for a scenic walk into the canyon and back.  Getting back on the trolley, they will take you to the park's Visitor Center for a short stop before concluding the tour at the Lodge.

 There are quite a bit of wildflowers and other interesting things to look at while on the trail.  Can you find these?

Wild Ginger (notice the heart shaped leaf) flowers are underneath the leaves

False Solomon's Seal (notice the small flower spray coming out the end).  The "Real" Solomon's Seal has small white flowers under the opposing green leaves on the stem.

Virginia Waterleaf (this flower is almost past)

Bladder Nut (small tree /bush)

Who has a good imagination?  See the hiking boot in the sandstone?  It's kind of like finding shapes in clouds. 

You can take this flat trail or go up the small incline in the photo below to Council Overhang

Eroding incline to Council Overhang

View of Council Overhang looking out.  Photo taken from the back wall.

Continuing into the canyon, this mini Council Overhang can be seen on your left.

This tour will go in to Ottawa Canyon.  Kaskaskia is for another day....

Near the Ottawa/Kaskaskia sign is a patch of "Snake Grass"  This is one of the very few places it grows in the park.

Stepping stones into Ottawa Canyon

View going into Ottawa Canyon.  Almost there.
Ottawa Canyon Waterfall

 There are plenty of other things to see on this tour.  This tour is offered June -September on Mondays from 10:00-12:30, Saturdays from 10:00-12:30 & 12:30-3:00, and Sundays from 10:00-2:30p.m.

I will leave you with this: Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.