Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sept. 24-2017 Mega Hike

The Mega Hike is an event that the Starved Rock Lodge offers 3-4 times a year.  The event is $37.00 per person and includes an event t-shirt, lunch, trolley transportation and 2 knowledgeable guides from the Starved Rock Walker's Club.  The hike begins with check in at the Lodge at 8:30, 9:00 or 9:30a.m.  The group boards the trolley and heads out to the Illinois Canyon parking area.  The idea isn't to hike all the trails in the park, the idea is to go to all the canyons in the park. The hike is 13.4 miles and we see all 18 canyons.

Today, I am leading the 9:30a.m. tour with Tom. 

Sunday, 9:30a.m. mega hike group

Tom getting off the trolley ready to hike.

The first canyon of the day is Illinois Canyon.  Look closely, there is a waterfall.  Only about 6 inches but it was falling.

The standard group photo in Illinois Canyon.  This is my group. 17 great people and my excellent guide - Tom

Council Overhang is next....

The "Boot" area.  Right around the corner is Council Overhang.

View of Council Overhang looking out.

Everyone in Council Overhang taking my suggestion for a great photo.

2nd Canyon is Kaskaskia

3rd Canyon is Ottawa

Coming out of Ottawa Canyon is this lovely place.  I call it miniature Council Overhang

After Ottawa /Kaskaskia Canyon we experienced our first major stairway, up and over Rt. 71 and up some more.

Hennepin Canyon Overlook

There really isn't a good photo spot for Hennepin Canyon. So this is as good as it gets.  Love the blue sky

LaSalle Canyon

Tonti Canyon

Wildcat Canyon

"Best view in the park" Eagles Cliff looking East

View looking North/West from Eagles Cliff.  Looking at the Illinois Waterway, Lock and Dam

Some went down to be on Lover's Leap to see Starved Rock

Every Mega Hike has it's own shirt. This one will be a favorite!

We arrived at the Lodge about 1:50p.m. for lunch.  After a half hour lunch break we got up and hiked some some.  At this point, you could elect to opt out or hike on.  My group of 17 went down to 12.  The Mega Hike Lunch: Chicken ceasar wrap, homemade granola bar, apple, bag of chips, bottle of water.  This year since it was soooo hot, we had glasses of ice.  Everything hit the spot.  Yummy!

First stop after lunch was French Canyon

Aurora Canyon

St. Louis Canyon is our last canyon and there was actually a pretty good waterfall here. 

St. Louis Canyon. 

Miranda writing out the Certificates upon completion.

Long time Walker Club member Linda - First time Mega Hike leader.  I'm really proud of her!  You deserve that Certificate and Snicker Bar!

This group of girls kept me on my toes.

We have 18 canyons in Starved Rock State Park.  Some canyons you can only see from on the top as there is no trails into them.  There are also some canyons you can only walk into and not see from the top.  Some have both a top view and interior.  I have listed them here:
Top: Hennepin, Hidden, Owl, Lonetree, Basswood, Pontiac, Fox, Sac, Kickapoo
Interior: Illinois, Kaskaskia, Ottawa, LaSalle, Tonti, St. Louis
Top and Interior: Wildcat, French, Aurora

I will leave you with this: Stop doubting yourself, work hard and make it happen!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Matthiessen State Park, around the lake Sept 14, 2017

Did someone say "Fall"?

 Today's Walker's Club we met in the Lodge's Lobby and carpooled to Matthiessen State Park the fort area.  We hiked the Upper Dells area and around the Matthiessen Lake.  41 hikers today no dogs.  Before leaving I announced that we will have a short meeting for anyone who would like to attend on Sept. 28th after the weekly hike.   I would like to brainstorm on how we can develop the Overflow parking trail an interpretive trail.   Meeting will be in the Cafe. 

Fort area right off the parking lot

The pavilion got a new roof! 

All 41 coming down

It looks like a trail..... It's not.

Matthiessen Lake Falls Bridge.  Did someone say Fall?

Hornet's nest near the Lake shelter

Boat house near Matthiessen Lake

"Shaggy" Saw a couple of these.

Indian Pipe

Name that feather.....

This old truck always generates some interesting comments in the group

Turn to the Horse Campground


Horse camping

Great Blue Lobelia

We had to cross a few creeks, not much water

Great Blue Lobelia

This small downed tree made our hike interesting

Lots of mushrooms today

Back at the bridge by the Lake.  Are you ready for Fall?

Little waterfall at Lake Falls

Waterfall at the Giant's Bathtub

Lots of roots exposed today

Lower upper dells

All stepping stones out of the water today. 
I will leave you with this: Each day I am thankful for nights that turn into mornings, Friends that turned into family, Dreams that turned into reality, and like that turned into love.