Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wildcat,Pontiac,Lover's Leap, Eagle's Cliff, French, Starved Rock

 Today's there were a total of 56 walkers.  I decided to do two groups.  The first group started with French Canyon, followed by Starved Rock.  From Starved Rock, they took Jacob's Ladder to Lover's Leap and then Eagle's Cliff.  Back tracked a little  then taking the Pontiac Canyon trail to Wildcat Canyon and then back to the Lodge on the Campanula Trail.  The second group saw the same but did it in reverse. Group 1 started with 21 and Group 2 started with 34.

Everyone loving French Canyon

Beware there is lots of Poison Ivy out on the trails.

Group 1 was ahead of us.

We weren't hiking to far when I pointed out the Green Dragon.  We saw a few of these on the way to Wildcat Canyon.  They are extremely hard to find since they are GREEN!

Climbing up our first stairway of the day.

Arriving at Wildcat Canyon

Wildcat Canyon from the East Overlook

Looking at the West Overlook from the East Overlook

Looking at the East Overlook from the West Overlook in Wildcat Canyon

Found a few Columbine flowers on the way to Lover's Leap via the Pontiac Canyon trail.

1 view of Pontiac Canyon

Top of Pontiac Canyon

Pontiac Canyon has been the location of many falls the last few years.  Stay on the marks trails and all will be well.  These Red markers with Not A Trail stickers warn hikers of dangerous areas.

Roseann & Carol taking a shade break with Mandy.  Mandy needed a rest from the stairs.

Eagle's Cliff - Best view in the park!

East End of Eagle's Cliff, looking East also

Starved Rock Lock and Dam area from the top of Eagle's Clif

Lover's Leap with Starved Rock in the background.

What a gorgeous day!  Starved Rock is in the background

Everyone carefully going into French Canyon

French Canyon looking good!

French Canyon

Yellow Flag Iris on the trail just past French Canyon

Virginia Waterleaf - widespread in the park.

The Lodge has 2 of these life size cutouts of M. Filipiak letting hikers know that it is NOT ok to get off the trails and rock climb.  Fines start at $120.00.  Just want everyone to enjoy the park and stay safe! There are 6 of these signs all together.  2 will be placed at the State Park's Visitor Center and 2 will be placed off site at area businesses.

I will leave you with this: "Above all do not lose your desire to walk.  Everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness.I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.  But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill... if one keeps on walking everything will be alright."

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ottawa, Kaskaskia and Illinois Canyons 05-03-2018

My favorite pic of the day!

We started our hike today in the Starved Rock Lodge's Lobby.  We carpooled to Ottawa/Kaskaskia Canyon parking lot.  There were 33 walkers today.  As much fun as the waterfalls were today, the real attraction today were the Virginia Bluebells in Illinois Canyon.

Wild Ginger.  Not quite blooming yet.

False Rue Anemone - The cuts on the leaves for the true Rue Anemone aren't as deep.

Wild Geranium

Nodding Trillium

Going up into Council Overhang

Close up of the Sandstone in Council Overhang

Looking out of Council Overhang

Bishop's Cap - Miterwort 

Squirrel Corn
The pool under the waterfall in Ottawa Canyon
Ottawa Canyon Waterfall

These boots were the smartest choice for the spring hikes

Nice bouquet of Miter wort in the canyons today.

Snake Grass/Horse tails mixed in with a few Virginia Bluebells.  At the intersection of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons

Swamp Buttercup

Nice patch of Swamp Buttercup going into Kaskaskia Canyon

Nodding Trillium

Blue Cohosh blossoms

Kaskaskia Canyon, Also the video below is of Kaskaskia Canyon

Blue Phlox

On the to main attraction today.  Illinois Canyon and the Virginia Bluebells

Some are white

The photos do not do it justice.  Once you get out of your vehicle and on the trail, you can see bluebells for as far as you can see. It is just amazing.

Virginia Bluebells

Pink and Blue

My favorite pic of the day!

Prairie Trillium or some people call them bloody noses.

To get to the Waterfall at the end in Illinois Canyon, you will need to cross the stream 3 times.  Yes those are bluebells in the distance.

Illinois Canyon falls

This young man was telling Joanie the difference between a frog and a toad.  He was having a great time. He was catching them and showing us then putting them back. 

What a time he had today.

Our state flower "Blue Violet"

They are here.  Be careful and check yourself often.  Stay out of tall vegetation.  Another great reason to stay on the trails.

After the scheduled hike today, 4 of us went to pick up this pile of trash at the bottom of the stairs by Owl Canyon.  Thank you Peggy, Harvey and Kim.  We brought out 6 small bags and 1 large bag.

My helpers today.

We came across this Robin on the stairs going down to the garbage pile.  I met a couple on the parking lot that had called the rangers to report the bird. 

Rob, TJ, Peggy and I helped.  Between cutting the branch, covering the birds head, holding the bird (that was me), cutting the fishing line, and pulling all the fishing line out.  The bird flew away.  Thank you Rob and TJ for letting me help with this.  I was uplifted all day.  Thanks again.
I will leave you with this: "That's the best thing about walking, the journey itself.  It doesn't matter much whether you get where you're going or not.  You'll get there anyway.  Every good hike brings you eventually back home"