Thursday, February 14, 2019

Aurora, Sac, Kickapoo and St. Louis Canyons, Feb. 14, 2019

For a wintry day, I was surprised that almost 50 hikers came out to hike.  We met in the Lodge's Lobby and walked to St. Louis Canyon via the West Bluff Trail.  Saw the top of Aurora, Sac and Kickapoo Canyons on the way out. When we got back some of us dropped down into Aurora Canyon and what a treat!

Feb. 20th, Wednesday is Give Back Night at the Lodge.  There will be a buffet in the main dining room whereas part of the proceeds will go toward the Walker's Club.  We are looking to add a bench on the Interpretive Trail near the Lodge.  The Lodge has been doing this every Wednesday starting in January.  Each Wednesday the group represented is different. Please make a reservation by calling 815-220-7386.

Favorite photo of the day

49 hikers came out to check out the park

Trails are icy.  If you don't have yak-trax or katoohlas or some other form of additional traction, you really shouldn't be on the trails. 

Most of the steps are ice and snow covered

Top of Aurora looking South

Top of Aurora Canyon

Looking back at the group

Top of Sac Canyon

Top of Sac looking South

View from the West Bluff Trail looking toward Utica

Coming down the stairs by the "Orange Rock"

Nice break spot in the Summer, not today!

Small ice formation on the way to St. Louis Canyon

Almost there.  It was so nice to see the sun come out!

St. Louis Icefall

Everyone is arriving

Should I try to crawl inside?
I'm pretty sure the spikes on my Katoohlas will be enough traction.

Off course, I was going in.

Looking up to the falling water

I did not come out the other side, I turned around and went out the way I came.

Looking out from behind the icefall.  Everyone else loved the icefall just as much as I did. 

St. Louis Canyon Icefall

Time to go, we still have to go to Aurora Canyon

Boardwalks on the way back were melting, but still slippery

After everyone walked on this going to the canyon, the smell here was amazing.  Love the smell of fresh pine

About 20 people went into Aurora Canyon.  These 3 steps are challenging on a good day.  

Just the beginning.....

Now this is worth the walk

I went for a closer look

I was checking out behind the icicles

Icicles up close in Aurora Canyon

Terry took this photo of me in Aurora Canyon

Me and my Canyon
I will leave you with this: All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Starved Rock Nature Preserve 02-07-2019

22 Hikers started out in the Starved Rock Lodge's Lobby. It was on the schedule to do a nature preserve.  We chose the area across from St. Louis Canyon parking lot on Rt. 178.  Going to a Nature Preserve has some caveats.  There are no trails! No dogs allowed. Enter at your own risk. We didn't know if the streams would be frozen or not. I do not ever recommend hiking here unless you go with someone else, especially if they know the terrain. 

22  hikers braved the blustery day.  Started out a little windy, foggy and misty.  Turned to sprinkles at the end of the hike. 

Crossing Rt. 178 for starters then we went through a field.  Watch out for hidden puddles. 

Once we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we arrived at the Twin Falls area.  This photo is off the falls to the West. (bottom of Jolliet Canyon, formerly Hitt Canyon) Information taken from an old guide book dated 1974 by Phillip Vierling.

This photo is the other half of the Twin Falls area.  The East side, (bottom of Marquette Canyon, formerly Curtis Canyon) 

We still had some snow but all the ice on the creeks were thawed and swollen. It was hard getting across.  Some turned around and checked out another area.  I crossed with a group of 13 and went on to the next canyon.

Guess who was just here? check out the wood chips and the holes on the top of the tree.  We didn't see the woodpecker but the holes and the woodchips were exciting. 

This was the crossing we chose.  Feet on one log and hands on the other.  One at a time.  If you fell, it would be in about 6 inches of cold water.  No one fell.

We walked with the bluff to the South and turned into Potawatomie Canyon

Stream in Potawatomie Canyon

Another feature of Potawatomie Canyon

Potawatomie Canyon

On our way back to the car we saw this burl.

Going down the ravine wasn't nearly as strenuous as going up.

Old sign left over from the White Oak Campground days.  It still stands: Please Do Not Litter in the Area.  No cans but please take it with you!  Very little trash is found in the Nature Preserve. One of the things I like about going here. 
I will leave you with this: Take care of your thoughts when you are by alone, and take care of your words when you are with people.