Thursday, May 30, 2019

Fifty-five SR Walkers Club members drove to Buffalo Rock Sate Park and waded the Effigy Tumuli Trail. For a while the sun actually broke through the clouds! Get up! Go puddle jumping!

This sign hangs on the buffalo barn wherein the mother/daughter pair of Holly and Pebbles were enjoying a late breakfast. 

 The Park staff said there were a few areas they were having difficulty mowing.
 Last night's rain brought down a carpet of locust blossoms.
The Walkers begin the Effigy Tumuli Trail.
Some parts of the trail were Tumuli Creek!

Back in the 1960's (i.e. the Eocene) we used to play "moon landing" on this abandoned strip mine because there was not a green plant in sight. Today it is AMAZING!

 This is what a "dry" trail looks like in LaSalle County during May 2019.
 The turnaround point is atop the eighteen-inch bituminous coal seam that was mined here. Most of this coal was transported to Ottawa where it was gasified to feed the city's gas lights. 

This is just one of the remaining piles of trees that were downed in the Park during the February 29, 2017 tornado.
Ron, one of the Club's founders, is now in a 12,000 step program.

Here is some walking wisdom from Henry David Thoreau;

"Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move,
my thoughts begin to flow."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Nearly fifty SR Walkers drove to the Hennepin Canyon Parking lot and walked the surprisingly muddy East Bluff Trail to Owl Canyon and back. We beat the rain! 
Get up! Go Outside!

 The small army of Walkers leaving the parking lot.
 Mayapples are blooming under the plant's umbrellas and below your knees.
 Prairie trillium are finishing and blue phlox is peaking.
 Doll's eyes are beginning to blossom. 
 The trails will soon be completely shaded by the emerging leaf canopy.
 Pussy toes, nearly the smallest Spring wildflower, is setting seeds.
 A walking pause for talking at the Hennepin Canyon overlook.
 Wild geraniums are blooming everywhere along the trail.
 Summer is starting to peek out from under the Rt. 71 bridge over upper Hennepin Canyon.
 Sure hope this spider is vegan since all this web on the Hennepin Canyon trail bridge has captured is flower petals!
 Hidden Canyon is rapidly disappearing behind its leaf cover.
 Shiny new poison ivy is appearing on knee to chest high wooden stems.
 Leaves of three, let it be!
 SR Walkers crossing upper Owl Creek.
 Watching Owl Creek disappear into Owl Canyon.
 Yellow star grass along the East Bluff Trail.
 The largest blue phlox bouquet seen trailside today.
 We discovered a field of wood betony (louse wort) above the east wall of Hennepin Canyon.
As our walk finished, this first year jack in the pulpit in Marseilles was being hit by hail stones.

Let's end with this quote from Thomas Jefferson

"Of all exercises walking is the best."

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Forty-odd SR Walkers (Some of us are!) hiked out to the Sandstone Point staircase and back on a mostly dry 60-odd degree day.

 We had one dog with us.
 Yes, there is going to be a sun hole in the canopy at this spot on the Campanula boardwalk.
 Jack in the pulpits are peaking along the boardwalk.
 Purple phlox is popping everywhere.
 SR Walkers descending onto the Wildcat Canyon rim boardwalk.
 An east rim view of the canyon floor shows that the Illinois River has left the canyon to Wildcat Creek. There might also be some "ant" tracks in the silt the river left behind. 
 Raindrop impressions and worm trails (protrails?) on the East Bluff trail means that we are the first walkers here today.
 That "hole" in the SR dam is actually the only closed gate. the other nine are mostly out of the water!
 Sandstone Point is the best place along the Bluff Trail to stand on the Park's bedrock.
 A freshly showered bird'sfoot violet on Sandstone Point.  The leaf shape gives this plant its name.
 The trailside burl that we have named "Milton".
 Crossing Lone Tree Creek on the River Trail back towards the Lodge.
 Look! There is a bird's nest in the "snake tree". Look closer!
 SR Walkers probably talk more than we walk.
 A view across Wildacat Creek to the canyon's headwall.
 Wildcat Creek has somehow separated the "hiking boots" from the "rubber boots".
 The channel marker buoy that arrived at the mouth of Wildcat Creek with last year's floods has moved 100-yards further up the creek this year.
 There is more than one reason to call it a River Trail!
The ball blossoms of the sarsaparilla are appearing uder the plant's leaf stem.
The Mayapple blossoms are also beginning to pop under this plant's umbrellas.
 My personal patch of shooting stars just above French Canyon.
French Creek is particularly frothy... it disappears down the falls into lower French Canyon.
If this is the only downside of having a flowering crabtree then I'll take it!

I will leave you with a quote from W.J. Holland:
 "Happy is the person who has acquired the love of walking for its own sake."