Thursday, August 29, 2019

Forty Starved Rock Walkers eased into this beautiful August day by hiking the East Bluff Trail out to the Sandstone Point staircase and back along the River Trail. A pleasant ~4 miles!
 SR Walkers leaving the Lodge headed for the trailhead.
 The club's self appointed "tail" never leaves anyone behind.
 The East Bluff Trail has been shaded by the "green tunnel" since June.
 Yellow false foxgloves on Sandstone Point.
 It is not difficult to get a good river pic from atop Sandstone Point.
 The trail is curving around the headwall of Lone Tree Canyon.
 It is somehow fitting that this is the lone remaining canyon sign on the East Bluff Trail.
 The trail mud is long gone!
 Down is the preferred direction on the Sandstone Point staircase!
 The Eagle 1 tour boat has been walking the dinner cruise passengers into Lone Tree Canyon for a brief visit.
 Unfortunately, the "ice box" in witch's kitchen is starting to collect artwork. :(
Jewel weed blossoms along the River Trail. 
 Break time on the floor of Wildcat Canyon.
 The Wildcat Canyon waterfall has achieved complete invisibility.
 A line of cormorant "fenceposts" on a log snag below the SR dam.
The calm before the Labor Day weekend on the Eagle Cliff boardwalk.

Today we learned what Henry David Thoreau once said,

"A morning walk is a blessing for the whole day."

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Forty-odd 😉 Starved Rock Walkers drove to the River Area of Matthiessen State Park for a humid, bug spray scented, walk in the Park. The bug spray was not needed but the water bottles were much appreciated.

 Gearing up in the parking lot. 
 There is a short walk across the prairie...
 … before the trail narrows and dives into the "green tunnel" woods.
 Most trails in this Park are multiple use; hikers, mountain bikers, and horses. We didn't see any of the other users today.
 With the trail mud all dried we didn't expect to see any waterfalls but we found one on this 1-foot tall step down!
 We didn't expect any fish either, but that bottom shadow in the center is not under a tadpole!
 We kept walking on an off an old mine tailing. Walk around the block if you want level trails.
 Limestone was quarried here over 100-years ago.
 Few walkers under age 40 need a walking stick. Many hikers over age 50 appreciate the stability of becoming a tripod. 
 This UFO suspended in the understory is the work of a busy orb weaver.
 The bottom of the Vermilion River Valley marked the halfway point. That means it is all uphill from here!
 The LaSalle Limestone bedrock sensed a sudden overshadowing!
 Like everyone else, even the photographer survived the climb out of the river valley.
It is always a relief to break out of the woods close to the same place we started!

Here is a good quote from Paul Scott Mowrer concerning "Multiple use" trails:

"There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

45 SR Walkers enjoyed the first day of the last full month of summer by walking the East Bluff Trail from the Hennepin parking lot out to Owl Canyon and back. A perfect August morning for a walk in the Park!

Here is a close look at Chicory, all those blue roadside weed dots you are currently speeding past.  Stop, look, and enjoy their celebration of summer!

SR Walkers gathering at the Hennepin parking lot.

Crossing Rt. 71 and plunging into the green tunnel.

 True Queen Anne's Lace always has that one centered purple blossom.

 When seed production is complete the Lace begins to close...

...into a nice basket!

 Purple Sweet Clover is just beginning to celebrate August.

 It is nice when the trail reminds you it is indeed a glorious morning!

 This is exactly what you want to see on a Milkweed!

 Since all Park trails are now under the green tunnel no sunscreen is needed. Oddly enough, no insect repellent was needed either!

 These Walkers pause on the south rim...

 … to look for the headwall down there in Hidden Canyon.
This is why we say the East Bluff Trail is only MOSTLY level!

 Walkers on a mud-free trail descent across a dry Owl Creek.

 It is the pileated woodpecker that leaves these oval shaped tree borings.
 A trail view of the Rt. 71 bridge across upper Hennepin Canyon.

 A trail section along the east rim of Hennepin Canyon.

 A trail bridge view up a rapidly drying Hennepin Creek.

A perfect day for this quote from Jamie Luner,

"Hiking is the best workout!...You can hike for two hours and not even realize you are working out."