Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Starved Rock Walkers Club (+1 dog) drove to the east end of the Park to see Council Overhang, Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons. Then they hiked the trail connecting two parking lots (the Swamp Trail) to go in and out of Illinois canyon. A nice late summer sojourn!

Walkers on the hardly muddy trail to Council Overhang.
 Forty-some walkers had plenty of room in the native American "man cave" named Council Overhang.
 Leaving the Overhang and entering Ottawa Canyon.
This is Jeremiah. He's a good friend of mine!
 Lobelia loves the damp parts of the Park like here along Kaskaskia Creek.
 A brief pause here at the headwall of Kaskaskia Canyon.
Exiting the mouth of Kaskaskia Canyon headed 
for Illinois Canyon.
 No, we are not reporting the broken "blarney stone" in the canyon! ;)
 A September view up Illinois Creek.
 "Touch-me-not" pods in front of a jewel weed blossom. Both parts of the same plant.
 A line of "fun guys" on a trail step-over.
 Yes, the trails are gathering a leaf carpet.
 We thought we were crossing a creek, but it might well be a summer/fall boundary.
 A forest growing on a canyon floor has to get its branches straight up into the sunlight as quickly as possible.
 A quiet pool along Illinois Creek.
 Just finished the last of six stream crossings on the canyon floor. Always best to walk this at dry times.
 In September many Park trails are bordered by yellow blossomed jewel weed hedges.
Some September vegetation reminds us who was
 on the trail first!
We found a trail-side group of "fun guys" having
 a real high time!

"Now shall I walk or shall I ride?"

"Ride," Pleasure said:

"Walk," Joy replied.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Thirty many Starved Rock Walkers and three dogs drove into Utica and walked the tow path west to Split Rock and back again.
A great day to be Outside!
Walkers gather at the trailhead near the Utica sky scrapers.
Yes, the I & M Canal State Trail is the official name
for the tow path.
 From the start it was obvious that this would be a 
fifty shades of green hike!
The railroad bridge over Peccumsagen Creek beyond which is located the Blackball Mines Nature Preserve, a bat sanctuary.
 The mouth of the old train tunnel that still goes through
 north Split Rock.
 North Split Rock is one of the best exposures of the west-dipping sandstone strata of the LaSalle Anticline. Yes, geology students statewide come to see this outcrop!
Time to play "Spot the Turtles". Here are four of them.
One Splash later and only two are left. The empty spaces are to the right of those two.
 Some walkers were already prepped for tonight's Bears/Packers game. There were no Green Bay jerseys present on this hike!
 The new rental bikes between Utica & LaSalle have brought white pea gravel fill into the more jarring tow path potholes.
 Who knew teenage boys could swear, fight, & gamble! Mule driver was one of Wild Bill's many short-term employments.
Three turtles - Four - no - Five! Thank you for playing!Always a bonus when a geologist spots some coral fossils in a kiosk paver.

This walk was all of 5 miles. 
To quote Ellen Degeneres,

"You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.
She's ninety-seven today and we don't know where 
the heck she is!"