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Friday, August 12, 2016

Vermillion River Area- Matthiessen State Park 08-11-2016

Today the Walker's Club finally got to hike in the Vermillion River area at Matthiessen State Park.  It has been closed for quite some time because of erosion issues.  This park is a multi use park that encompasses, cross country ski trails, horse trails, mountain biking trails and hiking trails.   There was a smaller group that decided to hike in Starved Rock State Park, so Joe took a small group and hiked to Wildcat Canyon, Lover's Leap and Eagle's Cliff.  We all arrived back at the Lodge at the same time.
Check out Karl's hat...... that is not a tassel.  That is a butterfly!!!

Today we had about 35 hikers. 

This must have taken the trail crew a long time to clear the path.  What tales this tree could tell. 

Little stream right off the path.  Grandkids had fun looking for frogs.

Most of the hike today, thankfully was shaded.

Don't know the fungus names, but found a couple today.

This is what is left of the Jack in the Pulpit.  The green seed pod is is the center near the bottom.

Just starting blooming.  Very large and is everywhere.  Not sure of the name.

We took another break by the "Burl"  Not as large as the ones at Starved Rock, but still impressive.

We went on horse trails for a while.  There were heavily used.  We had to pay attention where we were stepping.

This is a sample section of the trail where they fixed it so it is now usable for all.
Couldn't resist taking this colorful group photo.
These yellow flowers are still everywhere.  They brighten up the place.

Good thing we were hikers, we are allowed everywhere.

Breaks are encouraged, however, be careful where you sit.  This nice resting spot is climbing with poison ivy.

Thank you! IERPB!  Nice job!

Trail courtesy!  We didn't see any bikes or horses.  All was good.
Little colorful mushrooms peeking out.  

I will leave you with this: There is no wi-fi in the forest, but you will find a better connection.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo and Aurora Canyons 07-07-2016

Today is the first week in a about 3 weeks that I went hiking with the Walker's Club.  The day was overcast and very humid.  There was a mix up with the schedule, so 1/2 of the group went to Starved Rock, French Canyon, Beehive Overlook, Lover's Leap and Eagle's Cliff.  My group went to Aurora Canyon and then through the picnic area.  Over the entrance road and into St. Louis Canyon.  Coming back on the West Bluff trail over Kickapoo, Sac and Aurora Canyons. 

Chainsaw Woodcarving at the Lodge.  Illinois Symbols
Bridge over the entrance road.  Trail leads to St. Louis Canyon

We all went into Aurora Canyon before venturing onto St. Louis Canyon

Looking Good!  Aurora Canyon.  Video to follow...


Wild Hydrangea are everywhere in the park.  All white.

Maidenhair Fern
Walking through the picnic area.  Isn't that a great looking group of hikers?

One of the youngest hikers today.  If he's visiting Grandma and Grandpa and they are going hiking, then so are they.  Yippee!!

Crossing the main entrance road and onto St. Louis Canyon

Found this flower on the way down the steps from the road. 

Steps on the other side of the road, heading into St. Louis Canyon
All make the walk down seem effortless
Black raspberries for a lucky few.

St. Louis Canyon is a wonderful as I had anticipated.

East side of the Canyon

Ron, Carol, Adam and Jack.  All enjoying the breeze from the waterfall.  Or maybe it is the company they keep.

The pool beneath the waterfall in St. Louis Canyon.

One more St. Louis Waterfall picture

Walking back on the bluff trail

Purple Campanula flower. 

Stairway by the "Orange Rock" on the way back to the Lodge (last big stairway)

Another Wild Hydrangea

Nice "Apple"  This was from the Mayapple flower.

Sac Canyon

Aurora Canyon looking to the South

Almost back to the Lodge, just cross over the bridge and you are there.
I will leave you with this: Don't let your past dictate who you are, but let it be a lesson that strengthens the person you will become.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Council Overhang, Ottawa, Kaskaskia and Illinois Canyons

My cousin Debbie came to hike with us today.  She came all the way from New York.  It was great hiking with her.  I ran into her and her husband last year and I told her the next time she was back home she needed to join the walker's club for a hike.  Thanks Debbie!

Today's hike we all drove to Council Overhang parking lot and walked in to Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons.  Then many of us drove to the next canyon to the East and walked into Illinois Canyon.  Over Memorial Day weekend there was an influx of graffiti in Council Overhang.  A week or so later River Forest-based Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio Inc, used a laser to remove most of the graffiti.  We rearranged our hiking schedule to view the sandstone free of graffiti.

Almost to Council Overhang, just around the corner from the "boot"

We had around 45 hikers today.  We were just taking a short break, letting them all catch up.

Going up to Council Overhang

Look no more grafitti, (for now)

I have always loved this shot.  Looking out from Council Overhang

My cousin Debbie came to hike with us today.  She came all the way from New York.  It was great hiking with her.  I ran into her and her husband last year and I told her the next time she was back home she needed to join the walker's club for a hike.  Thanks Debbie!

Regina's family joined us today.  Photo in Kaskaskia canyon. The kids loved all the mud, they had a great time.

Rock formation coming out of Kaskaskia Canyon

Ottawa Canyon

Ottawa Canyon

Ottawa Canyon

Junction of Ottawa and Kaskaskia Canyons

Lots of mud on the trails today, especially going into to Kaskaskia and Illinois Canyons

Mulberry tree in Illinois Canyon parking lot

Chicory lines the highways.  Found this in the parking lot in Illinois Canyon

Blue Damselfly

Check out the base of this Jack in the Pulpit.  There is a green seedpod.  Later in the summer this will turn bright red.

The first stream in Illinois Canyon was too much for most of us.  No crossing. 

We have some new flashing signs at both main entrances to the park.  Hopefully this will help with some of the climbing, swimming, littering, going on the trail late at night and going off the trails.

I will leave you with this: Never be afraid to try something new.  Remember amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic.