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Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 16, 2017, St. Louis, Aurora, Sac and Kickapoo Canyons

What a great weather day.  There were about 38 hikers today that started out in the Lodge's Lobby.  We first went to Aurora Canyon, then through the picnic area.  We scared up a mature bald eagle here. Went on the old road trail over the entrance road and into St. Louis Canyon.  When we got back to the Lodge about 16 of us when to the main dining room for lunch, coffee, hot chocolate or tea.

Ice is almost gone- Aurora Canyon

Couldn't help but post this photo today.  Stopped on the side of the rode on my way into work this morning.  Eagles eat more than fish.  This deer has been feeding the eagles all week. A few daring crows wait their turn.

Hikers waiting at the trailhead for the end of the group to catch up. 38 hikers in all. At least I think there was 38 or so....

Today we went into Aurora Canyon first.  We usually save it until the end and then people opt out.  What a great Canyon, shouldn't be missed!!!

Ice in Aurora Canyon.  Later in the hike we will be walking on the upper trail, looking down into the canyon.

Aurora Canyon

As far as people space in the canyon, Aurora is the smallest. We had to take turns.

And here's the rest.

The parade is in town!!!

When we went across the bridge to the old road (trail) this sign alerts us that weapons, vehicles, pets, horses and camping are prohibited.

There was some beaver activity east, right off the old road (trail).

The hill stairs climbing up and over the entrance road is usually sketchy.  No mud here today.  It was still frozen.

Coming over the entrance road and into St. Louis Canyon

We eventually went down these steps, but first.....

A lady from North Chicago was telling us that in this pod is about 200-400 praying mantis eggs.  They will hatch out in the Spring.


This stage occurs just before winter. The adult female praying mantis lays 100 to 400 eggs after fertilization. The eggs are laid safely on a firm leaf or stem with a liquid that hardens to be a protective sac structure known as ootheca. The ootheca is a protective casing (very hard and able to survive extreme weather changes) in which the eggs will stay throughout the winter. In mid-spring when the temperatures are warm, the nymphs will hatch when the egg cases crack.

Entering into St. Louis Canyon

We typically had to cross the creek when going in.  No big deal.  Everything was still frozen, or had a boards.

St Louis Canyon icefall / waterfall from the sand pile.

I have no idea how this ice is still up there.  Video to follow of canyon.


Last years leaves for the Hepatic wildflower.  The little white/lavender flower will be one of the first wildflowers in the spring.  After the flowers die out, the new green leaves will follow.  We will see green leaves all summer. 

Taking a break on the West Bluff natural seats.

Peggy and Jack are getting carried away with Peggy's new garbage picker upperer.

How many feet is this boardwalk?

Kickapoo Canyon.  Kind of a blink and you miss it kind of a canyon

Top of Sac Canyon

Top of Aurora Canyon

Can you name all 8 of the Illinois Official symbols?, bird, tree, reptile, flower, insect, prairie grass,  animal and fish. If not the photo below has the answers.

This carving is at the West end of the Lodge property.
I will leave you with this: The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rt. 71 Nature Preserve Feb. 14, 2016

My friends Lori and Peggy and I decided to check out the Nature Preserve one more time before Spring.  We were a little worried about the ice falls being gone.  It is a big area with no trails.  It also has many hills that weave in every direction.  Upon entering we thought we would try a different parking lot today.  We parked near the old horse stables and walked in.  It was pretty windy when we were not in the trees.  Thankfully we were in the trees or canyons most of the hike.  It had snowed early in the morning so the ground was covered. It also started snowing again about half way through our hike.

East side of Twin Falls

Icicles underneath the East Twin Falls

Icicles forming from the bottom

From behind the East Twin Falls

West Twin Falls.  I don't think this one is as picturesque as the East side.  It doesn't help that there are trees on the waterfall area. 

Sandstone wall on the way up into Joliet Canyon (Upper end of the West side)

We all brought our Katoohlas this time.  Still had to walk on the snow covered ice to get in and up into the canyon.  There was no other way in.  Straight up the center. Nothing but ice.

Katoohlas.  These go over your boots with small spikes on the bottom.

Lori went first

This was the pay off.  Just beautiful!  We did have to sit down and slide down in a few of the areas.  What fun!

  We came down from Joliet canyon and went up the West side to Marquette Canyon.  When we arrived there were some cool ice formations and the major icefall.

Marquette Canyon

Marquette Canyon

You couldn't really go behind the waterfall her, but it sure was nice seeing whole icicles in the canyons.

This is as far as you can go behind the icefall.  It was like being in a phone booth

Snowy way back
What a wonderful Oak tree.  Lori is a tree hugger! 

On the way back to the car I saw this mini canyon on the way.  Similar to Pontiac Canyon

Canyon on the way back to the car.  Don't know the name.

I will leave you with this: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Isle Royale August 2016

This year we left town on August 23rd and returned home on Sept. 2nd with a hotel stay at the beginning and the end to cut down on the long driving time.  There was 9 people all together.  We had basically 2 different hiking itineraries.  Once we arrived on the island, we divided.  My group consisted of 5pp. Ron, Cindy, Barb, Lori and myself.  Enjoy the trip!

Lori, Kevin,Terry, Joe, Gary, Cindy Ron and Barb

This year we took the Voyager over to the island.  About 2 hours.  This is the captain, giving us instructions.

Gary, Ron and Lori enjoying the breeze on the way over.

Barb, Cindy, Ron, Lori and Kevin enjoying each others company.

Finally there.  Windigo dock. in the Washington Harbor

We all have to file our hiking itineraries.  This took quite a while.

First stop is Island Mine - 5.8 miles

Found this little caterpillar on the trail.  I wonder what it will be.

Lots of colorful berries

Some type of tree fungus

We were too late for the Jack in the Pulpit flower.  Look at the base, the seed pod is bright green.
First campsite. Lori, Barb, Cindy and mine.

My tent space

Island Mine campground Day 1 -We stayed at group #2

Part of the trail on day 2 on the way to South Desor Campground

Lori and I on the highest point on the Island. Mount Desor 1394 feet

I met this Grandmother (Linda) and Grandson (Jason) today.  We talked for quite a while.  They have been hiking on the Island for about 6 years, among other places.  A few years ago.... I met a grandmother and grandson on the island at the Daisy Farm campground.  I talked for a while with them back then and Linda told me that Jason was responsible for filtering all the water while they were there.  I can remember that Jason was chasing grasshoppers and butterflies. I truly believe it was these two. She was an inspiration for me back then, and she still is. 

South Lake Desor Campground - Day 2, we stayed at Group #1

I had a great dinner. Salami and cheese bagel with a little mustard.  Bottle of water on the side.

My tent

View of Lake Desor from our campsite

Sunset at South Desor

Sunset from South Desor

Sunset from South Desor

Some fungus along the trail day 3

First stop today Ishpeming Point

I can't say enough how much I enjoy the views on the ridges.  Cindy looks like she enjoys them also.

Love those trees!

Almost there - Hatchet Lake Campground - view from the trail

Hatchet Lake Campground day 3, we stayed at group 3

Ron and Cindy left us a sign to let us know what site to go to. #3
Looks like Barb is enjoying the camp furniture.  My tent pad had a chair on it, so I moved it to Barb's space before she arrived.

My tent set up at Hatchet Lake campground

Every night, Ron was the storyteller. 

Looking up to the sky from my tent

Sunrise from Hatchet Lake

All the campgrounds have privies.  Some campgrounds have more than 1.

Leaving in the morning, I saw this pair of moose antlers.  They were very heavy!

Lori tried one on - too heavy

We saw Mergansers and an occasional Loon
Indian Pipe - I just love finding these.

There seemed to be lots of fungus on the island this year.
The foliage is so unique here on the island

Solomon's Seal berries

Thimble berries were plentiful this year.

View on the way to Todd Harbor

Todd Harbor Campground Day 4 & 5, Group #1

View from Todd Harbor

Some berries on the trail

Cindy and I went out for lunch at the Haytown Mine and Watefall.  We brought our lunches

What's left of the Haytown Mine shaft

A section of the waterfall - only waterfall on the island

End of the waterfall going into Lake Superior

Sitting at the waterfall looking out at the Lake.  Look closely in the distance..... check out the orange spot.  That is Lori, checking out the scenery.

One of 2 harmless snakes at Todd Harbor

Snake #2

The "Penthouse"  My tent is on the hill

This little Snowshoe Hare made many appearances while we were here.  We often left thimble berries on the rock.  Look, there is one on the rock now.

Found this fishing lure on the sitting rocks at Todd Harbor

View from Todd Harbor looking West

View from Todd Harbor

Found this pair of antlers on a day hike with Cindy and Ron

View of Otter Lake

They aren't my favorite.  They really freak me out.  Frogs

Another Snowshoe hare

Sunset at Todd Harbor

Sunset at Todd Harbor

Sunset at Todd Harbor

Sunset at Todd Harbor

A stream on the way to Little Todd Campground

Made it to the Junction, now let the hike begin

This walkway is in very bad disrepair.  The Minong Trail is the most rugged trail on the island.  The trails are not well marked, and there are numerous trail hazards, such as downed trees, beaver dams, and extra long plank trails among other things. 

I think they need a bridge here.  Soon this log will be decomposed beyond use.

When you see a sign post, it means your almost there.

Little Todd Harbor Day #6, Campsite number 1

Our tents

Rock on the beach

View of the shoreline from Little Todd Harbor Campsite

Cool looking rock along the beach.  Love the swirls.

Cool rocks on the beach

We all shared this dessert.  Key Lime Coconut Cheesecake.  4 spoons, 4 sections.  excellent!!

These White birch sections are all over.  Pretty neat that the water from the lake washes out the insides.

Sunset at Little Todd Harbor

Sunset at Little Todd Harbor

Everyone was enjoying the Sunset at Little Todd Harbor

Sunrise at Little Todd Harbor

Still love the trees!!  Reminds me of Where's Waldo!

Touch me nots are blooming

Yes, this is the trail on the way to North Desor

Lori and I on the Ridge

Ferns were plentiful, all sizes

There are many types of lichen on Isle Royale

This is the closest we got to a moose.

No we didn't have to go up and over.
I was taking a break and saw this blue jay nearby

I met Christie and Phil from Metro Detroit

North Lake Desor Campground Day 7 Site # 3


View of Lake Desor from our campsite

View from Lake Desor from the shore.  These rocks were great for drying clothes.

Sunrise from North Lake Desor

Next stop Windigo

View of Canada from the Ridge

Moss covered tree

A little color on the trail

Today we crossed about 5 beaver dams.  This was the worst of the worst.  Never wish to do this again.

Lovely flowers on the ridge

Didn't see many of these - straw flowers

This was the mother of all plank boardwalks.  When we arrived at Windigo we found out this boardwalk was just finished and is 500 feet long. 

After seeing this, now I know why we saw so many beaver dams.

More little mushrooms.  Check out the color!

Doll's eyes were everywhere

Last great view on the Minong Ridge

1.8 to go...

Washington Harbor Campground Day #8, site #9

All packed up and ready to go

Ron, Me, Cindy and Lori

Tom from Evanston.  He also was an inspiration on this trip.  He was 58 when he hiked all of the Appalachian Trail. (I plan to do it when I'm 60).  He is currently 75 (I think I have this correct). I also invited him to come to Walker's Club some Thursday.  I really hopes he comes for a visit.

You can take a plane from Copper Harbor to the Island in 20 minutes one way.  Maybe next year.  We did it once, maybe its time for a flight again.

Those are some nice looking packs, not to mention the chairs.

The end is here until next year.
I will leave you with this: I've seen better days, but I've also seen worse.  I don't have everything that I want, but I do have all I need.  I woke up with some aches and pains, but I woke up.  My life may not be perfect but I'm blessed.