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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kayaking Overnight with Lori 05-22/21, 2016







I love this photo

Since purchasing our new kayaks in March / April, my friend Lori and I have been wanting to get out for an overnight on the river.  Lori recently has purchased some camping supplies and has been wanting to try them out as well.  I had a few days off and the weather was on our side.  2 days / 1 night, we both were available.  Our plan was to put our boats in at the new boat launch by the Vermillion River in Oglesby and go as far as we could and pull over and camp. Get up the next morning and paddle until about 3 or 4 oclock and call Lori's husband for a pick up.

Here is a narration of our adventure.  

I loaded my boat and went to Lori's house and got her boat loaded.  Randy took us to the new boat launch in Oglesby, near Lehigh Park.  We put in the water about 1:30p.m.
It's hard to tell even with the zoom, but there is the only snake we saw.  This was in the water by the Vermillion River ramp where we put in.

Ready to launch

Lori ready to launch.  She's smiling now.

Randy taking a photo of Lori.  The Vermillion Bridge is under construction. 


Canadian Geese and the babies

Some structures on the Vermillion River

No rapids, but there were rocks up ahead

Slightly narrow passage, no problem

As you can see, it didn't take me long to get my feet outside my boat.  Rt. 71 bridge near Jonesville.

Underside of the bridge.  How many times have you seen this? Weird photo, but just saying.


Rt. 39 bridge


Old Railroad bridge.  I believe they call it the mile long bridge




351 Bridge and a barge

251 bridge.  We are now in Peru



We tried to paddle slower as to not leave a big wake.  Nobody seemed to care.

My camera doesn't take as good photos as my camera photo, so you will have to trust me on some of the faraway photos.  We saw many eagles on our adventure.  There is one here in the tree.

Along the North shore there are sites marked.  I believe this is called "The St. Bede Beach"  From what I have heard St. Bede yearly rents these spaces to raise money.  Some of these spaces are nicer than others.  They flood often and many of the items that are here are in disrepair. It was a nice break spot.


Turkey Vultures along the shore


Another Eagle


We pulled over near DePue about 6:30p.m. My tent is the green one that blends in and Lori's is the colorful one. 

Time for dinner.  We had Beef Stroganoff and Chili Mac. 

Our campsite



Lori and the fire

Love the view!!

One of many sets of prints at our campsite.  We saw a critter in the water and thought otter or beaver.  Then it was slapping the water repeatedly and loudly.  The critter did this even throughout the night.  This made us think it was a beaver.  Made sense that it was an otter but the prints I took in the morning could be a raccoon.  The prints where I saw him entering the water washed away with the wake of the river.  So I am saying it could be raccoon, beaver or river otter. 
My morning coffee is still on the menu.  I have had this same cup for the past 11 years. It is my adventure cup.  Dysart-Cofoid Funeral Home, from my friend Bobby Cofoid.


All packed up and ready to go

Lots of roots on the banks of the river

Near Hennepin

Lori getting back in after we both took a break

180 bridge, near the Hennepin boat launch.  My OLD waterway map also shows a route 26 bridge.  Found out later that is was taken down about 10 years ago.  Time for a new map.

A few ducks on the shore
This barge was full of coal along the bank of the river.

There was a damsel fly on my crocs when I went to take the photo.  So now it is just a photo of the front of my boat.

We are paddling through Senachawine Lake.  It took forever.  Love those clouds. 

The Henry Bridge.  We are a little early for our pick up.

Stopped at Jimmy John's in Spring Valley on the way home.  The Kayaks look great on top of the car.
We had a great time.  Would do it again.  Very relaxing.  We did 33 miles total.  16 the first day and 17 the second.  

I will leave you with this: Gratitude unlocks the fullness in life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hennepin, Hidden, and Owl Canyon May 19, 2016


The Illusive Green Dragon


The day was beautiful!  High 60's and sunny.  The trail was a bit muddy, but the waterfalls were fantastic.  The Spring Wildflowers were hanging on.  We drove to Hennepin Canyon parking lot off of Rt. 71.  There was 34 hikers and 2 dogs. Not much trash on the trails today.  Of course there shouldn't be any.
Map at the trailhead


Multi flora rose near the parking lot.


Prairie Trillium


Not much of a view from Hennepin Canyon Overlook


Coming off of Hennepin Canyon we saw these fisherman on the river




Wild Geranium



Hennepin Canyon looking south from the walkway bridge


Hennepin Canyon Waterfall ( I zoomed the camera)



Looking down into Hennepin Canyon (notice the bird's nest)
Zoomed in photo of the bird's nest


Doll's eye plant


A young Paw Paw tree


Everyone waiting at the top of the stairs of Owl Canyon


View of Owl Overlook (now closed) from the Illinois river


good showing of Mouse Eared Chickweed


The underside of Solomon's Seal


It's hard to see, but there is some Yarrow here.  It is the plant with feathery like leaves.


There are  still quite a few Jack in the Pulpits out there
Ferns are everywhere and every shape


Little bit of mud on the trail


Invasive Honeysuckle


After the hike, many of the hikers stop in our Cafe for a cup of coffee, soda or have lunch.  The Cafe staff changes this inspirational saying at least once a week.

After the break, Jack, Joe and I went in search  of the Illusive Green Dragon.  Yes that is the real name.  When on the search, we were approached by quite a few hikers on the trail wondering what we were looking for.  When we told them the Green Dragon, they thought we were kidding them.  After a lengthy search, Jack had the eye for it.  It wasn't the one we had seen in the past, and it wasn't perfect.  But it was a Green Dragon.


The Illusive Green Dragon.  Notice the whorled leaves with the flower (green dragon) underneath the leaves.  It is a cousin to the Jack in the Pulpit.  Best of all, check out the yellow center of the flower shooting out.



I will leave you with this:  Take time today to appreciate someone who does something you take for granted.