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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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

St. Louis and Aurora Canyon June 9, 2016

St. Louis Canyon Waterfall
Rain was predicted.  We were really hoping the weatherman was wrong today.  Not the case.  About half way through we felt some sprinkles...... then there was the rain.  No lightening or thunder, so I guess it could have been worse.  We left the lobby with 27 walkers heading to St. Louis Canyon via the West Bluff Trail.  The plan was to drop down into Aurora on the way back, however most of the walker's had had enough.  Ron, Kay and myself had the honors.

Aurora Canyon from the top

Sac Canyon

On our way to St. Louis Canyon. 


Goat's beard

On the west wall in St. Louis Canyon

St. Louis Canyon Waterfall

East Wall in St. Louis Canyon

Aurora Canyon.  The rain wasn't strong enough to generate much of a waterfall

Plantain.  Good for insect and snake bites

Kay and Ron were good sports going with me into Aurora Canyon
I will leave you with this: Life is like riding a bicycle, in order to keep your balance, you need to keep moving! (regardless is its raining).

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.