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Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19, 2015 - St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo and Aurora Canyon

Waterfall in Sac Canyon
 Today's hike began in the Lodge's Lobby with 37 hikers and 4 dogs.  We were scheduled to go to a Nature Preserve, however with the recent rains, we switched to St. Louis, Sac, Kickapoo and Aurora Canyons.  We left the Lodge and headed West on the Bluff trail to St. Louis Canyon. We then went out the West end and over the entrance road and down into the picnic area.  Took the trail to the BEST canyon, Aurora!  And up the nearby staircase back to the Lodge.  Great to see the sun.

The Lodge is being decorated for Christmas this week

Waterfall at the top of Aurora

Sac Canyon waterfall was so fabulous, I even took a video.


View of Unimin from the West Bluff trail

St Louis Canyon Waterfall

St. Louis Canyon.  This sand slide happened in June 2002
Sandstone photo coming out of St. Louis Canyon

A picturesque pine cone

Up and over --  Going up and over the road.....

And down we go.

This path is an old road on the West end of the park

When the trail ends there is a bridge we take to the picnic area.  The nature preserve continues to the Illinois River.

Walking through the picnic area on our way to Aurora Canyon we saw this Juvenile eagle.

On our way into Aurora Canyon

Small but great canyon, Aurora. A couple from Rock Island joined us for the tour today.

My friend Lori

View looking up out of Aurora Canyon

The Glassinator was really spinning today

The Cafe posts inspirational sayings a few times a week.  Well worth reading.
I will leave you with this: " Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.  Autograph your work with excellence".

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nov. 12, 2015 Illinois & Michigan Canal - Section of Buffalo Rock to Ottawa

Old Railroad Bridge

We changed the schedule a little bit for today's hike.  With the weather being as blustery as it was, we thought that a nice hike with the wind to our backs would be great.  The walker's drove their cars to the Illinois Michigan Canal parking lot off of Boyce Memorial Drive in Ottawa and I picked them up in the trolley and dropped them off at the Buffalo Rock I & M Canal Access.  We all walked back to the cars.  It was a nice change.  Most of us have not done this section of the Canal.  And the wind was to our back.  What is the saying..... Something about the wind at your back??? more later....
All 17 hikers and 1 dog, (Cocoa) just got dropped off from the trolley and we are heading out for a windy 3 mile hike.

3 miles to Ottawa

Only one tree across the path

.6 miles to what is left of Lock 12

This is what is left of the old railroad bridge.  They used this bridge when transporting coal when mining what is now part of Buffalo Rock State Park

Catalpa tree seed pods.  Sometimes called the Indian Bean tree or Cigar tree

Lock 12

There was actually quite a bit of beaver damage on the canal

Along the canal are these signs that tell visitors about the life on the Canal

Behind the Pampas Grass is U.S. Silica.  There really is a huge pile of sand back there that blends into the clouds.

What is left of Lock 11

Distances along the Canal

Since the trolley was still at the Buffalo Rock entrance, I had a choice of walking back (into the wind) (that wasn't happening) or catch a ride with someone going back to the Lodge.
I will leave you with this: May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.  May the sunshine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 5, 2015 Hennepin, Owl, LaSalle Canyons

Feature photo of the hike

Today was not your typical November day.  When we started out it was about 65-70 degrees with mostly sunny skies.  We had 47 hikers and a record of 6 dogs. I took all their photos....

We found this snake along the side of the trail early on the hike.

This happy Peoria couple are on their honeymoon.  We were honored that those chose to spend some time with us.






Quite the trail of hikers we have today

Taking a small break.  Next we gave the group the option of continuing further to LaSalle Canyon or turning around and going back to the car.  About 7 chose to end it here.

One of the bridges on the way to LaSalle Canyon

Woodpecker in the distance

Our Honeymooners!  Love this photo!  LaSalle Canyon

1 snake in the "Snake Tree" There were 2 total

Weird spider on the trail

Conveniently located bench.  Eagles Cliff in the background

Leaves from the Paw Paw tree

I will leave you with this: Hiking has many health benefits.  It is proven to boost creativity, an helps those suffering depression.  We all can self-help a bit by hiking, whether it be just dropping the technology at the door for a few hours, or getting some much-needed exercise, nature awaits.