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Thursday, September 18, 2014

St. Louis, Aurora, Sac Kickapoo Canyons 09-15-2014

The Walker's Club today drove down to the Visitor Center parking lot and started from there.  The trail from the Lodge is closed to St.Louis Canyon.  A few weeks ago a truck hit the walk bridge over the entrance road and now it is waiting for someone from IDOT to come and look at the damage.  So for now, we access that trail from the Visitor Center's parking lot.
29 hikers and 2 dogs came on the hike today
First time we have been on this trail since the storm on June 30th.  Many trees are down along the way.
First we will head into Aurora Canyon and then on to the Bluff trail to St. Louis Canyon
This plant is plentiful in the park.  This is a great plant to play with and to impress your friends.  Notice the little seed pod?  You can squeeze it and it will pop and spread seeds everywhere.  I like to show people these and then watch them jump when seed pod explodes.  The plant is called jewel weed / touch me nots.
Going into Aurora Canyon, I just love these stairs!
No water in this canyon, but Aurora is still my favorite.

We all didn't fit, so we had to take turns going in.  Only about 10-15 can fit at a time.

I just looked up and took this photo.  What a great blue sky we had today!

This isn't really a flower, It is leftover from a seed pod I think?  But I love the color.

Once we got up the stairway to the bluff, this is what we saw that was blocking the bridge over the road to the Lodge.

On our way to Sac, Kickapoo and eventually St. Louis.

Top of Sac Canyon.  There is actually a waterfall

Blue Cohosh  named after the berries that arrive at this time of the year.

 We found this little Nut Hatch.  He wasn't moving.

View from the St. Louis trail

View from the St. Louis Trail

This is an Indian Pipe, it is also called the ghost plant or corpse plant.  The only wildflower without  chlorophyll.  I haven't seen one of these in the park for a few years.

Lots of iron in the sandstone at this point

Big sitting rock on the way to St. Louis Canyon

I used my new book, I just can't figure this one out.

Trail fix on the way to St Louis Canyon

Trail fix

St Louis Canyon

Yes, we have a nice waterfall in September in St. Louis Canyon!


Muskrat in the Canyon.  He wasn't moving either.
White Snake Root

Stairway coming out of the West end, over the road and to through the picnic area.
We've arrived at the picnic area coming over the bridge.
Taking the road to our cars.  Group of hikers.......
Group of Geese.... Canadian that is!
What a great day for a hike!  Actually any day is great for a hike!

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2 hikes, Wildcat / LaSalle Canyon Sept 4th and 6th

On September 4th the Walker's Club and I hiked in the rain to Wildcat Canyon, Eagles Cliff and Lover's Leap.  On Sat. Sept. 6th I led the Take a Hike and Lunch on a beautiful afternoon to Wildcat Canyon, LaSalle Canyon, Eagles Cliff and Lover's Leap.  

 HIKE #1 Thursday September 4th

It was raining when we left, and continued raining throughout the hike.  13 hardy hikers in all.  We even had 2 guests from the Lodge join us.  Some carried umbrellas and some just wore their rain gear.
Much of the trails were mud with puddles
In addition to the umbrella I carried I also wore my rubber boots.
And we're off
We had a bad wind storm on June 30th.  Many downed trees now make great resting places

Top of Wildcat Canyon

Top of Wildcat Canyon

The overlook on the East side of Wildcat Canyon

View of Wildcat Canyon from the East Overlook

Going down 150 to connect with the River Trail

Wildcat Canyon from inside


Lots of trash in Wildcat Canyon, I forgot my trash bag today.

The water coming out of Wildcat

Blow down by Beehive Overlook
On the way to Eagles Cliff along the river trail
Going up to Eagle Cliff
Structure at the top of Eagles Cliff
Best view in the park (My opinion)  View from Eagles Cliff looking East
Lock and Dam from Eagles Cliff
Pelicans at the Dam
Flags at the top of Starved Rock

HIKE #2 Saturday September 6th 

This Guided hike (Take a Hike) had 8 guests and a friend of mine Terry Warren was at the Lodge and I asked him if he would like to join us.
Boardwalk on the way to Wildcat Canyon
Top of Wildcat Canyon
My group
Downed tree next to the trail
The birthday guy in the photo tree
Coming down a tricky part of the trail
Pelican still on the Illinois River. View from Sandstone point
Fairly new steps at Sandstone Point
Lone tree Canyon on the way to LaSalle Canyon
Burl, we call him Mr. Ives              Burl Ives- get it?
Dolls eyes  / White Baneberry
Turtle on the log - look left
Trail and bridge still closed to Tonti Canyon
Trail going into LaSalle Canyon
Cute little caterpillar on Jewel Weed or Touch me Nots
LaSalle Canyon

View from where the waterfall usually comes down in LaSalle Canyon
Seed pod on the Jewel Weed.  Slightly squeeze them and it will explode and the seeds will be spread
Seeds from a Jack in the Pulpit
Bridge on the way to LaSalle Canyon
Terry taking a break
These lovelies I found in Wildcat Canyon
Poison Ivy is still around especially peeking out of the stairways
Going up to Eagles Cliff
Illinois Waterway Visitor Center / Lock and Dam - Off to the left you can see Leopold Island
View of the Top of Starved Rock from Lover's Leap
Dam and Hydro- electric power plant.  Still plenty of Pelicans

What a great couple of days to be hiking.  Rain wasn't so bad if your dressed for the weather.  When hiking with friends its always a great day to be outside.  On Saturday I hiked with a great group of people.  I ordinarily wouldn't be hiking on a Saturday, but the two hiking guides each had prior commitments, so that left me on the trails.  When I first got the weather report I was hoping it would hold.  That morning when I saw on the weather channel that it was going to be a high of 71, I knew it was going to be a great day.  I was totally blessed to be out on in nature with great weather and a great group of people.

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.