Here comes the sun!

Hallelujah! We woke up to a sunny day! AND warm temperatures. SCORE! We took advantage of the first nice day in weeks and went for a hike in nearby Starved Rock State Park. You can read about my past experiences at this park here.

I packed up our backpack with snacks and bottles of water, grabbed my camera bag, and off we went. We first stopped at the Visitor's Center to see which trails had waterfalls at this time of year. Fortunately just about all the trails led to waterfalls. We opted to drive to the farthest ones, then walk the trails to the falls.

I am an amateur photographer. I am learning all the time. I make mistakes, and try to learn from my mistakes. Today I made a whopping mistake. I should have known better. I grabbed my camera without checking it before I left home. The battery was sitting at home in the charger. I only have one. Thus I had a dead camera. Which, in turn, led to a pissed off photographer. I trudged back to the truck and put my camera away. I could have kicked myself! I would just have to make do with my cell phone camera. The pictures aren't that great, so please excuse, but they got the job done.

This is the beginning of the path.

Looks nice and smooth, yes?

But don't be fooled by that, silly child. There were obstacles like tree roots

or rocks, or even tree TRUNKS across the path.

Jim usually leads the way. I think it makes him feel "manly" forging the path and all. Plus I think he likes being Ranger Rick.

Truthfully, I watch his footwork, 'cause I am a klutz. I think I might have talked about that before, but anyway, I am EXTREMELY clumsy. I know FOR SURE that I was NOT a sure-footed mountain goat in my past life!

There are a few little creeks that we had to cross. Now I can't even walk straight on solid ground, let alone trying to balance on a fallen log across water.

Jim dances across the fallen logs like a ballerina across the stage

as I stand baffled on the other side of the creek.

He tells me exactly where to place my feet on the log so I don't fall.

"No, no," He chastises me. "This isn't a tightrope! Put your foot on a slant."


I had a few near misses and just pictured myself falling in the stream and getting wet or covered with mud. But I survived.

This is called Council Overhang, the first area we hiked to.

Jim hiking down the path, leaving Council Overhang and going on to the next site.

Not too far down the path I spied this tree across the stream. Holy Moley! Look how high off the ground that is! I'm going to have to cross this? What is this? Survivor?

Jim reassured me that we didn't have to cross it, but demonstrated how easy it would have been by holding his walking stick out in front of him to "balance" him. Very funny.

We met this cute little fella at the next stop. His name is Buddy. He's a Rottweiler/Lab/Doberman mix. Weighs in at 120 pounds! His owner, a young woman, said he might even have some Malamute in him. He was quite tame - didn't bark or lunge at us.

Some of mother nature's works of art:

Mushrooms on a log

A huge (over 10 feet) moss-covered rock!

A dead, rotted tree artfully broken in pieces

I found another heart shaped rock. I was going to add it to my collection, but then I noticed this rock had a small hole in it. (I circled the hole.) I decided to give it to my sister, Pam, who just put her dog down. She is heartbroken. It's like a piece of her heart is missing.

One of the most phenomenal things I saw today was this maple leaf seed stuck THROUGH a leaf of a plant. That must have been some strong wind!

Top view

Side view

Weird or what?

This is Ottawa Canyon . We could hear the falls from around the bend. I circled Jim standing near the falls.

Our last stop was Kaskaskia Canyon.

I took this video with my cell phone, so again, the quality isn't that great. But you'll get the idea how loud the water was rushing out of the rock and hitting the water below. As soon as we entered the canyon, the temperature dropped at LEAST 10 degrees if not more. It would be a welcome relief on a really hot day!

We stopped for refreshments at the local ice cream shoppe in town. They had this cute wooden sculpture of ice cream cones in front of their store.

All in all, it was a good day.
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