Illinois is one long, long, state. It takes forever to get from bottom to top. I moved up to Starved Rock State Park which is about 90 miles southwest of Chicago. It is the most visited state park in Illinois (probably because of it's closeness to Chicago), but it is one of the most scenic. It is impossible to get into this park on the weekends unless you make reservations. I am here for four nights – Monday through Thursday nights and currently there is only one other camper here in my area. I will be leaving before the weekend rush.
This park is located on the Illinois River. I've been amazed at how wide the rivers are down here. The Tennessee, the Ohio, the Illinois are all monster rivers. They put my Mississippi to shame. Of course, I'm used to the Mississippi up close to it's source, the river has hardly had a chance to get going and grow into the monster river that I know it will become.
I use my phone to access the web and for the last few days I have not had any internet access. I can make phone calls and occasionally text. I am sort of ashamed to realize how dependent I have become on being plugged in. I could not navigate, I could not figure out where to stay, I could not look up the answers to all the silly questions that pop into my head. I was hurting. I finally found a place where I could use their WiFi and looked up a Verizon store. There was one in Peru, about 15 minutes away. I get to Peru and since I don't have any navigation, I'm wandering up and down the street that I know it is on. Finally, I stop for directions. At a Sprint store. They were so happy to see me walk in, but boy, did their faces fall when I asked them for directions to Verizon. I got my phone fixed and I am now connected to the world again. What a relief.
Miko and I hiked into St. Louis Canyon. It is cloudy but everything is very green. There is a nice little waterfall at the end of the canyon.
|Miko checking out the waterfall in St. Louis Canyon|
The next day, the winds came up and the clouds got more threatening. I waited around to see what the weather was going to do and it seemed like nothing was going to change so we headed out to hike LaSalle and Tonty Canyons. The trail goes into the woods, down 140 steps (I counted them) and then winds along the Illinois river. We get down to the river and the skies open up. I'm trying to decide if I should go on or not, but I have a raincoat, I'm not going to melt – I'm going for it. Miko, on the other hand, is not too happy with the decision. I have never seen a dog who hates to get rain wet as much as Miko. But she soldiers on.
The problem with the rain is that it makes the ground muddy (and slippery) and if you have to clamber over rocks, they are slippery also. I am so happy that I had my Walmart walking stick with me. It would have been perilous is I hadn't had it.
LaSalle Canyon's waterfall was special as you could actually walk under it. I don't think I have ever done that before.
|Approaching from the left|
|And we are under the waterfall|
|And from the other side|
|And we are leaving|
I continued on to Tonty Canyon. There were supposed to be some waterfalls down at the end, but it had rained so much that the mud was becoming deep and threatened to suck you down. I had visions of becoming mired waist deep in the mud and never getting out alive. As great as Miko is, she is no Lassie and I don't think she could have pulled me out or gone for help. So I turned back before I got to the end of the canyon. As they say – oh well, next time.
|Tonty Canyon - there is a waterfall someplace down there|