last wednesday, we headed out at the crack of 9:00 to start hiking.  luckily, the weather had cooled off quite a bit; it had been in the 80s on monday, but by wednesday it was much cooler.

even more luckily, we started by walking down these steps in back of the lodge instead of up.


we were headed over to the actual starved rock; kevin had run up the trail on tuesday while i was in class, and here are the horrifying signs along the way.  i’m assuming the thick vines wrapped around that tree are poison ivy?  good grief.  luckily we were safely up on the boardwalk.


plus poison ivy shrub!  and ground cover!  they had all the poison ivy variations covered.


it was a pretty gradual climb up the path to the rock.


i like it that hey went to the trouble of making such a slanty bench for people to rest on.


the view of the dam from the top of the rock.


an island with lots of white pelicans on it.


and here’s the lodge from the top of the rock.  it’s funny how it looks so deserted.  even though they had a record number of visitors last year, we only saw one other couple initially while hiking on wednesday morning.   the lodge receptionist told us that the busiest time of year was fall because of the fall colors.


Lovers Leap – at the visitor’s center i read a story about lovers leap, involving an indian maiden pining for her man who maybe was lost in battle?  so she jumped.  might be true, might not.


even though the trees were still mostly bare, there were plenty of bluebells.


things got a little dicey at this point – there was a warning that the bridge ahead was out, so we had to climb down the side of the hill instead, and do quite a bit of crossing the streams, over branches and stones.


we got to this waterfall, i think it was Tonty Canyon, and the only people there was this family of a mom, dad, and two boys.  i tried to frame them out here.  up to this point, even though we’d seen other people hiking, it wasn’t a big deal.  but the dad here was such an ass – he stood way back and kept yelling at him family to get in position for a photo.  STEP BACK!  MOVE OVER!  BLAH BLAH BLAH!  he just kept yelling, so incredibly annoying.  i tried to hurry down to the waterfall to get into the middle of his photo.


it was cool to walk behind the waterfall; the poor wife smiled and said hi to us.  i bet her husband is a horrible person to live with.  they finally headed out, as the dad kept YELLING EVERYTHING.  maybe he’s a little deaf?


behind the waterfall.  i don’t recall ever being behind a waterfall with kevin before.  pretty cool.





i love this, with the waterfall and then the little waterfall in front.  i bet it’ll all be incredible next week, if they get all the rain that we do.  but i’ve been thinking – it was kind of difficult to cross all the streams – wouldn’t it be really hard if not impossible to do it when the streams are bigger and wider?


whew.  we climbed these stairs to get to a porta potty in a parking lot.  we made it to the top and sat in the lot on a parking parking block and had some snacks for lunch.  i think we’d maybe hiked four miles; i had hoped we’d make it all the way to the final waterfall but at this point we realized that it was going to be bad enough just hiking back.


we had to walk back down the steps, and counted them as we went – 141 steps.  that’s quite a few.  not as many as the steps we climbed in ireland – i think that might have been 600 steps?  haven’t posted that part of our wales/ireland trip yet.

it didn’t take quite as long to get back, but i didn’t take any more photos, i think because i just wanted to get back.  also, we hurried right along because we encountered a large group of preteens who were loud because they were mostly boys.

we were happy to get back to the lodge and rest.  kevin napped and i hot-tubbed, which i always want to do when there’s a hot tub around, but i don’t usually do it.  we had another nice dinner there at the lodge, and decided that we wouldn’t do much hiking on thursday before heading out.

that’s kind of like how amy and i always say we’re not going to do that much gardening, but then end up working til we drop.

here’s one excuse why i haven’t written so much lately.  this is most of the six scoops of mulch that were delivered here.  i did make a dent in it, but i have a great excuse to not do any of that at all today.


all right then, i hope you have a fun, peaceful, restful and very good weekend.

mrs. outdoor hughes.