as i said, we didn’t intend to hike much on thursday because we were a little beat from wednesday.

we drove over to the parking lot for st. louis canyon, so we didn’t have to hike over there. it looked like the canyon was right off the parking lot.  but when we got to the road to the parking lot, it was closed, so we had to walk to get to the parking lot.  we found out why as we walked – the road was filled with crazy giant potholes.

it wasn’t a bad walk, though, and it was a beautiful morning.

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this must not be such a popular place, because we saw almost no litter.  plus there was only one other couple with a nice dog.


we didn’t have to climb over too many streams, either.


so it was almost a mile and a half round trip, a nice little hike.  we stopped at the visitors’ center on the way back to the lodge, and kevin bought me a great book about day hikes in illinois.  hopefully we’ll take one of them very soon, maybe even this week.

we went back to the lodge to check out, and here are the tiny housefinches in a big cage in the lobby.  they’re the only birds that only live domestically, never in the wild, says kevin.  he also said they might originate from china.  i literally just got up this morning, so i don’t even have the energy to look it up.  so let’s just go with his story.




i hadn’t looked up and noticed these big sleds until we were about to leave.


we were going back to the salt cave in ottowa, and i suggested that we stop and look at another canyon which was right on the way.

we met a couple with this bernese mountain dog as we walked toward Ottowa Canyon, one of the furthest from the lodge.  this dog was so small compared to jill’s giant puppies – she said that females don’t get so giant.

this was a rescue bernese!  a very good dog, but the couple said she had some anxiety being out in the wild.


this was called Council Overhang, and kevin surmised that indians must have gathered here under the shelter.  as we walked by, an old guy dressed in old timey attire was sitting on a rock.  he carried some kind of old gun – a musket?  a carbine?  a smootbore? and the gentleman said they were shooting a movie.  a young guy with lots of camera equipment was scurrying around nearby.


we finally made it to the waterfall after lots of scrambling around.


there were two waterfalls near each other, but somehow we missed the path for the adjoining one, and by the time we realized it, we didn’t want to go back and find it.  we walked on a very very muddy path to reach illinois canyon, which somebody at the visitor’s center was filled with bluebells.

she was right.


we kept debating about continuing on the path, because we’d been hiking more than we thought we would, but we just kept walking.  it was very remote and pretty here.




but there were more little streams to cross than there had been in all our other hiking.  at one point, kevin even lost his balance a little and his foot went right down into the water.  that’s very tricky walking.


we saw these pretty little flowers and didn’t know what they were, and then, when i went mushroom-hunting this past friday with jill, we saw more of them.  on saturday, amy and i went to an awesome illinois native plant sale at the fairgrounds, and a woman had one that was yellow.  it’s called a trillium!  i was happy to find out the name, and i hope to get some sometime.


after about an hour and a half of hiking, we finally made our muddy back to the car.

we headed over to the fantastic Salt Tree Yoga, because we wanted to go in the Salt Cave.  we were so happy to settle into anti-gravity chairs in the cave, and had a very enjoyable, peaceful 45 minutes of listening to soothing music, enjoying the total relaxation.

this is a very long description here, but the place was just so cool…

Remove yourself from environmental pollution, technology, and the constant commotion of everyday life. Walk through our Tree door into a Himalayan salt-filled oasis. Relax in the centuries-old European tradition of dry salt therapy. Absorb the healing benefits of the 84 minerals contained in the 5 tons of pink Himalayan salt on the floor and walls of our salt cave, which help purify and balance your body. Breathe in the cleansing and anti-inflammatory effects of pure, dry therapeutic-grade salt produced from our salt generator. Halotherapy, or dry salt therapy, is a natural way to cleanse and detoxify your skin and lungs. It works well as a complimentary treatment with traditional medicine or as an alternative treatment under the guidance of your physician. Always consult with your physician(s) before discontinuing any medications or prescribed treatments. We are not medical doctors; we are simply making it possible for you to experience another option that has proven to help people in Europe for many years.

Our salt cave features a Halomed halo (salt) generator which infuses microfine particles of pharmaceutical grade salt into the air, which is breathed deep into the lung cavities to absorb pollen and allergens and enhances the respiratory system’s natural cleansing process. It breaks down mucus in the nasal passages and airways and decreases bacteria and inflammation. 

Dry salt therapy can benefit people with respiratory issues such as allergies, asthma, sinusitis, smoker’s cough, stress & fatigue.  It can expand the airways for increased oxygen flow and capacity to enhance athletic performance and endurance, and enable better recovery time from physical activity and stress.  The salt from the generator settles on the skin and is good for skin conditions such as: psoriasis, eczema, swelling & inflammation, dry & flaky skin, acne, rashes, poison ivy, and rosacea. As is true in many alternative therapies to boost and regain health, everyone responds differently. Dry salt therapy works best if experienced on a regular basis, just like a fitness regimen only helps if we keep it up. In most cases, several weeks of 2-4 sessions a week can alleviate the worst of symptoms, followed by maintenance visits of once every week or two, depending on your symptoms. Allergies are different for everyone, and seasons change for each individual. Most of all, a session in our salt cave helps the body relax, return to the parasympathetic (resting) state, re-balancing the nervous system and increasing overall sense of wellbeing.

I know, it sounds too good to be true, but i must say that if we leaved nearby, i’d go there regularly.  when we walked int the salt cave we were tired and sore, but when we emerged, we realized that we were both totally mellow and happy and didn’t ache anymore at all.  fantastic.  go there. plus it’s only 25 bucks for a session!  a steal.

we bought a bunch of great stuff in the shop, including  a salt lamp and other nice things, and then went back to didoughs pretzels for another great sandwich.

a lovely trip altogether.

so, kevin has finally started WRITING ON HIS BLOG AGAIN, and in the post he just wrote, he included these posts of mine about our trip, and said that we’re planning another trip to the park, but i reminded him that we’re not planning it, it is already planned!  there’s another workshop in september, i booked us a room at the lodge, and i look forward to the whole thing again.  i noticed that he’s already changed his posting to reflect the fact that we’re going to be on our way before we know it.

of course, there’s still a great summer ahead of us, filled with much excitement and spreading of mulch.  plus i bought a ridiculous amount of native illinois plants which we’ll have to figure out where to plant.  plus new and undiscovered hiking spots.  plus camping!  not to mention the illinois state fair, which i missed last year since we were gone for the month of august.

and oh yeah, i have have have to continue posting my photos from out trip to wales, before another year has passed.

right now i have to get ready for work.

too much to do, too little time.

ok then,

mrs. monday morning hughes.