Our first day trip of the 2016 summer season. My goal this year is to expand beyond the Chicago area. In the past, we have focused on downtown Chicago for our day trips but the girls are now old enough to do a bit more so will try and see more of what the Great Lakes area has to offer. We would like to do some hiking and camping which might involve some road tripping, which is fine with me, once out of the nightmare traffic of the metropolis. So we started with an easy day trip, one I have done a few times, to get us going. Starved Rock is a state park along the Illinois River and is the site of one of the 8 or so locks that take boats from the level of Lake Michigan to the level of the Mississippi and vice versa. We focused on the well used hiking trails to the various canyons in the park. (photo descriptions coming - Emmerson and I need to go bike to get Ada from a play date - remember the days before play dates?? "Going out? Ok, see you later .... ")
Girls with the Illinois River behind them most likely teeming with Asian carp. As most people know who are in the know of this devastating ecological situation, Asian carp are destroying the ecosystem of the Mississippi basin. Introduced into the ecosystem mistakenly, with no natural predators other than humans, they are having a grand old time taking over the rivers of the heartland of the US. Last time I was here a guy was casting with a snagging lure because there were so many carp swimming about - one just snags them and then enjoys the fight as they are big critters, 10 to 30 lbs on average. And then you kill them and photo them and get money from the State for doing so - BUT you can only do this during the appropriate fishing season which is only a few months SO the swarm just replaces those lost in the off season. Pretty sound logic there by the fish and game division ... ever think of making an exception in the fishing season for the Asian carp? I am sure they have a reason for this and perhaps it makes sense? Will need to investigate - project for the upcoming school year.
Oblivious to the Asian carp dilemma. Actually, they saw the guy last year hawling out carp after carp and his explanation of the situation and I have explained the situation to them so they are most likely more aware than most critters their age.
Black and white picnic.
Emmerson tends to be a bit confrontational of rules that she thinks are over the top and irrational - especially concerning physical, out doorsy type of stuff. Here I am emphasizing the rules by making her pose with the signs.
Love this ...
girls are great at attending to each other - here Emmerson getting Ada's pony in order.
They only had a rather vague idea of why the park is called Starved Rock so I took advantage of this a few times. Here was a rock I convinced them was why it was called starved rock.
Up on the "rock" that gave the name to the park.
Good view of the river, dam and locks.
Scout Emmerson identifying some deer tracks in a stream bed.
One of the main canyons for what this park is known for. This one still had quite a bit of water in it so girls were excited.
Sunbeams streaming into the canyon.
Girls prepping to cross the chilly water to climb up onto the cliff where a bit of a waterfall fell.
Emmerson made it.
Emmerson then did what she does - goes and gets Ada and encourages her along. Emmerson is definitely more bold about things but Ada has perhaps more natural physical ability.
Ada bailing after having a bit too much of the chilly water and seeing the slippery climb she had to do.
Emmerson dragged her back and showed her the route. I love watching them do this type of thing - they had no idea I was monitoring. You can do it ADA!
Kittens in their "jungle" of our backyard. I feel conflicted about letting them go out as they now will often sit in the screened in porch meowing to go out. We can not let them out without tending to them I often wonder if they had never gone out they would not know what they are missing but I think my life philosophy goes the other way. If I had never been oversees, I would never be frustrated with living the the burbs, but it was still worth it.