By Jerry Neff
January 31 was a very mild day for a a midwinter outing. Overcast skies and a temperatures in the mid to upper 40s, combined with a forecast of lightly scattered showers was not what I had planned for our hike at Starved Rock State Park, 90 miles east of the Quad Cities. The park is known for its tall rock, overlooking the lock and dam on the Illinois River, and the park’s spectacular waterfalls and deep canyons. During the winter the waterfalls become giant icicles and if the temperature is right, you might see some ice climbers. That day the temperature wasn’t right for climbing but the 90 foot icicle was still there in all its glory.
Olivia, who is one of our most active members had visited the park many times and knew where the most interesting places were so she was our leader. She led the way to Lover’s Leap, Starved Rock, Hidden Canyon and other scenic spots which I don’t recall their names. We approached the big icicle from the bottom of the canyon, and getting up close involved a slippery adventure along the icy stream running from from the waterfall. We helped each other along the way without incident. Luckily, I did not have to make out an accident report.
Starved Rock Park has a whole lot of trails with board walks and stairs. I would say we climbed and descended hundreds of steps to reach the top of overlooks and the bottom of canyons. Sections of the trails where there were no board walks, were muddy crag mires. Despite the mud, the occasional sprinkle and the strenuous hike we were all smiling when we finished. Watch our website for our spring and summer outing.