By Jerry Neff
Looking back at 2016 I thought it would be interesting to review the outings that our Eagle View Group enjoyed and explored this year. It began with our winter outing at Starved Rock state park about halfway between the QC and Chicago. It was January 31, mid-winter but the weather was more like spring. The trails were muddy and there was little snow but the waterfalls were still giant icicles. The overlooks along the Illinois River were breathtaking and the many stairs up and down gave us a real workout. Olivia, who had visited the park may times led us on this outing. We had nine explorers.
April 30 was our spring outing and because it was the National Park’s 100th anniversary we visited one of the two National Parks in Iowa, at the Hoover Birthplace in West Branch, Iowa. The other National Park site is at Effigy Mounds National Monument. It was a rainy day which kept our attendance lower than normal. The day was special, not only for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, but our own Kris Bergen had been the park ranger there for several summers. And we had cake!
June was our annual service trip outing, the time we do our River Mile Cleanup along the Butterworth Parkway, an event organized years ago by the famous Chad Pregracke. Our cleanup day was perfect weather and we had a record number of picker uppers. And, we gained another member, Cheri Bustos who was a real worker and she retrieved a TV!
August 27 was our summer outing at Palisades Kepler state park near Mt. Vernon, Iowa along the Cedar River. We had 9 adventurers who explored the river path. My two friends from Cedar Rapids, Sheri Albrecht and Steve Carriger who know the trails better than I helped lead the way. Afterward several of us went to Mt. Vernon for a late lunch.
Our last outing of the year was the fall outing, much different than a walk in the park. Lead by Geneseo’s City electrical engineer, Lewis Opsal, we toured the city’s solar array and two wind turbines. The solar array covers about 5 acres of hilly ground owned by the city. I was surprised by the number of interested members on this outing, 22 including me and Baby Will, was a record of people on an outing. Mr. Opsal explained how successful the green energy project has been and they plan to expand the number of solar panels. This outing was a wonderful way to wind up our Sierra Club outings for 2016.
We hope to break more attendance records in 2017. So please join us! Our next outing is Saturday, February 4 to Lost Grove Lake. More information at http://sierraclub.org/illinois/eagle-view