Hi, everyone, last weekend was absolutely beautiful outside (global warming is real folks), so my mom, some friends, and I decided to head out to Starved Rock for some hiking, eagle watching, and apparently a ton of dog petting ( this wasn’t planned but we saw over 20 dogs, so naturally…).
I woke up bright and early, ate breakfast, put a backpack together, and ventured the hour and a half or so to Starved Rock. At about 9 am, we arrived and parked, grabbed a camera, water, etc. and started hiking to see some bald eagles.
After climbing an obnoxious amount of stairs, which my mom complained about the whole time, we stopped at the eagle look out post and waited… and waited… and waited… and waited. And guess what we saw! Absolutely nothing. We waited, and zoomed all the way in with our big lens, and saw squat. So, we decided to make our way around to another lookout point in hope of seeing something other than a squirrel or a seagull.
As we made our way over, we climbed an ungodly number of more stairs (which my mother also complained about) and finally ended up at the lookout point on the opposite end of the park.
We waited then… and waited… and waited… and finally saw a freaking bald eagle! It was so crazy and majestic and beautiful and although we had a HUGE lens on our camera, we couldn’t get a solid photo. But, who cares about a picture, when I got to see my nation’s bird, in the wild, doing his thing?
After we got our eagle fix for the year, my mom got a text saying that the people we were meeting at the other State Park, Matthiessen, had arrived so we finally got to walk down some stairs and venture on over there.
Tyler and Day, the people that we met up with, brought their dog Annie, who we’ve dog-sat for before, and it my absolute favorite (living) dog. She’s half cocker spaniel and half pit bull and is the sweetest dog.
We started walking down some stairs and everyone started making fun of my for my shoe choice: Converse. I know they weren’t the best shoes for hiking but I’ve hiked in them before and I still don’t have a solid pair of hiking shoes, so, those had to suffice.
As we made our way down 10 or so flights of stairs (nice then but not so nice going back up) we decided to go left towards one of the two waterfalls. The ground was mostly hard, however, we were sinking into the ground a smidge, because the temperature had been rising all day and people had been using the trail for the past 2 hours or so.
As we kept walking, the mud had become slippier, our feet, even despite the traction on their hiking boots, were covered in leaves, so much so that we were basically mud-skating. As we edged closer to the first waterfall, the ground became suuuuuuuper soft, and all of a sudden my mom goes sliding down a hill, I am knee deep in mud, and Tyler completely eats shit and has mud all across the right side of his body. We didn’t let the mud stop us, however, and we were able to see a beautiful frozen waterfall. After some photos, we made out back to where we started and kept walking to the other waterfall.
The journey to the other waterfall was a little more treacherous, but with muddy shoes and clothes we began. There were a lot of little streams (and by little I mean pretty damn wide) with makeshift bridges using logs, 2x4s, rocks, and other random things that we somehow had to cross and not fall in the water. I got mud all over my hands after the first bridge crossing and then just gave up and let my converse be submerged during the second bridge crossing. After that, my solely muddy shoes, were now muddy and soaking.
We finally made it to the other waterfall which was absolutely gorgeous and had some caves of sorts in the surrounding area. Annie thoroughly enjoyed being able to run all over the place, eat snow (not yellow snow of course), sticks, and just to have the ability to be a happy camper.
After climbing 50 flights of stairs, walking over 5 miles, and having been covered in mud and god knows what else in those creeks, we were finally able to relax with a picnic lunch before driving back home where I promptly stripped off my pants, socks, and shoes, and threw them right into the washing machine.