Jan. 20, 2019 “Great Blue Heron” 6 Hikers
The weather has been against us the last few days and if no one showed up today, the hike would be cancelled. Six of us showed up! Temperature was at 8 above, no wind, and sunny. Access road to lock 6 was drifted over and we opted a different area. Our group never hiked to lock 1 which we did today. There is no trail east from lock 2. It was slow going as we had to contend with fallen trees and deep snow. Two from our group ventured farther to the Illinois River. Of special interest, because of flooding in the Spring, the pilings were much higher at lock 1. A wall was built on the top of the lock on the south side. Yes, the lock is under water during high water and you know its there for those 2 features. We had no idea on our mileage today but it took us over 2 hours to complete.
Feb. 17, 2019 “Bald Eagle”
Local weather forecast for today “Don’t venture out on the highways, continued snowing for the day”. I took the advise but asked Rene or Wayne to take over if hikers showed up. Rene took over, but only 1 hiker braved the weather. Hike cancelled! This is the second time we had to cancel a hike here. An ice storm a few years ago make access impossible.
March 17, 2019 “Barred Owl” 4.2 Miles -5 Hikers
What, snow again! We had snow again this morning but lucky for us most if it melted on the bike path. That also make it easier to spot the garbage along the way. We picked up trash till we ran out of bags. Of note, we noticed a small leak from the canal just off the bike path today. Odd things in the trees – two guitars and an opossum, now those were firsts for us.
April 14, 2019 “Raccoon” 3.5 Miles – 4 Hikers
When will winter end? January we had drifting snow. February hike canceled due to a snow storm. March produced more snow for us. April another all day snow storm in our area with as much as 8 inches near us. Most of the roads were bad as snow plows were in storage till next winter. Four of us made it for the hike but because of the bad conditions we opted for an up and back hike. Wet snow falling all afternoon made it difficult to get some good pictures. One picture did come out sharp, we had stopped under a bridge for a rest.
May 19, 2019 “Indigo Bunting” 4.9 Miles – 4 Hikers
Only 4 hikers! Threat of rain and other commitments made our group small. We did have 2 new hikers today. Because of the rain forecast the group opted for a shorter up and back hike. Ron did get a great photo of the pelicans in the area. Note – I missed the hike but my area had the showers.
June 9, 2019 “Wood Duck” 3.2 Miles – 7 Hikers
Cloudy and pleasant today. Ruthie checked her weather app and it showed showers at Rock Falls but none expected here till after 4:00. We had reports that bugs would be driving us crazy but a nice breeze keep them away. Recently I was asked if any Marshall Gates existed yet on the canal. Lock 16 had one that was not replaced by a break wall. The wood gate is in bad shape and is not holding back enough water to fill the above pool. 4:15 and heading home, black clouds to the east of us, the rain missed us.