Taking a time out to connect with nature and friends is so important for our well being. We took a day trip out to Starved Rock State Park, west of Chicago, Illinois. This day was anything but ordinary and what we experienced is why I love the Midwest. The forecast did not call for rain but there was this monstrous pop-up thunderstorm that swept by us, we barely got any rain but we experienced its force right there on the open water of the Illinois River. It went from hot and muggy to dropping twenty degrees with gail force winds, creating white caps on the river. It is just so humbling when nature reminds us just how powerful it is. It’s exciting and I love the contrast that comes with storms like that.
We hiked a total of 5.5 miles all day. The Illinois River was so flooded that the main entrance to hike ‘the rock’ was completely closed, so we ventured off to other parts - Mattheson State Park, Buffalo Rock and a couple short trails in the Starved Rock vicinity. Waterfalls were flowing and everything was so lush and green still buzzing from spring. I had subbed my toe pretty good that morning before leaving the house, and have also been nursing a strain on the same foot for a couple of weeks now so I was a little bit slower than the rest of our group. When I took my boots off at the end of our hikes my little pinky toe that I had stubbed was completely swollen and purple. I drove the whole way home with my pinky toe off the clutch. We also stopped for a snack and drink at the Lone Buffalo in Ottawa, which I highly recommend.
The saddest thing of all on our adventure, I found out that the tree I have been photographing for over twenty years had died. It was on the side of a cliff and erosion got the best of it. I’m just glad I was there to document it. Nothing is forever.