Today Laura and I drove out to Council Overhang/Ottawa Canyon parking lot off of Rt. 71. The Waterfall and Canyon tours will be starting soon and we wanted to check out the trails and canyons so Laura could familiarize herself with the upcoming tour. We also went to St. Louis Canyon via the long walk on the road.

"The Wedding Cove" Once you get out of your vehicle to hike to the canyons, this place is immediately on your left. We take many bridal parties here for photos. .

The start of Dutchman's Breeches

The "Boot" at the trail intersection going back to the Lodge. We opted to go into Council Overhang and Ottawa Canyon and back to our car in the parking lot.

Council Overhang. Go up these eroding steps and down the other side.

At this junction, you could go left to Kaskaskia Canyon or go right into Ottawa Canyon. The Waterfall and Canyon tour goes into Ottawa Canyon.

Ottawa Canyon Waterfall

Horsetails, this is the only place in the park that I have seen this many growing. Location is the intersection of Kaskaskia and Ottawa Canyons.

I know this is a push, but I'm looking forward to Spring! This is the beginnings of Virginia Bluebells.

On the Waterfall and Canyon tour the trolley would park on the entrance road to the park and the group would walk from there. Not wanting to leave my car there unattended we parked the car in the parking area to go to St. Louis Canyon off of Rt. 178. I have never walked this road (so called a shortcut to St. Louis), and probably never will again. (The hike from the Lodge is much prettier, and there is much more to look at). If I wanted to walk on asphalt with potholes I would have walked at home.

We met this family on the way back to their car. They were enthusiastically coming back from St. Louis Canyon. They were all on Spring Break, enjoying the park. Love the Shades. They were such a joy to run into.

Spring Beauties. You can tell these are Spring Beauties, because they have grass like leaves

The beginnings of Toothwort, soon there will be tiny pink flowers on the top.

Hepatica — The Hepatica is named for its three-lobed leaves, which resemble the three lobes of the human liver.

Eastern Hemlock. I have been told there are only 11 of these trees in Starved Rock State Park. This particular tree is in St. Louis Canyon.

Beautiful waterfall in St. Louis Canyon

The splash of St. Louis Canyon

Walking back to the car on the Asphalt

Because of the walk down the asphalt road, we ran out of time to check out French Canyon. But generally the Waterfall and Canyon tour goes there. I did manage to stop along the road and snap these cool photos of Skunk Cabbage.

Skunk Cabbage, the maroonish flower always comes first. It is often one of the first flowers you will see in the Spring. You may know this plant with its big lime to deep green leaves, that kind of looks like a hosta. It grows in wet to swampy soil.

Skunk Cabbage

I have also heard that if you step on this plant, it will give off an odor of a skunk. I have never tried this, as I don't want my boots smelling like a skunk.

I will leave you with this: "Share what you Love" If you have a special place, bring other people there. Personal experience is contagious.