What a gorgeous day! Mid 60's to lower 70's and the beautiful sun is out. We left the Starved Rock Lodge at 9:00a.m. and carpooled to Matthiessen State Park's main area near the replica fort. To the surprise of no one, there were 43 hikers and 3 dogs. The trail started out a bit muddy, but the waterfalls, scenery and company were great.

Every day this week on my way to work in the morning I have seen little blue birds on these bird houses near the back entrance road to the park. Well today, I was ready; I had my camera turned on and in zoom mode. I even had my radio turned off and window rolled down for quick photography. NO BIRDS!!!

We began our hike at the fort area. We went down the stairs near the fort and went left when we reached the bottom.

This park was originally owned by Frederick Matthiessen and was originally only 176 acres and called Deer Park. After Frederick Matthiessen's death the land was donated to the state and became a state park in 1943.

Map at Matthiessen Park. These maps are located at all the major intersections.

Yellow Bellwort

Toothwort is everywhere

Strawberry Rock

There is still some Hepatica holding on

Going down into the lower dells area.
This is where the mud is.

Devil's Paintbox. I didn't go in here, it was extremely muddy.

Arnie and Linda just admiring the waterfall at Cascade Falls

There is a little cave like area near Cascade Falls

Close up photo of Cascade Falls

Walking out the way we came. I just love the sun on the sandstone's West wall.

Some False Rue Anemone

View looking south from the lower dells

Going up the concrete steps and over the bridge

This was such a treat. I have been seeing these leaves for weeks. Finally a bloom. There weren't many blooms, but I managed to get an ok photo. Dog Tooth Violet or Trout Lily (same thing)

There was some follow the leader going on today to get across the stream crossings. But oh what fun!!

The start of Coral Bells (Heuchera)

One of the man made dams in the dells area.

Still have a few Dutchman's Breeches blooming around the park.

Not really a good photo, but this is the leaves for the Blue Cohash. In the summer the ends will have little blue balls.

Virginia Bluebells will soon be blooming everywhere.

There are still a few Bloodroots blooming.

A few hikers taking a break by the Giant's Bathtub

We all maneuvered through the roots and rocks

Now this is a family that is really glad to be hiking during Spring Break. Couldn't of had a better hike! Waterfall is Lake Falls.

View of Matthiessen Lake

Bridge going over Lake Falls

Prairie Trillium is still not blooming, maybe this weekend.

A little bonus waterfall on the way back to the car.

After hiking some of the Walker's Club members stay a few minutes to visit in our Cafe and have a cold beverages after a vigorous hike. They really come in for the outstanding coffee and to check the inspirational board (see next photo).

Hillary from our Cafe changes these inspirational sayings once a week. Way to go Hillary!!

I will leave you with this: "Know that the brightest and sweetest smelling blossoms are not always on the tallest trees.