Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hike to Rocky Glen

The perfect hiking weather just goes on and on this year!  Today it was 65 degrees, and we took a hike to Rocky Glen with a guide and a group.  Someday there will be signs and trails, but right now it's just woods and a creek that we had to cross several times.  It was pretty tough hiking, because we had to climb over fallen trees and slosh through mud and slippery wet leaves that were hiding tree roots sticking up out the ground.  Fortunately, I found a pretty good hiking stick early on and relied on it pretty heavily the whole way.
 A selfie from Mike's phone (minus his left eye)
 My friend Marcia
 Our transportation from the parking lot to the trail was "The Pony Express".  That was an unpleasant experience.  It was stinky, hot, crowded, loud, and very bumpy.  But it was free, and it got us there.
 I found this very interesting.  It's the site of an old homestead.  You can see an evergreen tree (the only one in the area, so it's assumed it was planted there by the homeowner), a couple wooden rails from an old fence, and a patch of concrete.
Cute little mushrooms
 Another fascinating find: an old coal mine.
 Inside the mine shaft.
 My handsome hiking partner.
 Our guide, Cheryl, is a geology professor at ICC, so she taught us lots of interesting things about the layers of rocks. She was passionate about her subject, which made her fun to listen to.
 We were happy that Mike's dad went with us too.
 I wouldn't have noticed this if our guide hadn't pointed it out, but it looks like a giant hand holding a stamp with some letters on it.  It is believed that it was related to the mining company.
 Doesn't even feel like Illinois!
Mike was standing on this rocky cliff that dropped off very steeply just a few inches from his right foot.  He slipped a little, and the older lady with us(I nicknamed her Grandma Opal) scolded him and told him to get down.

 I left some graffiti with shale.
 Inside the curved rock formation. Water was dripping in front of me, and it felt like a cave.
 Some large mushroom that I wanted to eat, but I don't know enough about them.  I wish I knew more about mushrooms and which ones are edible.
I do know this one though, because I just learned it last week when Noah and I hiked the River Bluff Trail with a naturalist, who told us it's called a turkey tail mushroom.  It is a beautiful fungus.  (The black thing is a chunk of shale that I brought home for Sarah to use as sidewalk chalk).  

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