As soon as I was old enough to drive, nearby road trips lead me to hiking in canyons along the Illinois River. 40+ years later I return. I will always return. It is my special place.
During my early 20s I introduced several special friends to this magical world of wood, water and rock, during different seasons and personality.
I figured this would be the least changed place I could visit from my pasts. And sure enough, except for a now paved parking lot instead of dirt I wasn’t disappointed. Except there was no flowing water after the dry summer. I had seen it dry before, flowing sometimes weak or strong, even frozen.
A small shallow cave lies off the left side of the trail as a teaser to what’s ahead.
Generations of fallen leaves cushion the trail with a green sun-dappled canopy overhead.
A tiny pool of still water sits in a creek channel almost dry.
There it is, my special place. Council Cave.
I’ve spent time here in council with myself. Letting the sun’s energy bath me through the trees.
Thank you kind stranger for taking my photo.
Ancient sandstone laid down in a shallow inland sea about 425 million years ago then later carved by a catastrophic flood caused by the breach of a glacial lake has changed very little in my lives.
I continued on to the split for Ottawa and Kaskaskia canyons, the later being my choice.
Bamboo grows in the moist drainage even without the flow of water.
Sunlight speckles the trees and bluffs. Occasional bird song drifts through the canyon.
I reach the spillway where no water pours to find only a small pool with fish trapped within. The evidence of water flow is revealed by the large trunks and undercut rock. I once stood beneath a waterfall here.
The skeletons of memory lies around me. Upon my return through the forest I feel at peace.
If you would like to read about a past life at this magical place leave a comment and I will email the necessary link.
Read more about Starved Rock including the story behind its name.