Grand Illinois Trail and Parks 2008Day 1: Sauk Valley Community College to Lowden State Park
. More in Radish Magazine
: Dedicated volunteers revive a native Illinois landscape
. Wow. You can have your scrubby pioneer plants in empty lots
, but give me restored swaths of native grasses and wildflowers, rooted deep in rich soil and rippling in the wind, where the butterflies flutter and the birds swoop and sing. Ah, the Illinois prairie. We must never lose it.
"Agriculture, Mother of Civilization
"Demeter over Illinois," in Oregon
. There was a lot of rather absurd controversy
about it 2-3 years ago.Byron Nuclear Generating Station
from across the rolling farm fields of Ogle County
View down the Rock River from Lowden. Again
. But this time late in the afternoon.
A cat I saw wandering around the hiking trails at Lowden, not quite feral because it clearly wanted attention and maybe some food. I sure hope it wasn't abandoned by somebody recently; it's so cruel when people do that. Take care of yourself, kitty.
"The Eternal Indian" (aka "Black Hawk Statue
") with some Foreground Trees(TM)
"The Eternal Indian" at sunset.
Sunset at Lowden.Day 2: Lowden State Park to Mississippi Palisades State Park
View up the Rock River from the IL-64 bridge in Oregon, with "The Eternal Indian" far in the background.
Flowers and railroad bridge west of Polo
The Mississippi River valley from Thomson Road, approaching Thomson
Flooding at Big Slough Landing, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge
Big Slough Landing.
Flooding at Spring Lake, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
Flooding on the Great River Trail
south of Savanna
. I chose this over the road, IL-84, which I've never liked. The trail is still
incomplete; thanks for nothing, G-Rod.
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge. The river is wide and wild through this stretch. Dammed, leveed, girded with bridges, loaded with barges---it will still do what it will, and must be respected as the force that it is, one never fully to be tamed.
Savanna was very welcoming. Unfortunately, the Hiawatha Train Car Museum (aka Savanna Train Car Museum
) was closed when I got there.Day 3: Loop ride from Mississippi Palisades State Park
The Mississippi Palisades from the Great River Road
(IL-84), heading south.
Mississippi Palisades.Savanna-Sabula Bridge
(US-52), so delicate and graceful, dwarfed by the surrounding bluffs. Compare to the brawny Skyway
, which carries interstate traffic across the piddly little Calumet River high above the glacier-flattened shore of Lake Michigan. The differences are astounding, from a bike. Sabula
is visible across the river in the background.Another
Totally Cliche Rural Illinois Photograph in Jo Daviess
County. I really liked the way the wind moved through that grass; you can sort of see it here.Massbach Ridge Winery
That evening I set out on foot with my painfully inaccurate park map to find the scenic overlook at High Point; an allegedly 1.5-mile hike easily turned into about quadruple that owing to several wrong turns and dead ends. I finally found a handsome CCC
-looking lookout shelter (which I didn't think to get a picture of), just in time for sunset, just me and a few turkey vultures and a freight train rumbling downriver on the Iowa side. It was worth the whole trip.
I was disappointed by the large number of Foreground Trees(TM), which obstructed view instead of enhancing it. They looked to be younger than the lookout shelter, so perhaps it had a clearer view when it was built.
Sunset through the trees, over the bluffs on the Iowa side.
Sunset over a flooded field near the river.
The second most dangerous photograph I have ever taken. That bit of limestone in the foreground is actually the edge of a pretty high sheer cliff. I had ventured beyond the lookout shelter for this shot and was maybe three feet from nothing at all for a long way down.Day 4: Mississippi Palisades State Park to Augustana College
Savanna-Sabula Bridge from the Illinois side. The number one most dangerous photograph I have ever taken, two feet from a steady stream of fast truck traffic around a blind curve and clinging rather precariously to the waist-deep grass growing at the foot of the bluff right behind me.
Great River Trail bridge over railroad tracks in Savanna.
Prickly pear cacti at Thomson-Fulton Sand Prairie
Fun with macro setting.
Avenger the Hybrid That Just Won't Die at Thomson-Fulton Sand Prairie.Day 5: Day off in the Quad CitiesCentennial Bridge
(US-67), linking Rock Island
Centennial Bridge. Beautiful.
Flooding in Davenport from Centennial Bridge.Rock Island Arsenal
and Lock and Dam No. 15
from Centennial Bridge.Day 6: Augustana College to Morrison-Rockwood State Park
[No photos, sorry.
]Day 7: Morrison-Rockwood State Park to Sauk Valley Community College
[No photos, sorry.
Boring details later.