Matthiessen State Park

Sick of winter and staying mostly indoors, we decided to venture out into nature one Saturday in April to enjoy the beautiful spring weather at Matthiessen State Park.  I’ve been there a number of times and consider it one of my favorite places to visit in Illinois, but James had never been there before (surprisingly enough) so I got to re-experience the beauty and fun through his eyes!

Matthiessen is about 5 miles from Starved Rock State Park, but isn’t as well known and thus is less touristy and a lot less busy!  The trails are much more natural and often you can easily get off the beaten track and find your own adventure!  Unfortunately it had been raining a lot so the entire park was pretty muddy, but we didn’t let that stop us!  Soon after starting we went ahead and took our shoes off and walked along the path barefoot!

At the end of one of the main trails is a beautiful waterfall.  The actual path doesn’t go all the way to the falls, but if you don’t follow the path back up to the main trail around the park you can easily get pretty close to the falls.  Yet, to all the way up to them you really have to ‘shimmy’ along the slippery edge of a rock to avoid falling into a good sized pool of water.  Of course James and I decided we wanted to get right up next to the falls and went ahead and shimmied around the pool up to the falls.  On the way back, I made it just fine, but James decided to go ahead and walk THROUGH the pool instead of shimming around it.  This was a good intention since he didn’t have his shoes on and was wearing shorts, but what he didn’t count on was the slimy algae on the bottom of the pool!!

As I sat there watching, in seemingly slow motion, James went down all the way to almost the tops of his shoulders in the pool, then quickly stood back up just to fall again!  I was completely frozen and even though I had the camera in my hands and had been taking pictures, I completely blew it and missed all of the shots of him falling in the water!  Then once he got out and I knew he was ok, I was laughing too hard to take any good shots.  Luckily I did get one picture of him dripping wet and grinning.  He was very good natured about his ‘little’ slip and was laughing along with me and the other hikers on the trail. We then headed back to the path and headed up to the main path that would take us around to the other side of the park for more adventure!

On the other side of the park the trail down to the other waterfall was even muddier than the first trail!  In fact it was so thick there were a couple of times I thought I was going to get completely stuck!  Pretty soon we figured out that the mud wasn’t as bad if we just walked through the creek and this helped tremendously!  Once we got to the end of the trail we wandered around this second big waterfall and even went into some of the small caves the bordered it.

We ended our trip to Mathiessen by making our way back through the the creek (trying to avoid the mud) and then up to the parking lot where we spent probably 10 minutes trying to clean our shoes off!!  We then cleaned ourselves up a little bit, James changed into some dry clothes, and then headed to my parents for the rest of the weekend… Taking a slight detour past Kewanee to the Quad Cities, getting lost in the not so nice area of Moline (this is when I decided we were definitely getting a GPS before going on any other long trips), and then finally making it back to Kewanee late that evening.  We then shared a nice breakfast and lunch with my parents on Sunday before heading home.

Welcome to our blog!

Greetings and welcome to our blog! This blog was created for a number of reasons including (1) for us to keep track and remember all the fun things we’ve done, (2) for our families to keep track of what we’re up to, and (3) just as a place for us to post everyday musings, new words that James creates, and anything else that strikes our fancy.  Hope you enjoy!  James & Kona

Colorado

This is one of many pictures from our Utah trip this May 2009