The theme for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, suggested by Donna from Wind Kisses, is Messages. If you take a hike around the Giant City nature trail, you may see some messages carved into the huge sandstone bluffs that tower over the pathways in this State Park near Carbondale, Illinois.
Many of these messages, worn with time, are not easy to find, but others, more deeply etched, are still easy to read, some dating back to the time of the Civil War.
There is evidence of human habitation in this area from as early as 10,000 years ago, but European settlers didn’t move into this region until the early 1800’s.
The cliffs and canyons were used as safe havens for both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War and one can imagine weary soldiers carving their names for posterity on these massive stones before going into battle.
The State of Illinois acquired more than 1,100 acres of land in Union and Jackson counties in 1927 and dedicated the area as Giant City State Park.
Now that the winter weather is starting to settle in, it’s nice to be able to look back on some of the trips that we made when the temperatures were still warm enough to make walking and lingering to take in the view enjoyable. The last outing, of any significance, that we made this autumn was to White Pines Forest State Park near Oregon, Illinois. Most of the pictures that I captured there seemed to be suitable for Jez’s Water, Water Everywhere Challenge.
Spring and Pine Creeks wind through the park and in order to drive around the park you have to cross four fords that span them. Although the first one seemed shallow enough, the next one was running quite high and it didn’t seem advisable to risk going through it in a brand new car so I did the rest of my exploring on foot.
The park covers 385 acres and seems to be an ideal spot for fishing, hiking, picnicking and camping and there are several bridges that allow you to cross the streams without getting your feet wet.
White Pines Lodge has 23 guest rooms and there are more than 100 camp sites in the park if you want to stay longer than just one day. White Pines Forest is quite near Castle Rock State Park and one or two other interesting places so there’s plenty to see in the area.
A few weeks ago, we made a two-hour drive to Castle Rock State Park in Illinois, only to find out that it was closed! There was, however, a sliver of the park, between Route 2 and the Rock River, that was accessible, so the trip wasn’t a total loss. In fact, this may well have been the most scenic part of the entire park.
The Rock. a tributary of the Mississippi River, is the river that runs through Rockford, as mentioned in the previous post. I was also interested to learn that the Sauk and Fox Indians used to call it the Sinnissippi River, which accounts for the park of that name in Rockford.
A little further down the road, we came upon a promising sign and upon investigation it yielded another nice view of the river at ground level and, after much stair climbing, an excellent view of the surrounding countryside.
Looking for Square Trees for Becky’s Square Tree Photo Challenge, I found these in the photo files. If you are familiar with Illinois you may recognize some of these places. Images were captured in and around:- Arlington Heights, Batavia, Cairo, Des Plaines, Elgin, Long Grove, Marion, Mount Prospect, Oakbrook, Rockford, South Barrington, Starved Rock, West Chicago and Wheaton.
This week, Amy has chosen Negative Space as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. At first I thought this might be a bit tricky. As some of you have already pointed out, when we take pictures, we are usually focusing on the subject rather than the surrounding space, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that many of the images in the photo files might fit the bill and in the end I had to stop myself from adding to the list.
This is my third entry for Becky’s Square Tops Photo Challenge. From the natural wonders of our State and National Parks to the man-made cairns on Cana Island in Wisconsin, it’s always good to be top of the heap.
This week, Amy is asking us to find a place where a river runs through it for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. We always seem to be drawn to water on our travels and, very often, rivers feature quite a bit on these trips. There’s something fascinating about a river as it makes it’s way through so many different kinds of surroundings, from the quiet countryside to the bustle of a big city. The first two shots of the Bad River and its tributary,Tyler Forks, were captured at Copper Falls State Park in Wisconsin.
The next three images are of the Eau Claire River at the Dells of Eau Claire in Wisconsin.
The next two places are a little closer to home. The first is the Des Plaines River as it flows placidly through Joliet, Illinois. The next is the Fox River tumbling over the dam at St. Charles.
Normally, the Chicago River would just be gearing up for a busy season of river traffic but who knows what things will be like for the next few months. I’ll miss these familiar sights. I’ll be staying put for the foreseeable future, but these rivers will keep flowing on. Stay safe, everyone.
This week, Amy has chosen Waiting as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I know very little about horses, but one thing I’ve noticed is that they are very adept at waiting patiently. The definition of ‘patient’ is to be able to accept or tolerate delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. The definition of ‘waiting’ is the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. Horses seem to have got this down to a fine art. We humans could learn a thing or two from them.
Places in order of appearance; Wade House in Greenbush, Wisconsin – Fountain Square in Indianapolis, Indiana – Mackinac Island, Michigan – Wausau, Wisconsin – Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, Illinois – Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg, Illinois (2) – Old World Wisconsin near Eagle, Wisconsin.
I was sorry to have missed the past couple of LA Challenges but I have finally caught up with everything after a hectic few weeks and now I can spend some time looking through the photo files. Amy has chosen Seascapes or Lakeshores as the subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and I found a few shots that might fit the bill. The first one was taken in downtown Chicago along the edge of Lake Michigan which, in the city, very often consists of nothing but concrete slabs.
Below, part of the shoreline at Whitefish Point on Lake Superior in Michigan. The song ‘Edmund Fitzgerald’ kept running through my head as I stood looking out over the scene. It’s hard to imagine these calm lake waters becoming rough enough to sink a ship weighing 26,000 tons.
The image above shows part of the shoreline of Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
Below, a little patch of lakeshore on Mackinac Island, overlooking the mighty Mackinaw Bridge.
Cee’s topic for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge is 3 items or the number three. I don’t see too many creatures hanging out in threes. I guess two’s company, three’s a crowd. But here are a few that didn’t seem to mind sharing space.
Pictured above; snakes and elk in Elk Grove Village, African wild dogs at Brookfield Zoo, ducks at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, turtles in Hermann Park in Houston and pelicans on the river in Davenport, Iowa.