Posts Tagged ‘hike’

No Name Mushrooms

Buffy and I went for a morning walk through the woods at Stone Face.  The late October day was cloudy. No water ran in the creek. No flowers bloomed.

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These mushrooms practically lined part of a fallen dead tree.

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White shelf mushrooms also grew on the same log.

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I thought this configuration had an artistic appearance.

One of these shelf mushrooms had gills on the underside, and the other had pores.  I didn’t find either of these in any of  my six mushroom books.

It didn’t matter to me. I enjoyed them anyway. Besides, they don’t know what they are either.

I come from an artistic family and look at things from an artistic standpoint.

Gloomy Day Mystery

Sunday ended up being another cloud-covered day, with intermittent drizzle. I decided to go for a hike and ended up being the only one at Jones Lake.


I followed the lake trail. Rose hips on the swamp roses added a little color to the gloomy day.


 The clouds continued to increase during my hike, which changed the appearance of the rose hips on my way back to the truck.

It always amazes me how drops of water invert the view.


 Here is my real mystery. I can’t explain why the light bands are reflected vertically on the water. Where did they come from?  The tree-covered hill would have a more solid appearance. The clouds wouldn’t be in bands either. I don’t see how my height compared to the water level would make a difference. Maybe there’s a scientific reason that would be way over my head.


On darn, (being facetious) guess I’ll just have to come back to see if these reflections are still here.

Did I Take Those!

I don’t know what happened here — I actually took focused bird pictures.


Three Canada geese stayed relatively close as Buffy and I followed the lake trail at Glen O. Jones Lake.


 I had hoped to see a red-throated loon that was reported here Saturday. No luck.


Loons are rarely seen in southern Illinois on their migration.

It took me 3-4 years to see my first loon after I started birding. A birding friend of mine called one afternoon, saying a common loon was at Jones Lake. Davis was in first or second grade. I called school, and they gave me permission to take him to see the loon. We ran out to the Blazer. I hurried after we got out of town. We were both on the edge of our seat. I screeched (not really) to a halt when I got where we could see the lake. And, there was the loon– not close and not far. We had no witnesses to our enthusiasm.

To The Woods …

We finally had a sunny day, so Buffy and I went to the woods at Stone Face.

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The caddisfly is a small moth-like insect. Their larvae collect whatever they can and bind it together for a protective case to grow in.  These were 1/4 inch long at the most. They will continue adding on until they’re full grown.

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Water movement and the resulting moving reflections always fascinate me.


Every time I see these two trees, I wish they were in my backyard. Grandkids would have a lot of fun with them. Wildlife probably couldn’t resist them either.

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Corky warts on bark of a hackberry tree look like a city of futuristic buildings.


I was unable to identify the shelf fungi. It had a smooth surface underneath.

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Obviously, this tree stood out! I have no idea what removed all the bark almost to the top of it. There were only a few small limbs at the top of the tree.

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The bark pieces at the base of the tree would’ve been only a small fraction of what was removed. It had to have been a determined mammal! This translates to a lot of bark removed and transported to ???

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Somehow this nondescript moss and script lichen caught my attention. Is the script lichen a messenger for the plant world?

Finally, Eagle Mountain

My husband got tired of hearing me complain about not being able to drive up on Eagle Mountain.

It’s been months since a heavy rain washed deep gullies in the road going up the hill onto the mountain. It took 4-wheel drive to get up the first hill. He had to navigate several hair-raising washouts in the three miles to reach the creek.


It was the middle of the afternoon. Buffy took off like she was visiting an old friend and didn’t want to miss a thing.


The sun occasionally peeked through the clouds.


We followed the creek, instead of heading up the hill to explore.


The word “steep” came to mind.


I was so relieved to see the Christmas fern still growing on this large rock in the creek. It’s grown there for at least four years. Water from heavy rains sometimes reach heights that can go over the rock.


I took one last reflection picture before we headed back to the truck.

The drive back across the mountain seemed worse than on the way in.

So, I won’t be going up there again until the road’s fixed.


  I can combine memories of past hikes with what I’d like to experience to create an outing whenever I feel the need for one

 … until Buffy and I can hike on Eagle Mountain again.

Stone Creatures

January of 2005, my mother and I were hiking in southeastern Illinois. We met another hiker and somehow got on the subject of yellow lady slipper orchids (whose locations are usually top secret.) This gentleman told us where a small colony of them grew.

Needless to say, we went there, with plans to return in the spring when they would be blooming.


It was cold. It was a remote area. It was beautiful.


I took this picture because of the designs in the rock. While going through picture files recently, I came across this picture and realized it had several “stone faces.”

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I cropped this picture to better show the stone creatures.

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This and the last picture show two other sections of the rock.

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The more I looked, the more creatures I found.

I do have to wonder how so many faces were created in a such a relatively small area.

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A band of sandstone and iron created much different designs.


These designs are called liesegang rings (or bands) and can be quite dramatic at times. These look like hieroglyphics on a scroll. Wish I could interpret.


It was difficult to head for home and leave all the beauty and solitude.

Late Season Misc.

Buffy and I went for a short hike at Stone Face, a site in the Shawnee National Forest. We headed into the woods because fallen leaves filled the creek instead of water.


A cranefly orchid leaf (Tipularia discolor) caught my attention first.


More leaves grew in a cluster about ten feet away.


The dark purple underside easily identifies their leaf.

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The leaves overwinter and die back before the flowers bloom in the fall.


A silver maple used to grow down the hill to the north of the grassy sandstone barrens on rural property I own. Conditions were right for a healthy population of cranefly orchids … like 135 leaves scattered around under it. Sizes varied. A heritage biologist told me to not let anything happen to that tree! Years later the tree died, the canopy opened up, and most of the orchids went dormant and/or died.



Grape ferns (Botrychium dissectum) commonly grew in the woods and will remain green through the winter.


Surprise, surprise — a nodding lady’s tresses orchid (Spiranthes cernua). Its double spiral of white flowers bloomed in October.


Putty root orchid leaves overwinter too, with their flowers blooming May into mid June.


Their flowers blend in with their surroundings, and

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the seed stalks remain through the winter.

Mine and Buffy’s hike lasted about an hour. We hadn’t been out for a while and had a good time. She’s about to turn 10 years old, and ran around like a young whipper snapper.


My oldest son had a knack for finding orchids when he was in grade school. I called him my “orchidontist.” He still wears that title and calls me to report in.