Stephanie Says

Starved Rock State Park May 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sue @ 7:57 pm

Today we visited Starved Rock State Park with a couple of friends.  Sadly, our impressions of the park and facilities have decreased with this visit; we felt it was very crowded and that the grounds areas weren't well maintained.

Even so, we had a nice hike and enjoyed ice cream cones before heading home. 

The kids on a huge tree stump.  It was surrounded by a mucky puddle that was full of tadpoles!

Starved Rock is situated right next to a dam in the Illinois River.  The banks are always lined with fisherman.   The kids found an old carp carcass:

Mason caught a small dragonfly.  It didn't fly off for about half an hour; Mason walked and talked with it as we made our way through the trails.

'George' flew away shortly after taking in the views atop Starved Rock.

I carried our camera gear and speedlights with us; I wanted to be ready to take an opportunity to practice some off-camera lighting. 

We stopped to rest, drink water, and throw stones in the river at a wide spot in the trail and I took that time to try a couple of quick shots.

While these are very rudimentary photos and the lighting could be better, it was very rewarding to break out the gear and give it a couple of tries.  I'm looking forward to our next opportunity to use off camera flash.

Here's Liz:

And Marcus:

I don't think we're planning on heading back to this park for awhile.  Instead, we'll look for another adventure in the book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Chicago: Including Aurora, Northwest Indiana, and Waukegan.

It's been a great resource; there's several other editions for other metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Sacramento, Portland, etc.


Webelo Ceremony

Filed under: Mason — Stephanie Sue @ 12:32 pm

image captured by Andre Vospette


May 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sue @ 8:15 pm

Sun on Claire


Heading Home

Filed under: Plantae — Stephanie Sue @ 4:58 pm



The Things They Said May 26, 2009

Filed under: Mason — Stephanie Sue @ 7:50 pm

Mason found his Puppy Pillow!  It was bundled into a sleeping bag he'd used a while back.  We didn't realize it was in there because we'd just rolled it into an old duffel bag rather than roll it up and stuff it back into its original pouch.  Because the duffel had so much spare room in it, we didn't even realize there was a stow away.

He made up a little song – it went something like this: "… I love my puppy pillow so much.  I will keep it in my clutch! ….."  

He carried it over a 4 1/2 mile hike through bogs, over rivers, across a dune and up to a beach:
Puppy Pillow

Another funny little quip:
Claire was washing up in the camp bathroom – it had those polished metal 'mirrors' over the sinks.  She commented they were like Barbie House mirrors, with those shiny foil stickers….  

Bugs and Such

Filed under: Claire,Marcus,Science,Travel — Stephanie Sue @ 7:42 pm

Marcus and Claire found some interesting critters on our hikes on and around Mt Baldy and through Cowles Bog:


This dragonfly had just emerged from its chrysalis.  We were able to watch its wings dry out as it sat on Marcus' finger for about three minutes before finally flying away.
Marcus & Dragonfly

This millipede curled up when Marcus picked it up, but soon uncurled and began exploring the terrain on Marcus' arm and hand

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore May 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sue @ 7:53 pm

We stayed at Dunewood Campground, very comfortable, great camp neighbors, nice amenities – like showers and a housekeeping sink — and not too far from Dunes Mart, where they serve chocolate-vanilla twist soft-serve ice cream cones!

Campsite at night

Shoes off at the door:

Shoes at the Door

Back of our campsite:


Late night cocoa hot from the Jet-Boil