Chicago is FLAT unless you include concrete overpasses and underpasses. Starved Rock State Park is a short two-hour drive west from my hometown flatland. The change in environment is extreme and refreshing. Also, it is exhausting for Chicagoans’ muscles used to walking flatland. So, while I rest my arthritic knee and other stressed body parts, I will share some this area’s splendor. My aches are welcome remnants of time well spent; my body will heal and my memories will last for ages.
Some images are from the nearby Matthiessen State Park which we visited as well thanks to the strong recommendation of our daughter. Both Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks in Illinois are results of glacial movement south and then melting and retreat. These parks are witness to natures’ strength and constant change.
Warning to anyone that thinks venturing off marked paths would be fun! Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Canyons of Matthiessen State Park. The people in the background give you an idea of its grand perspective. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg.
That bridge is partway down into the canyon. Awe inspiring views. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Wild Cat Canyon in Starved Rock State Park. One of many canyons in the preserve. Waterfalls were very small because of lack of rain recently. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
100 steps down from the Lodge was the “beginning” of many more steps down into canyon bottoms. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Eastern Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) shows up voluntarily along paths and roadsides. The flowers are thumbnail sized and bloom in bouquet arrangements tempting passersby to capture their loveliness. Today I brought them home as images saved.
Portrait of Daily Fleabane. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Nature’s bouquet. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
The fuzzy seed heads are Goldenrod, whose flowers were a short while ago bright golden yellow. The background is the golden flowers of Jerusalem Artichoke, unintentionally reminding us of the recent blaze that was Goldenrod.
Goldenrod in seed, Lincoln Park, Chicago. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg
The long lens allowed for a short depth of field making the Goldenrod in focus and the background Jerusalem Artichoke to fade in detail. Despite the strong yellow color in a large portion of the image, the contrast in focus makes it clear to the viewer that the attention belongs to the seed heads in this image.
Natural bouquet of Frost Aster. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg
This native perennial is aptly named, Frost Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum). It is one of the last blooming perennials in Chicago-land, ending only when a hard frost sets the stage for winter’s dormancy. The abundance of blooms is magnified by the circumstance that the plant is a rhizome, existing as spreading gatherings of the parent plant. The previous post showed the Frost Aster along the lakefront path in Lincoln Park. Those colonies lived on the side of the wall opposite of Lake Michigan, preferring the dryer environment of a gravel path.
Attention is focused as the sun momentarily spot lights this bouquet. I centered the composition, to emphasize the natural vignette around this vibrant cluster.
May frost come later than sooner.
For more information on Frost Aster: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/fr_aster.htm
Dormancy happens in the heat of summer for some spring-blooming, native woodland plants. Leaves brown, wither, and then become a part of the forest floor. Later in summer the fruit appears. These images are of the native Jack in the Pulpit, shown May 12, 2013 (Humble Interests) with dried leaves still attached to the plant.
The fruit of the native Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Drying leaves of Jack-in-the Pulpit. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg