´¯`•. June 02, 2017

Illinois:  Mattheissen State Park

Just a few miles down the river from Ottawa, IL is Starved Rock State Park, and Mattheissen State Park.  We decided to camp at Starved Rock and use it as ‘home base’ for our trailer for the next two days.  For the record, I made no reservations in advance.  With school still in, I figured we’d have the place to ourselves.  And we practically did.  There were people back in the woods, but we got a lot within walking distance of the bathhouse and water spigot.  After setting up our ‘base’, we piled back in the car, and drove to Mattheissen State Park.

Mattheissen has two areas – the lower area for hikers and horseback riders, and the upper area for hikers.  What I wanted to see/hike was all in the upper area, and I was pretty sure we’d be able to do it in one afternoon/evening.  To see the map bigger, visit Mappery for a larger version.

Matthiessen State Park has a fort at the beginning of the hike!

That’s my gang, up there!

Looking down.  We didn’t know it, but these guys
would be our hiking buddies, the next few days.

Coaxing the family down by me.  Crazy stairs, right?

It was just beautiful here.  So cool and breathtaking.

Looking down from the bluff trail, above.

We weren’t really happy about this…  It turns out that half of Mattheissen was ‘damaged’ or ‘dangerous’, and therefore closed off.  This particular posting had a sign that said, ‘closed for hunting’.  (?!?!?!?!)   The Army guys caught up with us, at this point, and offered to go down and check it out.  Meanwhile, I was pretty frustrated – the ‘bluff’ trail that was open was above everything – so we couldn’t see any of what we wanted to, down in the ravine trails.  Word to the wise – skip the bluff trails, and go straight for the ravine, any way you can get there.  I didn’t wait for the Army guy to come back – I went right under the sign and headed down.

There were other spots to go down, and lots of people down there.
We just got to it a little more carefully.

These guys were really nice.  And the waterfall…!!!!!
But we couldn’t go there.  It was severely flooded, and they were knee-deep, in places, just to get THIS far.  Not happening with my littles, sadly.

We went this direction, instead.

Giant’s Bathtub

My Owen likes collecting rocks.  (I love waterfalls!!!)

Don’t you wish you could hike along this, with us?!

Okay, so… I made boys hold my hand, a few times.
We were trying SO HARD not to fall in, you know…!

This would be the point where we ALL fell in, and gave up trying to stay dry.
After that, it was a LOT more fun.  No worries – what’s wet, anyhow?  It’ll dry.

Cedar Point.  I think it should be ‘Keyhole’ point.
(And that’s my Ethan.)

Almost as beautiful as Indiana!  (((Almost.)))

We climbed UP this waterfall… and a bigger one, too!

Not bad for a first day of vacation and our first hike, do you think?

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