Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chasing Waterfalls

Tonti Canyon Walls
Many of the waterfalls at Starved Rock have been well photographed. The ones at Lasalle Canyon and St. Louis Canyon are specially popular. But there are many other canyons and waterfalls that I find more impressive and perhaps a little less congested. Today I will take you to see Tonti Canyon which is around the corner from Lasalle Canyon. Prior to this year, there was a trail loop that went into Lasalle Canyon and out Tonti Canyon. In 2013, this loop was broken when the bridge out of Tonti Canyon was closed. Officially, one is suppose to come in and out of Tonti Canyon through Lasalle. The reality is that people are climbing down to the creek on one side of the closed bridge, crossing the creek and then climbing back up.

Of interest in Tonti Canyon are the elusive twin waterfalls. These waterfalls are fed by rain so timing and luck are essential to see them. I've been to Tonti Canyon multiple times over the years and have only seen both waterfalls running a handful of times.
Tonti Canyon Twin Waterfalls
The rear waterfalls seems to flow more frequently and with a larger volume of water while the front one is an elusive light water curtain.So next time you visit Starved Rock after some heavy rain, make sure to hike all the way out to Tonti Canyon (about a 5 mile round trip hike from the Lodge) and you may be  rewarded by these beautiful waterfalls.
Rear Waterfall
Front Waterfall

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Ghosts in the Water

Lasalle Canyon Waterfall
April showers bring May flowers but in Starved Rock State Park, they bring waterfalls. After a few days of rain, I headed down to the park to visit as many waterfalls as I could. Although the forecast called for cloudy conditions (great for canyon photography), not a single cloud could be seen. I was prepared to come back empty handed but something really magical happened along the way. As the sun rose above the canyon walls, the light was hitting the bare tree line on the bluff projecting the tree shadows on the waterfalls. The end results were ghostly images on the water. By pure luck I was able to photograph three of the waterfalls when this was happening. If I had arrived earlier or later in the day, I would have missed the event. They say that that every place can be magical under the right lighting conditions. Who knew that mid-day bright light would be it for several waterfalls in Starved Rock.
Wildcat Canyon Waterfall
Tonti Canyon Waterfall