Matthiessen State Park

Matthiessen State Park is near Utica and Oglesby, Illinois. It is also near Starved Rock State Park. 

Frederick Williams Matthiessen developed the park for his personal use and after his death it was donated to the state of Illinois. It has since grown significantly in size. 

There are two main areas that make up Matthiessen State Park: the Dells Area and the Vermillion River Area. 

I chose to check out the Upper Dell in the Dells Area. It is really pretty. I especially liked the stepping “stones” across the section called Giant’s Bathtub. 

I ended up hiking a little under a mile. I forgot that unlike Indiana, Illinois kids had yet to start school. The park was packed and noisy. I will plan better next time so it will be a more peaceful adventure. 

Sinks Canyon State Park, WY

Sinks Canyon State Park is near Lander Wyoming in the Wind River Mountains. The middle fork of the Popo Agie River seems to disappear into the mountain at “The Sink” and reemerges at “The Rise” a quarter mile down the canyon. 

It takes the water 2 hours to move from The Sink to the calm pool at The Rise. It is unknown why it takes so long or why more water comes out at The Rise than goes into The Sinks. 

I parked at The Rise parking lot and walked to the observation platform above The Rise and watched the huge fish. They are Brown, Rainbrow, and Brook Trout. Visitors can buy fish food and feed them. I think they get fed a lot. 

The Rise

I then continued up the mountain .25 miles on the Sinks to Rise Trail along the Overflow. From late May to June, the snowmelt doubles the size of the Popo Agie River and the river flows both into the sinks and thru the Overflow. 

Overflow Loop Trail

Sinks Cavern

Still on the Bucket List:

  • Drive “The Loop Road” – 70 mile scenic drive beginning and ending in Lander
    • Learn more about The Loop Road here

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

We lived in Las Vegas, Nevada while I went to high school and my favorite place was Red Rock – the National Conservation Area not the casino. Remember, I was 13-17 when we lived there, you’re not exactly allowed in casinos at that age. We lived about 20 minutes from Red Rock and would go hiking there on the weekend. I went back over Thanksgiving (2016) to visit family and while I was there I made sure to stop at Red Rock.

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That Time I Went Screaming Thru Spider Webs

Okay, so I wasn’t actually screaming, but let me tell you, I was screaming in my head. One important thing to know about me: I HATE spiders. H – A – T – E spiders. To the point that it is shocking that I willingly hike in the Midwest, or as I like to call it: Spider Land.

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