Another Friday, another day with Catherine and our cameras. All week the weathermen predicted rain for Friday, Saturday & Sunday. And then....at the last minute, it was a very slight chance of rain on Friday...so plans whirled in our little photography minds, what to do?? We attempted Starved Rock in the springtime but stopped so many times to take one photo-op after another we simply ran out of time and never made it. The decision made to try again, we started early. Well, early in our world, maybe not in yours. I picked Catherine up at 8:30 AM and off we went, but first a stop at McDonald's for a cup of coffee since I left mine sitting on the kitchen counter. I do that so many times, fix and leave behind, I get so annoyed with myself. McDonald's now ask if you want cream & sugar, and it comes to you exactly how you requested.....wrong, no sweet 'n low even tho I specifically requested it. Me and the voice from the speaker were having little language issues, I couldn't understand her, and perhaps she could not understand me. Soooo, another stop at another McDonald's, thank goodness there is a McDonald's every few blocks. I get cranky when I don't have enough coffee with cream & sweet 'n low in the morning, just ask Catherine. Now, off we go to Starved Rock, 45 miles of back road driving with expectations of new discoveries. Starved Rock is a state park located on the Illinois River and near Utica, IL. southwest of the Chicago area and eventho I have lived in this area for over 30 years, I have never been.
Driving along at a pretty good clip we spotted these large birds flying fairly close and circling above. Rounding a curve we spotted the attraction, a dead animal obviously hit by a passing car. Upon closer observation we decided these were Condor's. Scavengers of road kill, and fairly ugly birds, their heads being red and unattractive. They were skittish so my shots were taken from inside the car behind the windshield, not very good ones, but OK. I DID NOT take a picture of the road kill which was probably the best angle.
We arrived at Starved Rock and began the walk to the top, finding treasures along the way. I don't know if we were stopping to find the treasures or stopping to catch our breath. It was a fairly steep climb, so having a camera we didn't look like were struggling, merely hesitating to take a photo. Think we fooled anyone??
There were so many cobwebs and with the sun shining thru the thick canopy of trees it just illuminated their delicate webs.
Many of the trees were changing from their lovely summer greens to brilliant bright yellows.
I love berries and these yellow ones stole my heart.....
Love these pinks and greens.....
After walking to the top of Starved Rock and winding our way around to the other side to take the "after" image we decided to drive around in hopes of spotting some camera worthy images.
We drove into the small town of Utica and couldn't help but notice the church steeple rising above the village. The sky, along with the clouds provided the perfect back-drop for this beautiful church. St. Mary's Catholic Church had been established in 1858, but after a fire destroyed the original wooden church it was re-built in 1888. This area dates back to the 1600's when Fr. Marquette celebrated mass with the local Indians. The inside of this church was as lovely as the outside, I couldn't help but notice the red from the stained glass windows casting a shadow over the heart of Jesus.
Back in the car, back on the road we stopped at almost every barn along the way. The hues of Fall are stand-up-and-applaud awesome.
Can you believe this sky???
Even the weeds look good in the countryside......
Little birds have found their home....
The morning glories are still lending their beauty to this rusty fence.