Fall Foliage at Starved Rock

     Well, this year's Fall Colors Weekend at Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois didn't provide an enormous rainbow of autumn colors, but it did serve as a beautiful place to relax on a mild October weekend.

View the video that I recorded on this day

My Day

     It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive from home to the park. I arrived about 11:30, which is when I said that I would be there to start volunteering. The last twenty minutes or so of the drive is always pleasant, and this time even more so. The trees and leaves were still so full. They made for a lovely sight going around the twisted roads. 
     Fall Colors Weekend is the 2nd busiest weekend at Starved Rock, with Columbus Day weekend preceding it. There certainly were a ton of cars-- I was afraid that I would end up parking at a distant overflow lot. I was lucky to snatch up one of the last spots before that lot filled up.

     Volunteering

     I started off in the visitor center. Spending some time with fellow volunteers, many of which I had not met yet, was important for me as a newbie. I helped out at the information desk for a little while as well. At about 1, a few volunteers and I were sent out to the trails to provide help, answer questions, and give interpretive information. A woman named Dagmar and I headed to the top of Starved Rock. She has been volunteering at the park for many years, so she was a wealth of information for the visitors and me. 
     After a while, we headed back down just in time for an emergency. A young woman fell about 50 feet down into Pontiac Canyon. We helped coral visitors to the sides or off the trails in order for the emergency vehicles to come through. I was assigned to direct drivers away from a small parking lot to prevent cars from blocking the exit route of the emergency vehicles. The woman lived, but that's about all I know about what happened after she was transported.
     Once the situation was handled, I finished my volunteering at the information desk. I may not be the most experienced at answering visitors' questions, but I'm getting better!

     Doing a Little Hiking...

     When I was through helping out at 4:00, I went out to hike a bit for about an hour and a half. My go-to spot is usually St. Louis Canyon, but instead I went to Pontiac and Wildcat Canyons. Wildcat is fun to go down into. There were a lot of people there, which takes some of the fun out of it though. The good thing about Starved Rock is that there are something like 13 miles of trails, so you can go several times and still see different sites.

Wrapping it up

     I'll be back at Starved Rock in just a couple days. You can expect more blog posts, pictures, and videos from there throughout the next months. Look forward to bald eagles in January!

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