Matthiessen State Park…..

Each year, the month of August marks our most hectic month of the year as we  squeeze in lots of last minute activities before school starts, we celebrate our anniversary, Aby’s birthday, the start of Cross Country season, the fall festivals begin and we attempt to remain somewhat sane even though the chaos moves at full throttle.

One of my favorite places locally is Matthiessen State Park in Utica, Illinois.  A friend and I just made a short day trip there with our kids on Friday.  I must say it took some guts resolve to go on an adventure like this with 6 kids but they did great!   The first photo starting on the left is:  Kate, Nora, Tommy, Quinn, Michael & Aby.

Mattessien State Park_kids_Aug 2012   Mattessien State Park_kids on rock_Aug 2012

The last time Aby and I were at Matthiessen was right before I became pregnant with Michael in November of 2008.  It’s been a long time, and Aby looks so young in the photos, plus there was water then and in each previous trip but none this time around.

November 2008

Mattessien State Park_Aby & Libby_Nov 2008

August 2012

Mattessien State Park_5_Aug 2012

This trip was quite different than those in the past for many reasons, first we went with another family, second, we didn’t take Libby the Weimaraner and third, the Midwest is experiencing a drought. The normally cool running waters were non-existent.  So while I stupidly hyped the kids for waterfalls and amazing water play, we instead were hiking dry creek beds and able to stand in places were the water is normally deep and flowing fast.  Here is our crew, standing at the top of a dry waterfall which normally would be slippery and non-traversable.

Mattessien State Park_2_Aug 2012

               Here is how it might look on a normal different day.

I do think it was much safer easier for us with less water because it was hard to keep the kids close.  They kept running off without much regard to Amy and I yelling at asking them to stay with us.  So we saw a lot of them from behind but at least we didn’t have to worry about them slipping and drowning falling.

      Mattessien State Park_kids on trail_Aug 2012  Mattessien State Park_6_Aug 2012

Kids on top of the bridge “waiting” for us.  Mattessien State Park_kids on bridge_Aug 2012

Overall, it was an amazing trip and I’m so glad that we went.  I like just getting out to let the kids run somewhat free and connect with nature.  I also think that when we return, we will have a greater appreciation for the beauty of the free flowing water which we greatly missed this time around.

This was my favorite photo of the trip.   I love the intricacy of the natural stone work combined with the start of the bridge.

Mattessien State Park_4_Aug 2012

Huge shout out to Amy C. for being brave enough to make the trip to us!

Where is your favorite place to hike?

** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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5 thoughts on “Matthiessen State Park…..

  1. That’s a nice park. Many years ago back in 1994 did some survey work out there searching for timber rattlesnakes. They weren’t in the actual park, per se, but south of the park where the old Lone Star quarry is. That’s where we found one female and it was across the Vermilion River where the old Bailey Falls was located and where the snakes were known to occur back at the turn of the century, but expanded mine operations in the early 70’s decimated the population. I doubt they still exist there with resumption of mining near and extending to the old Lone Star site where we found the one in 94.

    My favorite place to hike is at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, especially on the trails that go along the back-dunes then up and along the high fore-dunes.

  2. We like to go there also, none of those paved(2x4Lumber) trails they have at Starved Rock, very fun. I know the other is better for the eroisian, but this is so much prettier. Sometime I will have to tell you the story of when I took my son there when he was about 8 and another friend and we went (WAY) off trail and got lost, went up to a house and they had to give us a ride back…..they couldn’t believe how far we were from the park……pre-cell phones and gps’s……still love going there and laugh about it now.

    • I remember those pre-cell, pre-gps days! My sister and hiked a trail that was tough to find and tough to follow in Vermilion County once and I didn’t think we would ever make it back to the car.

  3. Pingback: Long Weekend ….. Long Miles ….. Long Hike ….. | TooTallFritz

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