November 30th - December 2nd, 2012: Mississippi Palisades

Back to the river! When I accepted the canoe offering from on high, I had no idea how often I would have the opportunity to paddle in this fall. Have canoe, will paddle!

For the first time in, well, maybe ever, since moving back to Chicago, I was part of a weekend warrior assault on the outdoors. As I drove out of Chicago right around 5pm Friday evening, bound for the Mississippi Palisades State Park in western Illinois, I was hit with nostalgia for the mountain madness that used to last all winter in the Bay Area. Sitting in traffic is never as sweet as it is when you know adventure is waiting at the other end. As always, the traffic eased as we got further from the city limits and my excitement grew with the speed of the car.

We had an impressive crew, approaching double digits, for the adventure. We all converged on a mostly abandoned campground Friday evening and enjoyed some campfire shenanigans before calling it a night. Saturday was a day to explore the park, by land and by sea. The Palisades have a fun network of trails, that wonder onto bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and through forested plateaus. The park also has a boat launch into Buffalo Lake, which is a wildly weaving waterway that connects to the Mississippi. I would consider it more of a funky river eddy than a lake, but most 6th graders could probably tell me why I would be wrong. Either way, it was fun paddling with an incredible close encounter with an eagle. Well worth the drive out to Savannah, Illinois.

Duffers welcome on Buffalo Lake
Deer Trail Hiking
Hay Bale Hopping

Corn. Minus the actual corn. I think.
Andrew taking in the view above Buffalo Lake.
Bridge over the River Mississippi

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