Monday, June 02, 2008

Pere Marquette State Park

Still catching up!

Here's a bit of a recap of our early March eagle-watching trip to Pere Marquette State Park.

After the Feb. 29 DBT show, we’d spent the night near STL and got up the next day and headed over to the Grafton area. Grafton itself is a part-quaint, part-dilapidated little town right on the river and very near our further destination, Pere Marquette State Park.

On the way, we drove through Alton, Illinois, home of Robert Wadlow, whom my dad once met.

We also saw the Piasa Bird .

In Grafton we went down to the water. The first day, there was visible ice in the river, and we did spot a mob of (american white) pelicans hanging around out by little islands as well as soaring around, as well as a few eagles on the far bank (thanks, binoculars!).

We walked around a little, watched the ferry come and go, and had an awesome late lunch at a little bar/restaurant overlooking the new marina. Sweet!

The state park is where we had an aborted visit last winter just before J’s mom got sick and we had to hurry away. This time we were able to hike some of the trails and get some awesome eagle spotting. I also ID’d a group of male canvasback ducks in the river by the lodge.

The trails were far more, not rugged exactly, but primitive than the ones at Starved Rock State Park, and some of them were pretty muddy. There were times I really thought, geez, they should have some kind of rail here so people don’t PLUMMET to their DEATHS, but we hung on to trees for dear life and made it through all right. The weather was all over the place because it was bright and sunny the whole time, but then we’d be right on the water or atop a totally unprotected hilltop overlook with cold wind howling in our faces. But that, too, was enjoyable, because really the weather was just right – cold enough that the eagles were still there, warm enough for us to get out and hike and look. The second day there was noticeably less ice in the river, so we just made it!

These pictures aren't really in order, so here's just a bunch of 'em:

river view, with pelicans

J on trail

View, with J

our room at the lodge was huge. Much more awesome than the tiny room we had at Starved Rock, although we were in the 'old' wing there, in fairness. Starved Rock is a more awesome park overall and the lodge restaurant is better, but I like the Pere Marquette lodge better generally.

The lodge has an awesome stone terrace overlooking the water down below.

hey, eagles! I named 'em Sam and Abe. :-)

bird nerd!

The lodge from down by the water

The statue of Pere Marquette at the park – J and I always think it looks like he’s chasing geese or shooing kids off his lawn. *snort* Hey! You geese!

grafton - love those cliffs

nerdsville at grafton

We also went to the army corps of engineers museum at the lock and dam near Alton. The views around the lock itself weren’t all that, because we couldn’t really get up and above, but it was interesting, and it was a nice little museum.

With a small Jay Farrar display.

Eagles overhead! Best picture of the trip.

Except maybe this one at the museum. Haha! We had to take individual pics, because there are just two of us, and J merged them later.

No comments: