Laurasjoquist's Blog

arts, crafts, photography, and joy

Mother’s Day Hike

Today we hiked at Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Partly because it was mother’s day and my family knows I like to hike.  But also because I received a new lens for my camera and wanted to try it out.  I am still figuring out the focus, but I took a few decent photos of the family.

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Spring in Illinois

The flowers are out in full forest in Illinois forests in April and May.  Most of these ephemeral beauties won’t last long though.   I take a hike (almost) every day to see who has shown up and who has gone away.

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Spring photos at Harlem Hills Prairie

Jack stayed over at a friend’s house Friday night which gave me the opportunity to visit Harlem Hills Prairie early Saturday morning for a short wildflower identification walk.  We had gone earlier in the week with friends from the Master Naturalist class but I wanted to go back and get some pictures and try to identify some of the flowers that had perplexed us. First off, let me say, native wild flowers are not my forte.  Secondly, I’m still perplexed.  So if you’re reading this and are a Illinois wildflower aficionado, feel free to jump in the comments and help a fellow naturalist out.

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Wild Rose

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Purple Cone Flowers

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Lead Plant

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I think this is Daisy Fleabane in with the coneflowers

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Unknown, maybe it will flower and I’ll be able to figure it out

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Also unkown, even with a flower.

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We think this might be Golden Alexander.

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False Indigo,one of my favorites!

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Is this a coreopsis?

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Perhaps some kind of grass.   Grasses are also not my forte.

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Not sure what the flower is, but I liked the raindrops.

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Yarrow

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More coneflowers

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a white coneflower

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And more conflowers again

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compass plant-also a favorite

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Tiny, purple unkown

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We thought this was Shooting Star after the flower was gone.

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I think this is called Deptford Pink.  I don’t think it is native to Illinois.

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Short Green Milkweed

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Thimbleweed

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And Common Mullein.

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impossible photo request

The Sierra Club asked for a photo of my favorite public land.  Well, not just me personally,but everybody.  And I thought, just one photo?  Just one favorite place?  Impossible.  I’ve loved every tree in every park on every hike I’ve ever taken.  My heart is full.  Here are a few photos of the many favorite places that reside there.

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winter photos at Starved Rock State Park

A day off from school and perfectly brisk winter weather made it a good day to check out the ice falls at Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois.  We’ve been here in the summer and fall before, but this was our first walk here in the winter.  I think we may have picked the perfect day for it, we spent a happy couple of hours on the trails, and added a brown headed cowbird to this year’s bird list.

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Photos of a childhood remembered kind-of-sort-of this way

Jack had a three day weekend at the beginning of November.  I used it as an opportunity to go see family (and friends) in Minneapolis.  While we were there we used the unseasonably balmy weather to take a walk in one of my favorite childhood parks, Bunker Hills Regional Park, near Blaine, Minnesota.

I haven’t been there since I was in my teen years.  If you put me down in the middle of the park now and ripped off my blind fold, I’d be totally lost.  Everything has changed.  So I spent the afternoon with my mom playing tour guide and pointing out to me where everything I loved used to be.  The sandy bottom pond is now a water park.  The swings I played Star Wars on with my cousin are now a terraced garden.  The camping ground with the suicide bike hill has been expanded.   She wasn’t sure what happened to the wetland observation deck, although the wetland is still there.  At least they kept the tank.  They moved it, but at least they kept it.  And it’s still full of garbage.

Later we did one of my other favorite childhood things, and built a club house in the brush pile in my mom’s backyard.  With the help of cousin Nik, of course.

The last few pictures are of my mom’s winter garden.

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photos at devil’s lake, wisconsin

After hiking to 14,440 feet in Colorado, the short hike today at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin was like, well, like a walk in the park.  As Jack gets older, our favorite Wisconsin hike gets shorter.

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small fish swimming around the shadow of a piece of wood

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We started the West Bluff hike from the south end this time.  It was definitely easier this way.

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watching turkey vultures ride the thermals

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a little bouldering practice

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Yep.  He’ll climb into a hollow tree if you tell him to do it.

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Photos in a canoe, Rock Cut State Park, Illinois

At the beginning of every summer vacation, Jack and I make a list of things we’d like to do over the summer.  It usually includes a couple baseball games, hikes and trips to Chicago and Minnesota.  This year Jack included a wish to canoe.  Actually paddle, and not just sit in the middle of the canoe watching his mom and dad paddle.  When the weather finally cooled down to a frigid 94 degrees, we rented a canoe from Paddle and Trail at Rock Cut and hit the water for an hour of pleasant paddling and some up close bird watching.  We were only able to add one new bird to the list-the Belted Kingfisher, but we also got really close to a Green Heron and saw some Turkey Vultures resting in a tree on the shore.  Rock Cut, always cool.

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A quick walk before we go canoeing.

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Extreme spider close-up.

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Out on the water and looking good.

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Green Heron

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Jack’s photo of a water lily.

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‘Lots of algae in the lake this year.

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Jack posing by the green heron.

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Photos of johnston canyon, castle mountain lookout, and moraine lake banff, canada

The rain continued on through Tuesday, so we took the day off from hiking to explore the town of Banff and Banff Upper Hot  Springs.

The boys spent their fourth day hiking without me.  I chose to stay in bed after a bought of puking brought on by bad strawberries or Canadian water or something.  I was back on the trail with them the next day though for an easy walk up through Johnston Canyon, a  harder hike up to Castle Mountain Lookout, and a stroll to the top of the rock pile at Moraine Lake.

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Jack taking in the waters

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The misty view from the hot springsImage

Banff Upper Hot Springs

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Starting out early at Johnston Canyon to beat the crowds.

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In my opinion, the cutest kid ever.

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More moss.

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Lots of rain means big, fast water.

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Kids like holes in rocks, even when it’s cold and wet.

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And more moss.

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Taking a hot chocolate break.

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View of Bow Valley from Castle Mountain Lookout

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And moss again

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Heading back down castle mountain

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Jack sporting a real stove pipe hat from an abandoned cabin on the trail

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Excited about visiting Moraine Lake

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Also excited about going to the top of the rockpile.

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$20 Canadian view.  It used to be on the back of the bill.

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Jack’s new favorite bird Clark’s Nutcracker

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They were friendly birds and funny.

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photos of a hike to the top of ha ling peak canmore, canada

Our second morning in the Canadian Rockies was sunny and we set off for Ha Ling peak, one of the hikes recommended to us by the couple from Calgary.  I wish I had their email address so that we could send them a big thank you!  While this seemed to be a local’s daily dog walking path, it was a challenge for Jack and me.  We almost turned back, but pressed on and were rewarded with an amazing view from the summit.

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Starting the hike, it’s all up from here.

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View from the saddle between Ha Ling and Miner’s peaks.

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Geared up against the coming rain and ready to make the summit.

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Looking casual on his way up, or maybe his hands are cold

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View back to Miner’s Peak and some others peaks I don’t know the name for.

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Looking over the top of peak.

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A view of Canmore

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Guys taking a break at the top.

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More mountains without names.

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Starting our descent.

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Going down was scarier than coming up.  Things that start falling don’t seem to stop here.

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