The Frozen Waterfall of LaSalle Canyon

Behind LaSalle Falls 
 Bitter cold has a grip on northern Illinois, giving us high temperatures in the single digits and lows below zero. All this cold begins to change the landscape, and there's often no better change than the waterfalls of Starved Rock State Park turning to ice. A check of the weather forecast showed another winter storm approaching the area on Monday, so our scheduled trip to Starved Rock was pushed up a day to avoid travel during the snowstorm. That did mean we would be hiking in temperatures only reaching 4 degrees Fahrenheit. We've done it before, and once we get into the canyons, we tend to forget about the cold - except for our hands which are exposed as we photograph the ice formations. Once we're finished with the photos, we move on to the next canyon, which often means walking into the bitter cold wind toward the Illinois River until we turn into the next blind canyon. 

 The frozen waterfall in LaSalle Canyon is a favorite, and almost never disappoints. The large overhang of the rock allows the water to flow over the opening in the rockface, allowing visitors to walk behind the waterfall. In winter, a sort of ice cave is formed by the falls, and the translucent ice takes on some beautiful colors. Many of the ice caves formed in this manner are in smaller canyons, so venturing behind the ice can be difficult if not impossible, but LaSalle is so large, it never closes up completely.
  Through the Ice 
 This ice is constantly changing, no matter how cold the temperature is, water is always flowing inside and around the icefalls. It's interesting to visit a few times in the winter so see just how much the falls change. At times, large chunks of ice fall to the canyon floor, and the process starts all over again. It's always best to stay away from the ice, and not to stand directly beneath it. 

 Despite the cold, we ran into a few visitors in a few canyons. Only about six people were in LaSalle Canyon during our visit, it's about a mile walk from the nearest parking area, so the freezing temperatures keep out all but the determined and prepared.

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