The Ice Curtain

The Ice Curtain 
A smaller state park than Starved Rock, Matthiessen offers several frozen waterfalls to explore. One of my favorites is in a blind canyon just past Cedar Point. Visitors need to cross a creek to see this canyon, but in winter, it's usually frozen over, so it's easy. Last year it wasn't so easy. The creek was running high from melting snow and it wasn't frozen over, so we had to walk through knee-deep water in February. Funny how it was very cold at first, but after a half hour or so, we got used to the wet boots and it wasn't bad at all - until the last trail about 3 hours later when the cold began to reach our bones. 

 I mention this is one of my favorites because it's usually possible to venture behind the icefall. On this visit, the ice was almost blocking the path from right to left, but adventurous visitors could climb through the 16 inch opening to get into the cave. It's a bit difficult to do with camera gear!
  Into the Ice Cave 
There is one other icefall that's much easier to get into, but it's very small and the ice is quite thick, so the light does not penetrate through the ice quite so much. This ice curtain is approximately 25 feet wide, offering some fun exploration inside. 

The entrance to the ice cave is usually quite slippery, more so on the way down, and it's advisable to simply jump down the two or three feet to the canyon floor. Attempting to ease down seems to result in a slide down the rockface, or worse yet, a tumble onto the wet ice. This visitor found her way down the easy way.

The Slippery Canyon 
Nothing hurt but pride, the visitors kept on hiking to see the other waterfall in the canyon, and probably the other four spread out in the park as well.

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