We spent the morning taking a boat ride in the I&M Canal Lock 16 in La Salle IL.
The boat was pulled by a mule as it was done in the good old days,it was great to add this kind of experience to our list of adventures, we learned a lot about these trips,canal and life from our host,here is a short history about the canal:
This canal provided the first complete water route from the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River by way of the Illinois River. French explorers Joliet and Marquette recognized the value of this water route for navigation in the 1600s. It was used heavily by Native Americans and traders from this time until 1823 when Illinois created a Canal Commission to oversee design and construction of the I&M Canal. The canal was completed in 1848, at a cost of $6.5 million. It begins at the south branch of the Chicago River at Bridgeport and extends 96 miles to the Illinois River at LaSalle. Originally 60 feet wide and 6 feet deep, the canals 15 locks accommodate differences in elevation. Commercial traffic began immediately, with barges pulled by mules or horses walking on the towpaths. In 1933, the Illinois Waterway was completed and the I&M Canal was closed to navigation. Since then, the canal has been developed for recreation, with the addition of shelters and picnic areas and renovation of the tow path for hiking and bicycling. Interpretive programs and information centers are located at key locations along the trail.
The boat “deal” included a sandwich,soup and a salad( 16$ per person ) which we had in the local restaurant next to the locks and then drove to the Starved Rock S.P to hike the trails we did not hike in the first 2 days.
In the last two days we hiked already 2/3 of the trails but still enjoyed the nature on every step we made today even though the colors still did not change and the waterfalls were dry ,the canyons with its high cliffs are very impressive and unique in this part of the country.
At this point I have to give credit to my wife for the photos posted here,any time I was getting ready to take a picture she would point to a place where the angle is better for the shot ,sometimes she was right –does this sound familiar to you? any how I never argued….