Saturday morning started out cool and stormy, and it looked like we might be stuck inside all day, but by afternoon the sun was starting to peak through the clouds, and the threat of rain was over. We were supposed to go to Kentucky over the weekend but MaMa cancelled the trip because of a few different reasons. I didn’t really understand why, but I’m a dog, I’m not supposed to understand. I’m always along for the adventure anyway, no matter where it is! If we weren’t going to Kentucky, I was sure we’d find somewhere else exciting to explore. And I was right!
Levi and I were lazing on the couch when we heard MaMa and Pops start talking about where we should go that afternoon now that the weather had cleared. MaMa suggested to Pop that we visit a state park she had just read about it Sha-na-na-na-hon. It had all of the cool things that parks have, like grass, trees and squirrels, but she said it also had a scenic trail along a river and canal! A river means water, and I LOVE the water. I don’t like to go in it, mind you, but I love to smell it and be near it. I find it incredibly fascinating!!
In no time flat, we all hopped into the car and were on our way! It’s always exciting going somewhere for the first time, because you have no idea what you’ll see, hear, and most importantly, smell!
On the short drive there, MaMa told us that she spent her baby and toddler years living in Channahon, but hadn’t really been back there since. She said she was too young then to remember if she had ever visited this park before, and couldn’t tell us anything about it other than what she read on the inter-webz.
We learned that Channahon is an Indian word meaning, “Meeting of the Waters”, which makes complete sense because the DuPage, Des Plaines and Kankakee Rivers converge there. We also learned that the Civilian Conservation Corp. (created by FDR to provide jobs to young men during the Great Depression as part of his New Deal program) had cleaned, restored and repaired much of the canal and park area in 1933, and paved the way for the awesome place it is today. The I & M Canal trail, which can be accessed from this park is a designated National Heritage Corridor as well. There are so many interesting things about this park and the canal, I could probably write a book about it! But enough about the historical aspects of this unique place, it’s time to tell you about our adventures there that day!
We arrived at the park right as two German Shepherds were leaving with their humans. MaMa was relieved to see them leave, because she said I can be a real “A’hole” around dogs I don’t know! Somebody needs to bark and growl at those dogs and keep our crew safe, and that someone is me! I’ve heard some people say I have little dog syndrome. Whatever that is, it sounds awesome!
Since the park was clear from the likes of other dogs, we were able to wander and explore at our leisure. The first area we checked out was next to a big flowing dam. It was so loud and cool to look at!
Despite the exciting dam flowing nearby by, the most interesting thing I saw was a log floating in the water that I couldn’t stop barking at! Every time that log made a move, I backed away and then barked at it to tell it to watch itself because I meant business. After a few minutes of that, and lots of sniffing of rocks, leaves, water and tree roots, it was time to move on and see what else we could find.
While making our way towards the trail that runs alongside the river and canal, two young boys ran past us, and one came so close that he almost tripped right over me! He yelled out to his companion, “Hey, that dog just tried to trip me!” but from my perspective he was trying to kick me! As luck would have it, he just missed me and we were both no worse for wear.
Once we made it to the trail (in one piece!) we saw a bunch of interesting things. There were really old rock steps that I climbed to get to the trail. At the top of the steps was an old house (built in 1848 and restored in 1941) that used to be the residence of the locktender. I wish I could have taken a look inside!
We also saw a number of different birds, including herons and egrets (we saw one flying and another one up in a tree) , and two different sets of Canadian goslings with their parents.
At one point, we had to cross a bridge, which Levi hates to do, but he was brave and kept going, so we could explore a little further! On the other side of the bridge, we saw a farm with a big group of goats and a few horses too! MaMa also pointed out two tiny butterflies and one giant dragonfly, which she said is her favorite bug!
After walking south on the trail for a little ways, we decided to change course and walk north for a bit. It’s not like we were going to be able to cover much of the trail, as the entire length of it is over 60 miles! From what we saw of it, it’s beautiful in either direction, filled with lots of trees and of course the river and canal. We saw lots of people fishing, a man in a kayak, and when we went to cross the bridge for a second time, we saw a woman walking a Great Dane! That guy was even bigger than Levi and he looked like he was just a puppy. When he saw me, he knew I had the syndrome, and decided it was best not to bother us!
Eventually we turned around again and decided it was time to head home, but not before agreeing that we’d have to go back again on a sunnier day, and next time we’d bring the camera to get even better pictures! All in all, it was a great day and a successful expedition!