Saturday, August 8, 2009

Meyer Weekend

Many years ago, Karen's maternal grandparents started a tradition of spending a weekend vacation each year with as many of their children and grandchildren as they could. Since grandpa covered all the expenses over the years, it was easy enough to join the crowd and it was generally pretty easy to have a good time. Unfortunately, grandpa and grandma are no longer with us, but the tradition lives on.

Our home for the weekend this year: The Willows Hotel in beautiful Utica, Illinois.

A gathering of the primary planners for the day discusses our strategy before we head out for our first adventure.

The destination for the morning: Matthiessen State Park, just four miles south of Utica. Frequently overshadowed by its more popular neighbor, Starved Rock State Park, our family believes it offers much more scenic and interesting hiking. Here our group decides to avoid the mud in the middle of the walking bridge.

The most interesting and challenging trails in the park actually follow a small stream through a canyon of rock formations and mineral springs. This morning was so humid that my glasses fogged up frequently, so I'm not sure if the fogginess in the photos is actually humid air or fog on the camera lens.

Karen and Lily easily won the award for best dressed hikers on the trails as voted by the entire population of visitors to the park that day.

Gretel and her grandpa were both in their element today, as they easily covered more trails together than any of the rest of us. Gretel would frequently remove her shoes since she found that her "bare feet get better traction on wet rocks" than her shoes did. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Beautiful scenery, and I'm sure a good time was had by all, but I admit I was most intrigued by Karen and Lily's dresses... is Karen's made from the same pattern as the one pictured in visit to the fair? Very pretty. And Lily's is just so very very sweet... I just made myself a housedress with a similar diagonal bias trim treatment on the bodice. Mine was from a slightly earlier period than Lily's however (from the 1920's.)

    Thanks for sharing☺

  2. Oh wow, those pics remind me of where I grew up in Pennsylvania. I really enjoy being in the woods, especially around scenic mountain overlooks and waterfalls. Is the park that you went to a large one?

    I hope that y'all had a great time. By the way, kudos for Lily surviving the trip in the shoes that she was wearing. I'm not sure how hilly or watery the landscape was as a whole, but sometimes I have a hard time staying upright in similar environments and usually I'm wearing steel-toed, anti-skid boots.

  3. What a beautiful hike!! Karen and Lily are most definiely beautiful hikers!

    Love, Heather

  4. Looks like a very eventful time in your family. I'm sure your girls were the best-dressed ones out there. There dresses are so pretty and feminine.


  5. Thank you all for the kind compliments.

    Diane -- Karen will have to address your pattern question, but I do know both dresses are favorites.

    Jeremy -- did you know IL had parks like that? The entire park is over 1900 acres, but the most interesting parts exist in the original 176 acres. We think the park is almost ideally sized in that one can cover all the interesting trails in one day of hiking, or you can slow down and savor as much as you'd like.

    Lily's shoes remind me of the time Gretel covered 1500 vertical feet of climbing one day in the Rocky Mtns wearing Mary Janes as an eight year old.