When hiking, you never know where the trail will take you. It’s an adventure, to explore, discover and learn. A few weekends ago my family and I met some friends for a weekend of hiking. My friends live in Iowa and we live in Indiana so we met in the middle. Illinois, Starved Rock State Park, to be exact. There has been a lot of rain this summer, so the waterfalls are flowing nicely. Surprisingly it wasn’t very muddy. No matter, I think my daypack contained anything I could have possible needed including spare socks. Any experienced hiker knows even a great trail can be ruined if you don’t have the proper gear. Our hiking group was made up of four adults, one teen, two ten-year old girls, and one infant. With this group, you need to be prepared for anything. Other than a hot day and tired kids, the day was pretty uneventful. We put in a nice day of hiking and had a picnic lunch when we returned to the visitor’s center.
The real adventure began the next morning. I took the advice of one of the rangers at Starved Rock and checked into a smaller state park in the area, Matthiessen State park. My boyfriend and I hit the trails, while our friends hit a nearby waterpark with the kids. We only had an hour so we grabbed our daypacks and hit the trails. We quickly discovered rushing was a mistake. We did not change into hiking boots or grab our trekking poles. We had figured that with only an hour to hike, we would not really get that much in and would not need the gear. WRONG!
What we discovered was amazing. The tails were well marked and beautiful. The terrain took you across bridges with breathtaking valleys and beautiful waterfalls. Inside the valley walkways across the river were made of down branches, large rocks or in some spots man made concrete stepping stones. We found caves and rock carvings, and a park that we can’t wait to visit again. Although our shoes and socks were soaked there was one piece of gear I was thankful to have on. My Columbia Global adventure pants. I had chosen them for comfort on the long drive home. But they were my saving grace on the trails. The long pants protected my legs from brush on the trails and mud in the caves. The material is thin and cool which allowed me to be comfortable even on the hot summer day. They also roll into Capri’s which was great when crossing the river. The durability of these pants made them a must have in my closet and the reason I as happy to find that they are still available.
This pair I have had for four year and countless miles of hiking and they still look brand new. Our next trip to Matthiessen State park, I will definitely be wearing these pants and some waterproof hiking boots.