Tag Archives: rock falls illinois

Small Towns outside of Siouxland, Rock Falls, IL

4 Oct

A park near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like visiting small towns when I get out and about outside of Siouxland. Some places I knew when I was younger and it’s always interesting to see how places have changed. Many cities and small towns these days are trying to give their residents and community a little better environment to enjoy even if it’s only a few acres compared to what was there in the past. I don’t have a recollection much of Rock Falls, IL other than it sat across the Rock River from Sterling, IL which housed a wire mill for a few decades. But like so many communities, that business and those workers are all part of history. The river appears nicer than it did in younger days of the two communities with work being done to provide some recreation if only visually with a few amenities which might also benefit visitors and tourists.

A former wire mill sits across the river near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Art along the riverfront near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art work scattered about along with benches to sit and enjoy the ambiance is a nice touch. Whether or not these are taken advantage of it’s hard to say having only passed through. But it’s nice to see the gesture and attempt made to enhance communities. A number of people were enjoying fishing along the Rock River as the day’s light faded. I’m not certain what is there to catch these days.

A man fishes in from the back near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The falls of the Rock River that flows between Sterling and Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I spent maybe 30-40 minutes walking along the river front and enjoying the evening before finding a nice Thai restaurant with excellent food nearby which made for a nice end to a day. A saying states one can never go home, but sometimes visiting works. Some places I remember more than others, but as a child one never really gives much thought to places I believe, unless there is a really special reason too. I remember the mills along the river and dismay when they closed eliminating jobs with substantial pay as factories throughout much of the country were shipped south and overseas. So the quality of life made with good wages now seems supplanted with a quality of life through pleasant places to spend part of a day or evening. On balance who knows if one is better than the other.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Art along the riverfront near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown and along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Walk Outside of Siouxland, Hennepin Canal Parkway, Rock Falls, IL

10 Sep

A walk and bike trail along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent trip I had a little time to stretch my legs after a bit of a drive and decided to check out the Hennepin Canal Parkway near where I was staying. For a later summer’s walk the temperature was not terrible or the humidity. I had checked out the Hennepin Canal Parkway a few years ago when visiting some relatives. The canal travels a bit of a distance, and for bike riders that gives them a good ride on even ground. I saw a couple headed out as I was walking back to my vehicle. And the gravel pathway, more for bicyclists than walkers was nice to get the heart rate up a bit.

The Parkway’s site states:

“Constructed from 1892 to 1907, the Hennepin Canal played an important role in U.S. history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Hennepin was the first American canal built of concrete without stone cut facings. Although the Hennepin enjoyed limited success as a commercial and industrial waterway, its construction involved a number of engineering innovations, and its waterway, locks, aqueducts and adjoining towpath continue to provide a beautiful recreational resource.

The towpath provides 155 miles of hiking/biking fun from the Illinois River to the Rock River, with the feeder canal path to Rock Falls.  Segments of the trails are open to horseback riding and snowmobiling in season.  Fishing along the Hennepin is outstanding, and the canal is open to boating and canoeing (locks are no longer operational and must be portaged).  Campgrounds and day use areas are located all along the canal.”

I knew I wasn’t going to go any distance and kept stopping every wee bit to photograph, so maybe I didn’t get my heart rate up that much. But I really enjoyed the light play and reflection coming off the water in the canal.

Reflections in the water along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Reflections in the canal seen from a walk/bike trail path along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The part of the canal I walked is surrounded by trees and farm fields. I was lucky to have a nice sunny, blue sky kind of day as well. I am certain had I waited around, I might have gotten some nice sunset light, but water, trees, damp soil and I knew I would be mosquito bait just waiting to happen.

A meadow scene along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The afternoon early evening light though created some nice scenes and allowed me to play with light and shade. Something I can enjoy anywhere, as long as the sun cooperates.

The Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Backlit leaf along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

But as I walked along the canal the water seemed to become more active and I started seeing more light refraction that to me became more intriguing as I walked along. And while my heart rate wasn’t racing from my causal walk, I realized I needed to stop and head back, otherwise I would be in the next county, having taken hundreds of water photos of water reflections. Patience and discernment is sometimes necessary as I walk and shoot photos. On trips one can never go back again, but then again, shooting tons of photos doesn’t help the eye become better at creating a photograph one might consider a keeper, if just for oneself, as well as avoiding a half day spent editing. Being practical is important too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Reflections in the canal seen from a walk/bike trail path along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Reflections in the canal seen from a walk/bike trail path along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

 

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