Friday, July 18, 2014

Shawnee & Southern IL

I have so many topics I could probably talk about but will try not to make this too long :). 

I woke up early on Wednesday, maybe 6:30ish. Actually I woke up during the night at like 12:30.  All the insects had quieted and I could tell the moon was up high because I looked out and could see the trees and everything (food still there) whereas when I went to sleep it was pitch black. In the morning, all the food and garbage was still outside my tent. No foragers - yay!

I packed up and hiked back to the car where I switched to a lighter pack and hike the loop trail I just camped on. 

As I hiked I kept smelling the summer sausage. It is a strong smell and had been in my tent on my hat for a while (albeit in a ziplock bag). As I got back to the car, I took a whiff of my hat....hmm not the culprit. I notice I was sure sweating on that hike...maybe....(sniff, sniff)...OH MAN!! It's ME! I smell like summer sausage! I had probably five pieces Monday night and only two Tuesday night. I think the rest will be wasted. I cannot go around reeking of summer sausage. So gross! But I do love these nuggets of random knowledge that you get from trial and error. :)

I drove further south and aired myself out along the way. I visited Cave in a Rock State Park. Pirates use to run on the river and this was a haunt of theirs. It's a huge cave on the side of the river. Pretty cool and weird to think it wouldn't collapse. I went on to the next town, Elizabethtown (Etown), for lunch on a floating restaurant on the river. I had the river catfish snack (they fish fresh from the river) and hush puppies and some fried pickles. I was surprised the southern accent of the girl working the register :). 

Next I tried to find War Bluff. A friend (Brad) recommended it actually as a good camping spot. However I never found it :). It was hard to find online and the park office was able to tell me the area but not exactly how to get there. I did find War Bluff Sanctuary for bird lovers. It has lots of trails and was off the beaten path for sure. It also offers a fun restroom stop that I gladly took advantage of. The trails didn't excite me too much though and I wanted to move on to the next place. 

From here I headed west to another state park at the Cache River. I actually went to Heron Pond (near Belknap, IL). There are trails by the river and forest which are pretty normal but then you get to the pond. It's full of cypress trees and the pond is green with little leaf plants that help to clean/filter the water. There was a lot about the wetlands, how important they are and how much we've destroyed them (oops!). The trail continues on the pond on a boardwalk and it is quiet and peaceful out there. 

I headed further west and a little north back to a campground in Shawnee. I'll save that camping story for my next post ;). 

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