Outdoor column |  The Winkelers: Southern Illinois Sites Are Spectacular

Outdoor column | The Winkelers: Southern Illinois Sites Are Spectacular

We had the pleasure of exhibiting associates southern Illinois final week.

It is one among my favourite actions.

To start with, I’m happy with the pure magnificence that the area gives. And, there may be nothing higher than sharing this magnificence with those that will not be fortunate sufficient to dwell right here. Watching their reactions after they see the reflecting swimming pools at Bell Smith Springs or watching the solar go down over Kilos Hole Lake is priceless.

Second, taking part in tour information offers me a ready-made excuse to exit.

So Monday evening we visited Rim Rock and Kilos Hole within the Shawnee Nationwide Forest. I’ve hiked the Rim Rock path many occasions, however experiencing these cliffs by means of another person’s eyes supplies a lot wanted renewal.

As spectacular as Rim Rock is, these of us who dwell right here change into jaded and take it without any consideration. Listening to the oohs, ahs and feedback like “That is superb”, creates a reassuring context – this place is actually spectacular.

Individuals additionally learn…

Then we headed to Kilos Hole Lake. The hardwoods that populate the cliff on the west facet of the lake present their fall colours. Kilos Hole at all times jogs my memory of a small lake in Yellowstone or Yosemite. Visiting Kilos Hole through the waning hours of the solar solely enhances this notion.

If that seems like a near-perfect night in southern Illinois, it was shut. Nonetheless, it received higher. As we had been going to dinner, a bobcat crossed the highway proper in entrance of us.

It was a younger bobcat. In reality, at first I assumed it was a giant home cat. Nonetheless, as he crossed the highway, that bob tail grew to become seen. The bobcat sighting alone was sufficient to brighten my day, however add new recollections of Rim Rock and Kilos Hole to it…it simply would not get any higher.

We began Tuesday morning on the Backyard of the Gods, about 20 minutes earlier than dawn.

Once more, I had been to Backyard on the Gods dozens of occasions, however not at daybreak. I extremely advocate it.

The whole lot appeared totally different within the tender mild of daybreak… the lichen clinging to the sandstone had a phosphorescent glow, the shadows draping the sandstone formations appeared extra delicate.

Then, second by second, the solar rose greater within the sky, illuminating the large forest that surrounds Camel Rock, the defining function of the Backyard of the Gods. The early morning solar solid a superb glow towards the various shades of brown, orange, yellow, and purple of the burgeoning forest. The deep inexperienced of the residual pines was an ideal distinction.

It simply would not get higher…or, does it.

Lake Glen O. Jones being lower than 10 minutes away, it was added to our itinerary. By then the solar was nicely above the horizon, illuminating the lake like a highlight. There was only a trace of mist rising from the water.

On the way in which again to the Backyard of the Gods, we needed to sluggish our car down for a herd of about 10 black vultures feasting on a deer carcass in the midst of the highway. The vultures dispersed as we approached the deer.

That is after we discovered there was a bald eagle feeding with the vultures. The eagle flew away with the vultures, virtually filling the windshield with its snow-white feathers. This surprising commentary even left me speechless.

In just some hours outside, we had seen sufficient spectacular sights to fill a scrapbook…and we nonetheless had Bell Smith Springs on the agenda.

LES WINKELER is the outside author for The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at [email protected]on Twitter @LesWinkeler.

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