Project Leader: Tim Carroll Project Dates: 02/08/2011 - 05/15/2011 Phone: 208-608-6318 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2 TRACS teams here in Missouri have split. One crew heads east, over the Mississippi and one crew stays in Missouri. Myself, Mike and Rebecca have traveled to the Shawnee National Forest to roam the trails of Southern Illinois.
We arrived on Monday the 7th of March to a warm welcome from the people at the Forest Service Offices in Murphysboro and Jonesboro Illinois. The trails on the Shawnee National Forest so far have been very scenic and at this time of year, with no leaves on the trees, you can see much more of the landscape. The sandstone and limestone cliffs seem to pop up out of nowhere and the streams and springs are bubbling with life these days. Spring is just around the corner and the water can't flow unless there is rain. Mike, Rebecca and I have finished surveys on 7 trails so far this week and battled some interesting weather in the process. A steady dose of "spittin" rain, as Mike would say, has kept us on our toes thus far.
Southern Illinois is completely different from the rest of the state and is almost its own little region in itself. It used to be nicknamed Egypt during the 1800's, and includes places like the Lake of Egypt and Cairo. We’ve seen multiple wine vineyards dotted across the rural parts of the region and Rebecca has been educating us on the peach trees we’ve been seeing in some of the orchards nearby.
If you’re ever in Alto Pass Illinois, stop by the Root Beer Saloon. The owners make Root Beer Floats and home cooked food, sell antiques and have taxidermy everywhere. There are shelves full of spices and herbal remedies and they sell custom, handmade guitars made from wood that they harvest themselves from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Amazing folks and worth stopping by if you can somehow figure out their real store hours.
This hitch we've seen a wide variety of places on the Mississippi bluffs ranger district. We've completed surveys at Pomona Natural Bridge, the Lincoln/Douglas debate memorial site, White Pine Trail, Oakwood Bottoms, Inspiration Point, Little Grand Canyon, and the Shoreline Trail at Kinkaid Lake.
The snake migration is starting here soon and we hope to catch a glimpse of some slithery friends, from a distance of course. We got some great sunshine today and soon the hills and valleys will be alive with all kinds of excitement. We can’t wait to see what else this place has in store for us. Until the next update, enjoy the photos.