The Wheel Is Turning And You Can't Slow Down 4/4 - 4/13
Submitted by tcarroll.corps on Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:38
During our last stretch of days off, we took in some culture provided by Rustle Hills Winery. There are approximately 15 - 20 vinyards and winery's in the surrounding counties and most have live music several nights a week. We watched the Kevin Lucas Orchestra on Saturday night and went right back on Sunday for Open Mic Night. Good Times.
On Monday, April 4, we awoke expecting to head out to the most eastern reaches of the Shawnee National Forest. We were mistaken as tornado watches, heavy rain and lightning for most of the day delayed our start. Tuesday, we made it out to Pine Ridge Campground at Pounds Lake. The sun was shining and after setting up camp, we hit the trail near the Pounds Lake dam. The forest is starting to kick into spring mode now and if you look hard enough you can almost watch the plants growing. We tried our hand at some off trail map and compass navigation and had good success in finding our way over the ridges.
We made a jaunt back to finish a couple of trails in Lusk Creek Wilderness on Wednesday. It was our last time to be in Lusk Creek and we hiked about 15 miles to finish the few distant trails still needing surveys. This Wilderness has dealt out a couple of rough hands to us at times, but it's been well worth it for the scenery and pristine condition that much of it displays.
Over the next 2 days we got to as many places as we could within a 20 mile radius of Pounds Lake. The ridges and hollers are full of life and we saw wild turkey, deer, hawks, eagles and birds of all sort, hundreds of insects, salamanders, frogs, fish, turtles, snakes, and oh yeah, the wildflowers!
Saturday we stayed in Carbondale in anticipation of a Government shutdown. Thankfully it was averted and due to the diligence and hard work of all the SCA staff in Boise and in New Hampshire, we had a plan and a place to stay in the event of a furlough.
On Sunday the wheel was turning again when we went back to find the trail we had lost at Hutchins creek. This time was a success and we stopped to have lunch along the creek near the trailhead. Another great day and it's safe to say that the dogwood winter has set in. The bright, white flowers stick out like sore thumbs on these trees and the forest is starting to turn into a lush green backdrop for all the colors now.
Bald Knob Wilderness was our next stop, and what an amazing place it is.
The cross was erected during the early 1960's and stands hundreds of feet high, overlooking the rolling countryside of Southern Illinois. The hiking trails near the cross are a popular spot for mushroom hunters and we met several of them while we were out that day.
Monday was a good day to catch up on reports and administrative tasks as the weather turned nasty again.
Our last 2 days this hitch took us to Cedar Lake. Amazing sandstone cliffs greeted us as we followed the Cove Hollow Trail on Tuesday. As we wound our way along the lakeshore, we had a great time soaking up the sun, watching waterfalls and hopping across streams most of the day.
We finished our hitch on Wednesday with another exploration of the Cedar Lake area. After a formidable 4wd road and a little trouble shooting with the GPS, we were able to pick up where we had left off the day before.
We made our way to Harrisburg IL in the afternoon to drop some data on the folks at the Forest Service Supervisors Office.
It's been a long hitch and again seems like a blur when it's all said and done, but the good times keep coming and "every time that wheel turns round, we're bound to cover just a little more ground."
Trails surveyed this hitch:
Hutchins Creek Spur - 1.37 miles,
Bald Knob - 1.61 miles,
Bald Knob West - 1.59 miles,
Cedar Lake Trail - 2.58 miles,
Little Cedar Loop - 1.52 miles,
Cove Hollow Trail - 3.73 miles,
Lusk Creek - 1.27 miles,
Little Lusk Creek - 1.92 miles,
County Line Trail - 1.74 miles,
Circle Rock Trail - 1.66 miles,
Grindstaff Trail - 2.49 miles,
Trail 164A - 0.56 miles,
Trail 187 - 0.39 miles,
Trail 181 - 0.52 miles:
Total - 22.9 miles surveyed this hitch.