Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nature Hike: The Perils of Carbondale

Many of you may know that I live in Southern Illinois. However, I'm not sure how many of you were aware of how "wild" parts of Southern Illinois are. But not to fear, I'm about to enlighten you.

This weekend, Sam and I went hiking in the little Grand Canyon. It's a 3.5-4 mile circular hike down a huge, steep hillside, through a creek bed, and back up another steep incline. On the way, there are a few overlooks that give some spectacular views.

For example, this view. Pretty cool.

The big views are hardly the reason Sam and I hike around here though.  Most of the trail is covered by trees and crowded with underbrush. And that's the easy part. Lots of places on the trail are literally just walking on the side of a cliff. The trail even goes straight down a tiered waterfall, with steps cut into the stone.  And, all of that is super cool too, but still not why Sam and I go hiking here.

Not kidding about the cliffs.

We go to hike the Little Grand Canyon because there are so many cool creatures there! Snakes, lizards, birds, fish, and a ton of toads and frogs! Everywhere you look, there are little animals. We're working on identifying some of them, but I think it's fun just to see them. Take this guy, for example. We saw three or four lizards of the same species, but this guy practically posed for a picture:

 "I'm sexy, and I know it."

And these fish came right up to us when we went to look at them. I hoped they just wanted to say "hi" like the animals in Snow White. When they all lunged for the rock I tossed in the water, we figured out it's probably just because they thought they were going to be fed...

Feeding wild fish probably isn't the best idea...

However, there is also danger lurking in the woods! We almost got eaten by a cottonmouth!!!! (Okay, fine. I'm not 100% sure this is a cottonmouth. And it also did not lunge, threaten, or bother us in anyway. We didn't even get closer than five feet to it. And it's definitely too small to eat us. But still. It COULD be dangerous!)

Look at him! Definitely, possibly venomous!

It was certainly an adventure. It's nice to be able to drive twenty minutes and be somewhere kinda wild. And that place, surprisingly enough happens to be in Southern Illinois.

Anyway, I have nothing else for you, except this cave that looks like a face going "aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh":

A big cave mouth, and little cave eyes!

 'Til next time!


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