Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rim Rock National Recreational Trail

The last stop on our trip through Southern Illinois was in the Shawnee National Forest where the Rim Rock Trail is located.   That trail  is located on a natural escarpment or bluff and from that height we could see mush of the surrounding countryside as well as the valley spread out below us.  Halfway around the rim we came to a series of steps which took us down into a narrow rock passageway.
In this passageway we found ourselves surrounded by massive cliffs and huge boulders.
Fortunately, as I was about to snap the picture, two young children stepped into the passageway.  They were agreeable to be in the picture, which helped to give the picture some perspective.  We continued down more rock stairs until we reached the valley below.  There we found Ox-Lot Cave, a large rock bluff used in the 1890s by eastern logging enterprises to shelter livestock.  A fence was built in front of the cave, which created a corral.   In the back of the shelter is a spring that provided a watering hole for the animals.  Pictured below is the front of Ox-Lot Cave.  The immediate area around it is called Pounds Hollow, an old English term meaning "some sort of enclosure".
A cool running stream runs through the canyon and into Pounds Lake which is about 1/2 mile away.  Part of the enjoyment of our time on the Rim Trail were sightings of such wildflowers as violets, buttercups, and shooting stars (which are pictured below).  Unfortunately, because of the long winter, the wildflowers are just starting to come out.  In another week or so the trail should have an abundance them in bloom.

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