Monday, August 11, 2014

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

We are again parked in Southern Illinois, by Crab  Orchard Lake.  However, our stay here has been brief and we are planning on moving north tomorrow.   We would like to find an area of cooler temperatures, if that is possible.  We have also come to observe that campgrounds may not be the desirable place for us, as we are more apt to have to deal with smokey campfires and flying tiny critters.  RV parks are a bit more to our liking, especially during the summertime.   The humidity was quite high yesterday when we hiked on one of the trails of Crab Orchard Refuge.  John had read that the Rocky Bluff Trail in the park had beautiful scenery with intermittent waterfalls and sandstone cliffs.  The refuge brochure also warned about steep, rocky sections on the trail- I took a walking stick with me, but used it more for swinging it in the air around me to ward off flying insects!  I must say however, it was still a pleasant hike because of the trees along the trail which offered us plenty of shade.
We saw many places along the trail where there could possibly be waterfalls.  The area had a heavy soaking rain the night before, so where were the waterfalls?  We postulated that in the refuge the rain must drain off quickly into Grassy Creek, we probably had to be there during a rainstorm to see the waterfalls.
As we neared the end of the trail our path was overgrown with weeds, which is not a surprise to us anymore as we continue to find parks all over our country not kept up due to lack of funding.  As we crossed a bridge we thought we had come to the end of our hike, as you can see in the picture below.
However, we did find a small open area where we could step around the overgrowth and continue on our way.   Rocky Bluff Trail is supposed to have some of the best scenery in the park, and it was as beautiful as promised with its large rock formations and shady glens. Not a bad place to be on a hot summer day!

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