Turtles? Yup. Wood ducks? Yup. Snakes? Nope...
Well, it seemed like a good idea...
The Other Half and yours truly went on our latest Pandemic Date last Sunday afternoon. The adventure was kind of a mix of work and pleasure.
Well, I say “work” only if one considers taking photographs to fall into that category. Seems like what I do really isn’t “work.” Teachers work. Emergency services personnel work. Nurses work. I take photographs and write stories. Work? Not so much.
Anyway, I wanted to get a photograph or two of the Big Muddy River, which, surprise, is flooding. Again. Almost seems like the same old story.
So, last Sunday afternoon, the two of us took advantage of the sunny and mild weather and motored to the river bottomlands in western Union County, a journey which took us through the Trail of Tears State Forest to Illinois Route 3 at Wolf Lake.
We headed north on Route 3 to the Union-Jackson County Line...where the Big Muddy River just happens to be.
Yes, the river was indeed flooding. The Big Muddy was high, but we’ve seen it higher. We stopped and parked the car on the Jackson County side of the levee along the Big Muddy and walked down to the river’s edge. As is usually the case, the Big Muddy River looked a bit muddy.
After our visit to see the river, we figured that as long as we were in the vicinity of Snake Road at nearby LaRue-Pine Hills, we would pay a visit.
As you probably know, the U.S. Forest Service closes Snake Road in the spring and in the fall so critters can make a twice-a-year migration.
The closing of the road garners lots of attention, and, as we were about to see on a nice Sunday afternoon in March, lots of visitors.
One way to get to Snake Road from Route 3 involves a journey along a gravel road situated atop the levee along the Big Muddy River. To tell you the truth, I was surprised at the number of vehicles which we saw. And some folks sure were driving fast on the gravel road.
We took our time and admired the scenery from atop the levee. We saw a number of wood ducks (the males are particularly colorful, striking birds)...and turtles...lots...and lots...and lots of turtles. Big turtles. Not so big turtles. On logs in the muddy water, basking in the warm sunshine.
As I noted, there sure was a lot of traffic on the levee road. We figured they were all headed to Snake Road. Going to see the snakes, which was what we had in mind. Given the heavy traffic, we decided that there would probably be way too many folks at Snake Road.
So, we crossed the north/south railroad tracks which go on a bridge across the east/west (more or less) river and the east/west (more or less) levee road, turned around, and headed back in the direction of Route 3, where we saw even more traffic.
After a brief jaunt on Route 3, the driver (me) decided to try one other route back to Snake Road, along LaRue Road. There didn’t seem to be much traffic on the road, so maybe we would have better luck. Nope.
Our plans for a Sunday afternoon visit to Snake Road didn’t pan out. But we did get to see lots of turtles. And we even got home in time for The Other Half to still get in a Sunday afternoon nap.