Hello to all,
Along with seeing snakes, birds, staying in a beautiful 1920s house and enjoying southern Illinois, we took a guided canoe tour of the Cache River Swamp area. Best $5 each we've spent in a long time. Couples, friends, a family with 3 special needs kids, and two guides took us into the swamp. We entered the only area of Illinois where Cypress trees thrive. The water was a clear dark brown and bright green duck weed floated on top. The buttonwood bushes, normally lush with growth were spikes of dull brown (the late frost really hit hard). Where birds would be hiding, snakes waiting for frogs to cruise by, spiders spinning elaborate webs, there was little indication of life. Our guide expressed worry about the survival of many species of animals in the swamps because the buttonwoods were a vital part of the ecology of the area.
Mary and I decided to hang to the rear and let the canoe loads of people go ahead. We saw a large water snake and a near seven foot king snake. Birds were everywhere, golden finches, red wing blackbirds, herons and many more I can't name. For us the real thrill was the bald eagle (yep, bald eagle) that soared above us like he was showing off his grace and mastery of the air.
We paddled through a maze of waterways into Heron Pond and Eagle Pond, we saw the State Champion Bald Cypress tree. A low buzzing sound drew our attention to a hole high in a tree. Thousands of bees came and went from the bee tree. We saw Cypress 209, named that for the counted 209 knees that stood from the water.
Our eyes were open for other wildlife without any luck. Still it was a fantastic experience in an unlikely place. Swamp in southern Illinois. We thank Stephanie A. for the heads up about this place.
Check out the pics now.
First view of the swamp.
Sun through the stunted buttonwood bushes.
The sign to the State Champion Bald Cypress, Cache River, and Heron pond.
Line of canoes in Heron Pond.
Cave in the trunk of a huge cypress tree.
Cypress #209. Check out all its knees sticking out of the water. There are even more under the water.