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Old 11-05-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
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Default Cache River State Natural Area, IL

Hereís a little blurb on the Cache River State Natural Area, DNR, ďDespite intensive efforts to convert land along the Cache River to cropland, the land that today makes up the Cache River State Natural Area has managed to hold onto some of the highest quality aquatic and terrestrial natural communities remaining in Illinois,,,, It is within southern Illinois that north meets south and east meets west. With its diversity of soils, bedrock and landforms, the Cache River Valley contains four distinct ecological regions. Its hodgepodge of ecological factors has resulted in a collage of natural communities, each with its own unique assemblage of physical attributes, plants and animalsÖ Not surprisingly, people have rallied to protect the Cache River watershed. The National Park Service has designated two National Natural Landmarks within its borders - Bottomland Swamp and Heron Pond. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has identified three Nature Preserves here - Section 8 Woods, Heron Pond-Wildcat Bluff and Little Black Slough - and registered 10,367 acres of the area's 14,791 acres in the Land and Water Reserve Program. These designations assure that the site management will emphasize restoration and preservation of the area's natural characteristics
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Hereís info on the trails, http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R5/CCR/ccr_hikingfacts.pdf and hereís a map of em, http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R5/CCR/ccr_hikingmap.pdf. If youíre going to Cache RiverÖ. print off the trails and the map because once youíre out thereÖ. it get a little confusing and some of the trail heads donít have any maps.
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These 1000 year old trees can be seen from the Big Cypress Tree trail where we met 1 of the slap happiest and sweetest people of our whole trip. We were a little disoriented because we didnít have any maps. I was in the parking lot and saw the DNR truck driving by and literally started jumping up and down and waving my arms. He threw his truck in reverse and drove in by us. He walked with us down the Big Cypress Tree trail and personally shared some of the history of the region with us then let us follow behind him to the area we were trying to get to. He probably saved us about an hourís time driving around in circles!!!
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Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0979.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0981.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0982.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0983.jpg  
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:39 PM   #2
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This is the head of the trail we took a portion of a hike through. Itís the Little Black Slough trail and itís about 5.5 mile long.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #3
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Although beautiful, we decided to take a pass on the rest of the Little Black Slough trail because this year was a little too dry. A severe drought definitely benefits a wetlands but…. not the people visiting. It was hard getting a “feel” for the area. Next time….
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I like taking photos of mushrooms. Even if I don't know what they are or if my photos don't turn out that good. I'm attracted to them for their simple beauty of them.
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Just a heads up on the Cache River’s “international” importance, Cache River, Southern Illinois Little River Research & Design, “The Cache River Basin in southern Illinois is a unique ecosystem holding important wetlands, including one of only sixteen in the United States listed by the United Nations’ UNESCO division as wetlands of “international importance.” Before logging and conversion to agriculture, over 240,000 acres (97,124 ha) of the Cache River’s watershed were covered with cypress-tupelo (Taxodium distichum, Nyssa aquatica L.) swamps. Today, the area holds two of the largest cypress trees in the United States and some of the oldest living cypress trees known. The Cache River Watershed in southern Illinois has a complex natural history influenced by glaciation, perhaps tectonic events in the past 1,000 years, and certainly by radical alteration after European settlement.”
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Allow me to introduce anyone reading this thread to the Ramsar Convention, Ramsar Convention, “The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources… The Convention's mission is "the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world…At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” concept. The wise use of wetlands is defined as "the maintenance of their ecological character, achieved through the implementation of ecosystem approaches, within the context of sustainable development". "Wise use" therefore has at its heart the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources, for the benefit of humankind." Conservation AND wise use of wetlands and their resources>>>>? That’s a red flag to me. I dunno about anyone else but…. I don’t like all the “sustainable” use of our wilds and the exploitation of our natural resources going on in the name of “sustainable development” and I definitely don’t like seeing that the control of yet another chunk of our natural heritage was given to the UN. They don’t exactly have a great conservation track record any time there's a buck to be made.
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Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0986.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0990.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0991.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0993.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0994.jpg  

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #4
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The understory of this area was filled with Pawpaw trees. Critters had long ago eaten any fruit. I like the way their leaves droop.
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Our timing for visiting this area was off so we really werenít able to take enough photos to show the beauty of the area. Donít let any lack of photos deter you from visiting in spring time. I did find an organization online called Friends of the Cache, Friends of Cache River Watershed « Friends of the Cache River Watershed. They have some photos of the area that show off its beauty much better, Home - friendsofcache.org
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Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0995.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0996.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0997.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0998.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_1000.jpg  

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:49 PM   #5
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This plant caught my attention. Itís a Canebreak, Arundinaria gigantea, PLANTS Profile for Arundinaria gigantea (giant cane) | USDA PLANTS. It once covered thousands of acres of our bottomlands. You don't see it around me.... we did waste all our wetlands draining them years ago though. Itís the host plant for several species of butterfly with which I have zip nadda no familiarity, Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea).
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Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0987.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0988.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_0999.jpg  
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:51 PM   #6
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Turtles are always fun spotting. I get the biggest kick out of the way their little legs dangle.
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I've heard the Luna Moth is in the area. I've only seen it a few times in my life with the most recent sighting being up at 4B's house. If only I'd had my camera on me. It was on the side of her garage.
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Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_1001.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_1008.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_1014.jpg   Cache River State Natural Area, IL-img_1015.jpg  
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
We met 1 of the slap happiest and sweetest people of our whole trip. We were a little disoriented because we didn’t have any maps. I was in the parking lot and saw the DNR truck driving by and literally started jumping up and down and waving my arms. He threw his truck in reverse and drove in by us.
I had NO idea why a big ole burly guy just slammed on his brakes and threw it in reverse the way he did. I thought we were in for it BIG TIME!
I don't know if you caught it but I did a real quick about face and came to your rescue with the locking mechanism unset on the pepper spray ready for use in hand! I thought we were about to have ourselves a meet with one of those good ole boys.

He really was, once he started a talkin with us.
We're not very far from home but we're already hearing a bit of a southern twang a resonating from within.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:17 PM   #8
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I got a kick out of the tree knees.
Cache River State Natural Area, IL-p1000762.jpg
Some looked like grasping fingers.
Cache River State Natural Area, IL-p1000784.jpg
Once we found the correct location to take a walk about I found myself mesmerized by all sorts of things.
Cache River State Natural Area, IL-dscf7245.jpg
Somewhere way in along the trail we found an abandoned bike. Kind of got us to wondering what happened to the little tike that must have been riding it. OUT comes the pepper spray once again as the creepies begin to fill you with wonder.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Turtles are always fun spotting. I get the biggest kick out of the way their little legs dangle.
WHO spotted the turtles?
You were too much on the fly to see the pond at trails end to even take notice of them. When I pointed them out to you on the way out, In your rush for a close up you spooked them!
Cache River State Natural Area, IL-p1000790.jpg
Sure glad I captured a few shots previous to big foots entry!
Cache River State Natural Area, IL-p1000791.jpg
One thing I omitted telling you about was the beaver pond I spied while you were off and running ahead of me...
Cache River State Natural Area, IL-p1000802.jpg
My favorite area along that trail.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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By the way....We met up with the parents AND the child in tow on their return. All is well!
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