Bell Smith Springs – The Winter Return – Part One

January 11, 2010

Missed our summer post on Bell Smith Springs?  Click here to read.

– by Gary Marks

SNOW DAY!

Bell Smith Springs - Grand StaircaseNot really, I already had the day off, the snow was just a welcome addition.  Last night Jim Rasor (a local weatherman) declared there would be 1-2 inches of snow on the ground.  As I went to bed, I was becoming skeptical on whether there would be anything substantial.

Waking up this morning, we were greeted by at least an inch, but I really didn’t know how much snow there was until I began cleaning off my vehicle.  I took a broom and swept most of the white stuff from the windshield and the hood.  My mood became more upbeat.

Let’s Go

I was ready to go, but I was not sure where I should go.  The secondary roads would be slick.  This winter I had previously visited Ferne Clyffe, Giant City, La-Rue Pine Hills, Pomona Natural Bridge, and Burden Falls.  Bell Smith Springs was, also, on this list, but at the time there were only icicles, no snow.  Decision made, back to Bell Smith.

The main roads were clear, so I took the long in hopes of saving time.  The last four miles though would all be gravel and that would mean that I would have to kick in the 4WD.  Fresh tire tracks led the way off the main road, but as I entered the Forest above Burden Falls the tracks disappeared and I would be the one breaking new ground.

The Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase - Bell Smith SpringsI soon was parking at the trail head and got my tripod, cameras, and camcorder ready.  I was bundled up and would remain comfy for the rest of the day.

There was a list of areas I wanted to photograph, so I started at what I have previously referred to as the Grand Staircase.  I wanted a similar photo of the staircase from above as last spring.  I spent some time composing and decided I wanted a good shot from below, but I didn’t want to have footprints appear in the photo so I backtracked and descended into the canyon via Jay Gap and circled around.

The staircase from the bottom was even more photogenic than from the top.  I took several photos and had trouble lining the snow-laden steps with the camera, but with a little time it seemed to all click together.

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Click here to read Part Two – Devils Backbone

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Disclaimer

The author and Shawnee Hills Outdoors disclaim any liability or loss incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application on any information contained in this blog. If you do attempt to explore any of these areas make sure you are have the proper knowledge to survive in the woods, do not rely on a cellphone for help. Please check ranger stations and park superintendents for latest information regarding these areas. This website is for entertainment only.

About Gary Marks

Explore - Photograph - Live. Three words that describe my love of nature. These photos and articles are my small attempt to bring to others the great "undiscovered" beauty of Southern Illinois and beyond. It is my hope that you will view this website and leave with a better understanding of the area and will motivate you to get outside where ever you live and explore your own backyard.

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