December 16, 2010
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Oh No, Freezing Rain!
As I write tonight an ice storm is rolling its way through Southern Illinois. We hover just in the freezing range, but have missed the worst of it. The sidewalk and porch have a thin layer of ice. It’s a good time just to be inside a nice warm house and to let the road crews and nature do their jobs.
Back to Monday
This Monday I headed out again after the blizzard like conditions of Sunday. The temperatures were still frigid, but I suited up with the previous days outfit and was ready to go again.
Unlike Sunday, the sun had returned, making the scene outside seem less threatening. The temps were still dangerous though and the windchill would plummet into the negative digits. The snow outside was patchy, because of the winds reshaping of the landscape. Snow drifts several feet deep piled up along small hillsides. The roads were in much better shape and allowed for easy traveling on the main roads.
Look Out! No Brakes?
As I started my vehicle I noticed that my brake light was staying on. I had used them quite a bit during Sunday’s adventure to Ferne Clyffe. I checked the fluid and it was a little above the minimum line. Crude! I was going to miss out on some of the first snow photos of the year. I drove to the auto parts store and bought some brake fluid. After putting it in I cranked the truck over and thankfully the light went off. Hooray!!! Crisis averted and no money put out for a service bill.
Headed to Burden
After this brief delay, I decided to head over to Burden Falls. I had heard that it might be froze over. I took the main roads right up until the gravel road turnoff for the area. The road was in terrible shape. I drove four wheel-gripping miles on snow packed gravel. The scenery along the way was beautiful. Light was filtering through the forest making the snow glisten like millions of diamonds.
I arrived at Burden Falls and noticed that the upper cascades were halfway frozen. I ventured to the brink of the falls and saw sections of it frozen. I made the loop around and photographed and filmed the white jacket of snow that blanketed the boulders around the falls. It was so fluffy that I hated to disrupt nature’s artwork by using the rocks as handholds for navigating the area.
An hour passed by and soon I was back up to my truck putting my camera equipment away. That is when I noticed the detachable bottom part of my tripod was missing. The stem that allows one to raise and lower the camera was gone and along with it one of the two tripod heads that I carry with me.
The last place that I could remember using it was Sunday at Ferne Clyffe when I had filmed the video for the previous blog post. Crude, again! My plans changed instantly, because I knew there was at least $80 of equipment in the snow somewhere.
I made the slow drive back to Goreville and tried to figure out the probability of the items still being there. As I headed back down the trail that I explored yesterday, I saw only my half-filled footprints. That was a good sign. I went to where I filmed the snowfall and did not find anything. I followed my tracks down to the creek and there is was frozen to the ground. Yeah!!.
I took the opportunity to explore the waterfall creek. After last nights frigid temps, the creek had begun to freeze. I took out my camcorder and started to film, but I noticed with the sun being out that the light was rather harsh. I decided to zoom in and film more intimate shots. I found areas were air holes would cause bubbles to form under the ice. On one section the bubbles formed cell-like structures and I found myself mesmerized by what shapes would form and what would come next. It was like watching a scientific show were they show human cells under a microscope. Very Cool!
I did not want to leave, but other appointments called and as I looked at my watch I was going to be late if I did not leave now. I packed me equipment up and was glad for the series of events that had led me back to Ferne Clyffe.
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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. Although this post talks and shows video of a person hiking alone, it is the best policy to always have a hiking partner. 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.