La-Rue Pine Hills – Winter Photo Challenge

December 30, 2010

Missed the last post?  Click here to Christmas at Giant City State Park.

The Day After

La-Rue Pine Hills LimestoneThe day after Christmas I awoke around 7am and headed out once again into the Shawnee Hills.  Like yesterday, I would be limited on time.  My brother would be the guest pastor at one of the local churches and I had to be there at 10:30 am.

This represented another photo challenge  and I ticked off the places in my mind that would have an abundance of photogenic scenery in a compact area.  The previous day at Giant City had produced some interesting photos with the shelters and bridges being great subject matter.  My mind naturally drifted to Trail of Tears State Forest.  It met the criteria I was looking for, not to far of a drive, and some of the most beautiful shelters in Southern Illinois.

Wrong Place?

The further I drove south, the less snow there was.  I might have chose the wrong area today.  As I pulled  in the snow was patchy and not the fluffy, airy snow of yesterday.  I got out took only a couple of photos and looked at my watch.  It was around 8:45 am.  I decided I should have enough time to travel the short distance to Pine Hills and drive down Snake Road that parallels the largest limestone bluffs in the Shawnee Hills.

When I arrived I was once again not thrilled because of  the lack of snow.  It was a beautiful area, but today I was just not seeing any photogenic places.  After travelling Snake Road I came upon the Big Muddy Levee Rd and stopped and thought about where to go next.

Tick-Tock

La-Rue Pine Hills winding streamTime was running out.  I headed towards Route 3.  I had decided to see if any eagles where out and about.  While driving down the road, I soon was convinced this would not be the best use of my limited time, so I did a 5-point turnaround and headed back to Pine Hills.

Okay, I was now on my to Inspiration Point Trail.  This trail is probably hands down my most favorite short trail in all of Southern Illinois.  The views toward the Mississippi floodplain off the towering limestone bluffs is a must for every Southern Illinoisan.  I find myself coming back in every season.  I honestly did not think I would be able to photograph any decent images, but as I gazed over the distant snow-dusted landscape I knew that I had chosen wisely.  The contrast between the white of snow and the darken colors of the streams below were awesome.  I perched myself upon a portion of the bluff and discovered a great view of the limestone against the bare trees of winter.

Time Over

I continued to several viewpoints and soon realized that I was pressing my luck on time.  There were several more viewpoints that I would not be able to photography today, but I knew that my time was over and that I had to make it to my brother’s sermon.  I got in my truck and  headed out towards were a portion of Pine Hills had caught on fire in October.  With the dusting of snow one could barely tell that it had occurred.  I soon pulled up into the church parking lot at 10:26 am and was glad I had taken the opportunity to explore the Shawnee Hills in winter.

Photos – La-Rue Pine Hills

La-Rue Pine Hills Winter

La-Rue Pine Hills Winter

La-Rue Pine Hills Pond

La-Rue Pine Hills Pond

La-Rue Pine Hills Stream
La-Rue Pine Hills Stream
La-Rue Pine Hills Trees

La-Rue Pine Hills Trees

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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.