Waiting for Christmas Snow?

December 23, 2010

Missed last week post?  Click here to read Freeze Time in Southern Illinois.

Hawk Cave - Ferne ClyffeMerry Christmas!

Can you feel it?  Christmas is getting closer no matter if we are ready for it or not.  As for many of us it seems like it rolls through faster and faster each year.  It seems like just yesterday I was trampling around the Shawnee Hills marveling at the brilliant fall colors.  Wow!

Our first snow and freezing rain of last week is slowly fading into memory.  Wasn’t that ice a pain in the rear?  I’ve never been a big fan of ice.  Snow you can get around in after a while, but that darn ice just seems to linger and makes even a 4WD bow to its slick authority.  It still could have been much worse.  Was anyone around for the 2008 and 2009 ice storms?  Yuck!

Now the question is are you ready for the second snowfall of the year?  Or is that what they are still calling for?  It seems like they will not know until it’s  right on top of us.  Many of us will be traveling and are wishing for little to no snow.  I am of the camp that says bring it on.

Icefalling at Jackson Falls

Jackson Falls Area - Unnamed FallsAfter last weeks wintry weather this weeks just seems quite boring, but was it?  I went to check out Jackson Falls located between Ozark and Eddyville.  I once again was hoping to see some icefalls, but the weather had not stayed cold for very long so I didn’t know what to expect.

The gravel road down to the falls still had patches of ice and some areas were rather slippery.  It might be a good sign.  I parked at the trail-head and made my way  to the brink of the falls.  It was really hard to tell from that angle so I had to walk a little ways along the edges of the bluff.  I found a clearing and was disappointed to see just running water.  Darn!  One good point was that most of the large boulders below the plunge pool still held snow.  It accentuated the textures and patterns of the boulders and was a nice sight to behold, but as I tried to photograph and film the scene I knew that it was something that I just would not be able to capture properly.

I continued around the bluff to where another less visited waterfall made its home.  I was not holding out much hope for it.  This part of the canyon area was hid away from the sun most of the day and snow still held fast on the network of boulders below.  I was within sight of the falls and was truly thrilled to see that it was a complete icefall!  This would be the first full frozen waterfall that I have seen of the year.  Although not as impressive as Jackson Falls it held its own this day and I was happy to have encountered it.

Devils Backbone - Bell Smith SpringsBurden Falls & Bell Smith

After visiting Jackson I headed over to Burden Falls just a short distance up the road.  I had been there last week a day after the wind whipping snow event.  The video below is from that day (December 13, 2010).  A week later, Burden was still not fully frozen and most of the snow had receded.

I decided to check out Bell Smith Springs as the sun popped out and the earth warmed to the mid-40’s.  This was like a heat wave compared to last week.  The cool thing about this place was that once I was down in the canyon everywhere I  looked there was humongous icicle.  At Devils Backbone I could hear the thunderous booms of these giants plummeting to the ground.

Bell Smith Springs

I headed to the old grist mill section and found the cascade area to be partially frozen.  I was hoping that I could capture some interesting footage of the area, but once again found it hard to put the place into perspective.  As I hiked back to the trail head, I was still in a great mood, because I had once again spent another fascinating day in the Shawnee Hills.


The photos included in this post were all taken over the last week.  Although I would not consider any of them fantastic, I did enjoy being out in this new wintry environment.  To find out where they were taken just roll your mouse over the photo.

Ferne Clyffe State ParkFacebook & E-mail

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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. 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.

Video – Burden Falls