Walkin' With the Wild Woman

Come go for walk with the Wild Woman and see what you will find .....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sharing the Secret Spots

Thanks to years  and  years of burning boot  leather and wandering the public lands in southern Illinois I've been blessed to stumble into some pretty interesting and historical spots that are generally located off the beaten path. Some spots have historical significance, some have more significance as a spot where rare flora and fauna can be found.

One of the many little hidden waterfalls and pools  that  are scattered throughout the bluff region


One of the things that I truly  enjoy is being able to guide other photographers to some of these little known and hard to find photographic jewels. It's always a bit like seeing them for the first time all over  again when I take new person to the "secret spots".

Always fun to have a new set of eyes along and to see how other artists, naturalists, and photographers  interpret the area!


Since they are often rich in historical value, and many have already suffered damage from vandals and those who don't fully appreciate the historical or biological significance; I tend to screen folks closely. Yes I am indeed a bit protective of the spots. However it's it's only a rumor that I blindfold folks for the hikes in to some of the sites! 




It's been difficult to watch the vandalism that has occurred to this abandoned one room school. What once was a historical and well loved school building has become littered with graffiti, empty beer cans, and plenty of evidence that local young folks have found it to be a good place to hang and party. When I first discovered it, the interior walls were still intact, and a remnant of the blackboard and benches remained. No longer is that the case.


 I am especially protective of the hidden areas within the bluffs that contain small groups of petroglyphs and pictographs These areas are especially  significant and need protection. While some spots, such as Piney Creek Ravine and Millstone Bluff are open to the public and managed with trails and interpretive signs there are other areas that are not. Areas that are known only to those who burn the boot leather, climb the steep bluffs, and explore with not much more than a walking stick and compass.

Abandoned family cemeteries litter the steep bluffs in southern Illinois

The prickly pear cactus - one of Illinois  native cacti  that can also be found high on the arid bluff shelves

Spring fed waterfalls, creeks, and pools are easily found with a little footwork and research.

With a little research, a few phone calls, and visit or two to local libraries and watering holes, you too can find some of these out of the way spots. So, do some research with your Department of Natural Resources, the US Forest Service, local historical societies, and plan a a day to explore  the hidden gems in your own backyard!

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