Sunday, May 13, 2018

And Yes, Southern Illinois is Indeed What I Expected: Flat


  1. If you think that Southern Illinois is flat then you didn't go south enough.

    Try Illinois 127 from Murphysboro to Jonesboro. For extra credit, turn off of I127 at Alto Pass and visit Cobden.

    If you're nuts, try it after a snowstorm.


  2. The glacial lakebeds in Southern Illinois are indeed, very flat. They were mostly cleared of bottomland timber and converted to row-crop agriculture before the Swamp Busting law came along. The mosquitoes can carry you away if you have to go into the timber when there has been a bit of rain. It can give you chills just remembering a bad day with skeeters. Best part of these areas is seeing big cherrybark and pin oaks, and in the fall finding the ground under shellbark hickories covered with nuts. Shellbark nuts in the hull are almost the size of baseballs, and when there is a good crop walking through them can be difficult. Foresters live and die by the soil maps no matter what part of the country we live in. The Conservation Reserve Program has encouraged many landowners to put trees back onto many areas that are too wet for farming. That has been a joy.

  3. I remember when my wife and I drove from Virginia to Idaho when we moved here in 2011--our only cross-country trip to date. Our friends in Dayton had told us to watch for the change in terrain from rolling hills and kind of rough terrain to utterly flat and featureless plains, marking the extent of the glaciation during the worst ice age. They were right. It was like night and day, within the space of a couple of miles.