Thursday, April 17, 2014

4-17-2014 Pecumsaugan Creek- Nature Preserve-

I want to start by saying this hike needed special permission from the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission in Springfield Illinois.  There are some old mines located on the property that are home to 5 species of endangered bats.  I had to apply to the State for a permit.  I did this more than a month in advance.  This area is also used for hunting in the fall.

With permit it hand we started on the short flat stretch.  We all went either under the gate or around.  About a 1/2 mile in we saw another grass parking lot.  I'm guessing this is used for the hunters.  Along the way we did see this coyote.  He didn't fair so well.
 I know it seems kind of strange to post a dead animal photo, but we have never seen a dead coyote on our hikes.  Everyone thought it was neat.

Sign about the endangered bats

The Blackball cement company was started by a John Clark who was chief engineer in charge of building this section of the I&M canal. He spotted the limestone in the cliff next to the canal back in the 1840's. After his canal work was done he seized the opportunity for mining the limestone in this area and started the Utica Hydraulic Cement Co. Other mines started too and one of them was the Blackball Cement mine. The Utica plant eventually bought out the Blackball.
  At this mine was one of the very first electric generators in the state of Illinois used to supply power to carbon arc lights.

Old Kilns
Once we arrived at the bottom of the hill we saw these kilns, they were used in the processing of the hydraulic cement.

All along the creek there are holes or entrances into the mines.  I'm not sure if they are just air holes or actually entrances.  There was quite a few.  We did not have permission to go into any of the mine entrances.

Pecumsaugan Creek

Pecumsaugan Creek

Mine entrance along the Creek

Main mine entrance along the Creek

Main mine entrance from a distance

We also saw many wildflowers on the walk.

Blood Root

Spring Beauty

Dutchman's Britches

False Rue Anemone



When we left the Lodge we had about 20 walkers.  When we pulled up in the lot we counted 39 walkers.  Many families, many regular walkers, many Lodge guests.  We had a record amount of walkers. Joe was explaining how they mined the limestone.

Geology Joe doing his thing- teaching

If you would like to join us, the Walker's Club departs from the Starved Rock Lodge's Lobby every Thursday morning at 9:00a.m.  No reservations needed.

All the kids posing for a photo

I don't know why, but I pick up golf balls when I find them.  I found these 6 in the creek. Further up on the creek there is a golf course and when the water rises the balls that end up in the creek go down the creek.

Just remember!! If you plan on going here, you will need a permit.  If you need help with this you can go to the State of Illinois Website under the Nature Preserve Section.  Or you can call my office 815-220-7386. 

I will leave you with this: Wherever you may hike or walk, just put one foot in front of the other.  It's all about the experience not the destination.

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