hidden treasure I&M canal miles 31-58

We drove out to Joliet for the second leg of the I&M canal. Miles 31-58 are farther out, and the trail is less kept being mostly crushed limestone. You might see a section where a million cat-tails wave in the breeze, or stands of pampas grass tower above you.

The canal, dug by hand by immigrant labor is six feet deep and sixty feet wide for ninety-six miles. It opened up trade in dolomite, limestone, and later the areas became steel towns where immigrants from all backgrounds worked the mills. But building the canal had challenges, and here we can see an aqueduct built over flat land to allow the canal to traverse a river below it. Think of it, a canal six feet deep crossing a river, they did so multiple times to open the heartland to the rest of the world.

An East and West canal over a North/South river

An East and West canal over a North/South river

Three times deer jumped out in front of us within several yards. We saw mallards, geese and goslings, ( I thought one goose was coming after me when I came too close. ) There were Great blue herons, egrets and a cormorant graced us with his presence along with cardinals, blue jays and robins and finches galore. There were red-winged black birds, and I think females with a yellow spot on the neck, but I have to confirm that ( still looking ).

He fed, striking without remorse, then retired to his tree

He fed, striking without remorse, then retired to his tree where he almost purred, the feathers of his upper neck vibrating…

Of course I don’t stop for garage sales, but do stop for turtles. This ten pound snapper threatened to give me something in common with Nine Fingered Frodo and the Ring of Doom. Isn’t he ( or she ) magnificent .

I estimate this guy weighed ten pounds

I estimate this guy weighed ten pounds

This is turtle posture for "you want a piece of me" - and actually, just a picture was fine.

This is turtle posture for “you want a piece of me” – and actually, just a picture was fine.

I made up a corny turtle joke – my sense of humor is odd, let me know if you want to hear it.

When we dropped in and out of the shade, the flower scents were strong and lovely. It might have been wild grapes, but some flower had the scent of a sweet grapes – not cloyingly strong – but a hint that made me think that as a perfume it would be irresistible. The I&M trail has been full of surprises.

It was a hot humid miserable, great fifty mile ride.

the open canal, as it might have looked one hundred years before

the open canal, as it might have looked one hundred years before

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32 Comments on “hidden treasure I&M canal miles 31-58”

  1. susank456 says:

    Great photos, I love the great heron.

  2. jo-hanna says:

    I love this. The tow path looks so wonderful underfoot. How I’d love to walk or better still, bike along there.

    • billgncs says:

      Hi Jo-hanna – isn’t biking along a path wonderful. It truly captures the joy of movement.

      Today we did the next section and took a break and were seranaded by at least five different bird songs.

  3. Resa says:

    Gorgeous area!
    Of course i want to know why the turtle crossed the road.
    Hmm, To get to the other side?
    He was feeling snappy?
    He was taking a shortcut to beat the hare?

  4. At first I read, ‘we drove out to toilet’ Funny how the mind takes you to familiar words! It sounds like a lovely ride Bill. The deer jumping out in front would have startled me. I want to hear your corny turtle joke!
    Diana xo

    • billgncs says:

      why did the turtle cross the road ?

      • I don’t know Bill. Why DID the turtle cross the road?

        • billgncs says:

          thank you for asking that question. It shows you are a true and dedicated reader. In case you don’t find my answer funny, I can tell you that I have walked into a restaurant ( much to the horror my my accompanying kids ) and told the waiter, “I’ll have some turtle soup, and make it snappy!”

          So… why did the turtle cross the street:

          pheromones

          Who knows what is going inside that little reptilian head? But to me, it seems as humorous as “to get to the other side” :)

          • Ok I laughed. Not so much because it’s funny but because I can almost see the glint in your eye and your cheeky smile as you say it. The snappy turtle soup on the other hand is hilarious, I bet you get a lot of eye rolls, am I right?

  5. quiall says:

    You have a corny turtle joke and you don’t share??? That’s just mean as a snapping turtle! Of course they are cute.

  6. Eric Alagan says:

    Quite an adventure, Bill.

    Turtles, we can run away from, unless we have hare blood. But a goose – that can be scary.

  7. Clanmother says:

    “I don’t stop for garage sales, but do stop for turtles.” I laughed out loud when I read that! I have seen those snapping turtles! Formidable is the word that comes to mind. And yes, they are magnificent.

    A couple of days ago my computer had a meltdown so I’ve been computerless until now. Great to be connected again!!!


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