hidden treasure I&M canal miles 31-58Posted: May 26, 2014
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.
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 ).
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 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.