After the Flood

Reeds with Ice Petals

Reeds with Ice Petals

After the flood the water goes back down, what is left is seldom pretty, but sometimes it is. What you see in the above photo are reeds from Gilbert Lake. Sometime on Friday night, these reeds acted as a catalyst for the near freezing water. Spear like petals of ice formed around these reeds as the water level continued to drop. The picture was taken Saturday morning. The water level had dropped about two inches since the ice petals had formed, leaving them suspended over the morning’s new ice film.

Anne and I spent this weekend at Pere Marquette State Park. We rented a cabin and dined at its historic CCC era lodge. This was our Valentine’s getaway weekend. We had a good time. The nights outside were cold, but the days were warm, in the mid-fifties. We were outside all day and saw lots of beautiful nature and took pictures of much of it too. Unfortunately, we also saw the effects of last December’s torrential rains and flooding. Pere Marquette is on the Illinois River, which of the big three rivers running past Saint Louis, probably saw the least amount of flood damage. Still the damage from the torrential rains was evident on many of the park’s hilly trails. All the rain that fell on Flag Pole hill carved deep gullies down the center of some of the trails.

Still, it could have been worse. The disastrous flood of 1993, has become a boon for naturalists. We saw dozens of different species of birds this weekend. Much of what was once farmland then, is now wetlands. Gilbert Lake now acts as an overflow reservoir for the Illinois. Now that the river has gone back down, water from Gilbert Lake is being released back into it. We came upon the sluice gate a little ways up the old levee road from the ice petals.

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