Post stressful 30-page-paper and an amazing birthday weekend of camping at Ginnie, we were still (somehow) having springs withdrawal, so Danielle and I headed down to the Rainbow River to explore the no-swimming-zone. The lower river is open to tubers and snorkelers via K.P. Hole Park and the new State Park tubing entrance, but there is an upper ~1/4 mile section just downstream of the headspring that is open only to canoes and kayaks. Every other Wednesday, the rangers lead a snorkel in this relatively pristine part of the river outside of the sandy, devegetated swimming zone. And wearing the mandatory fluorescent snorkel vest and obeying the rules of not diving down and staying with the group (which both proved to be exceedingly difficult) ended up being well worth the amazing, usually off-limits, views.
|First gar sighting!|
|A little bluegill checks out Danielle's camera...|
|An ancient scene - fallen logs and a school of several giant, slow-moving gar.|
|This gar was the biggest of them all - look at that toothy grin!|
|Colorful vegetation at the bottom of the river - this is Sagittaria mixed with a whole ton of Red Ludwigia and some algae around the edges.|
|Approaching the end of our trip as we swam back upstream.|
|Friendly little loggerhead musk turtle in the Illinois pond weed.|