Wednesday, June 08, 2016

(Photos) Volo Bog, Illinois' only quaking bog

Near Ingleside in Lake County is Illinois' only quaking bog--it's part of Volo Bog State Natural Area.

Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I visited during Memorial Day weekend.

It appears the sign is sinking into the bog, it isn't, the bog is off to to the right.

There it is.

Volo Bog was created during the Pleistocene Epoch, which ended an 12,000 years ago. As the glaciers were retreating from Illinois--yes, it was due to global warming, an enormous chunk of ice broke off, and was buried by rocks and dirt. Eventually the ice melted, leaving a crater behind. And because there were no streams in the area the water, deprived of oxygen, just sat there. It was slowly filled with decaying plant matter forming peat. The water, because of the peat, is acidic.

What makes Volo a quaking bog? On part of it you can stand and this bog bends, like a mattress. Although leaving paths and boardwalks in the preserve is not only forbidden, it can be very dangerous. On the upside if you drown in a bog your remains could end up being mummified, which will give you immortality of sorts.

So you'll have that going for you.

It is becoming next to impossible to write about Illinois-owned land and properties, including state parks, without discussing the public-sector worker pension funding debacle. We arrived at 3:05pm on a Sunday and the visitor center was closed until Wednesday morning. The money isn't there for places like Volo Bog because previous Illinois governors and alleged public servants such as Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who has been state House Speaker for 31 of the last 33 years, approved budget after budget that didn't properly fund state pensions.

Up on the boardwalk!

Sphagnum moss is the glue that keeps Volo Bog together.

The liquid center, for lack of a better term, of Volo Bog is its "eye." In the distance you'll see tamarack trees, also known as the American larch, which is a threatened species in Illinois.

The pitcher plant is carnivorous, it supplements photosynthesis by digesting an occasional insect. It's endangered in Illinois.

Wild calla, the only member of its genus, calla, and it is also an endangered species in the Land of Lincoln.

Surrounding the bog is a mostly dry path.

The flora is different here, for instance you see wildflowers such as butterweed.

A tree swallow cautiously eyes me. Sandhill cranes are common in the area--we did see two, in an adjacent farm but they were too far away for me to get a decent photograph.

 I need to remind everyone that we are in a wetland.

A sulfur shelf mushroom feeds on a dead tree.

That's a muskrat.

A deceptively dry-looking part of Volo Bog.

A final look at Illinois' only quaking bog.

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