Last evening I evening I took a drive up the Great River Road (one of the great roads of America in my opinion) just north of Alton, curious to see how high the water was. It turns out that it was just several feet shy of the roadway. I suspect that it had already crested and was on its way down and the road may have been impassable only a little bit before. Even so, it was a strange feeling to have the wheels of my car almost parallel with the surface of the water. It almost looked like one was driving on the water. And I felt the power of the river like I have felt only a few times before. There were other pictures to be had along the water front, including a massive barge pulled up right against the side of the river by the road, but I left it too late to take my drive and the light was not sufficient, so these will have to suffice.
Last evening riding along the St. Louis Riverfront Trail, a rather exotic combination of natural riparian zones and industrial landscapes, I found this little guy in the middle of the trail, right in an industrial area and on the wrong side of the flood wall.
I call him only a baby leviathan, because he seemed to be a juvenile, and as a common snapping turtle he is a true junior compared to the true leviathan of American waterways, the alligator snapping turtle. It was rather hard to tell what sort this was, but thanks to Wikipedia and this helpful page, I believe I have got my chelonian.
Shortly after I happened on the scene a lady with a dog and a gentleman in a truck with more extensive knowledge of turtles also arrived. He said when it gets up on its hind legs it is just about to, well, snap. The lady with the dog wanted the critter back in the water, and so he got his gloves and put him in a sack promising to do so, though I would not really blame him if he might have been rather tempted to taste some of the purportedly “seven different meats of a turtle.”
I have heard that snapping turtles are holdovers from a far distant time in Earth’s history, and getting up close and personal with this one with its almost alien or dinosaur-like scales and bumps I have no difficulty in believing that at all!
The pictures for the two Tara Point blog posts are brought to you courtesy of my brother, who has far more of the social courage (something it might be handy for a photographer to have) to ask whether a picture might be taken than do I. And so we were able to get these view from the Tara Point Inn. The drive up, up, up from Godfrey is a doozy, but, my, the views are amazing.
I think staying here is something I will likely have to add to the list of things that are cost prohibitive which I would like to do at least once.