Treasures of Little Egypt: Cache River Canoe Tours
The beautiful outdoors of Southern Illinois have much to offer residents and tourists, including full moon canoe tours along the Cache River. The Cache has a diverse population of birds and other wildlife, and is home to one-thousand-year-old cypress trees. Those with a sense of romantic adventure can access this important and beautiful wetlands through Cache River State Park, and take nighttime canoe tours with White Crane Canoe and Pirogue Rentals.
“I started back last year and pretty much we do guided tours,” Mark Denzer, operator of White Crane Rentals, told Nightlife. “We do full-moon tours. We have a full moon coming up on the third of July.”
The tours are popular due to the beauty and ecology of the Cache River, but people also like to canoe on their own.
“The Cache River is a pretty unique spot,” Denzer said. “I'm pretty much right on the water there. I'm right on the river, we have a stilt house there, and we have a few boats, about twelve. Basically, people come out and we take them out for two or three hours. We take church groups and small groups and just about anybody that wants to go out-- private tours, just two or three people, scouts. Take them out and I talk about the ecology of the place, the history, some of the uses of the plants there.... We've gone out really early in the morning. I've taken birders out and that type of stuff.”
Denzer makes for a good guide for those who are curious about the area.
“I'm pretty versed on the variety of animal and plant life there and the habits of a lot of the things out there,” Denzer said. “I talk about some of the waterfowl and talk about the heron, egrets, and migration patterns. Basically, I take them to... the state-champion bald-cypress tree, which is in the middle of the river over there, and talk about that a little bit. Talk about cypress trees in general and how they have adapted to live in the water with the knees and the structures stabilizing themselves. All kinds of different things like that. It depends on what the different people are looking for.”
For those who want more of an academic look at the ecology of the Cache River, Denzer has other tour guides who can give the tour from that perspective.
“Sometimes I have a biologist from Shawnee College,” Denzer said. “He does the tours because he is a little bit more versed in the science of the whole watershed there.”
Boat rental does require advanced booking, typically twenty-four hours ahead of time, Denzer said. Denzer also mentioned that boaters should bring along bottled water, sack lunches, and sunscreen.
Those interested in canoe rentals or guided tours can call White Crane Rentals at (618) 201-4090 or visit <http://www.WhiteCraneRentals.com>.