Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ferne Clyffe- Illinois State Park

It will soon be going on three weeks that we have parked in southern Illinois.  The initial reason was to assist our daughter Melissa with babysitting while she was studying for her social work license test.  She has since successfully passed that hurdle and we are planning to move northward to St.Louis in the coming week.  It has certainly been a joy babysitting our grandson Nathan during the past few weeks!  This past week he and his Mom joined John and I on several short hikes at Ferne Clyffe State Park.  We are very thankful for the Scout publication, a guide to Southern Illinois tourism and recreation which has made it possible to find this park, as well as many others which I have written about on this site.
According to Scout this park is a "Hiker's Paradise".  The large rock shaped like a ship, pictured above, was our first clue as to what we were about to experience in the park.  We only had to look behind it at the large rocky cliffs to get a further idea of what we were to see in this park.  Because our daughter was carrying her son we could only go on the short paved trails.  However, I would venture to say that even with that small restriction, we saw a lot of the wonders of Ferne Clyffe.
Pictured above is what is the site of a 100-foot waterfall, that runs intermittently and is at its best viewing after a heavy rain.  We discovered that on the "Big Rocky Hollow Trail".   Melissa and Nathan are standing below it next to a small pool of water.  I believe it was here where John was not content to just look at the would-be waterfall, he had to climb it.  He did make it to the first level of the falls, and had to slide down from it on his bottom.  I was not quick enough with the camera to catch that sight!
 Melissa also did her share of climbing among the rocks, despite having the baby in tow.  Nathan even managed to fall asleep, unfortunately missing some of the more awesome sights.  With  high rocky bluffs there are also caves, and this park has its share of them.
This is without a doubt the most spectacularly scenic parks we have seen so far in southern Illinois.  Every trail we hiked on had some jaw-dropping natural wonder which surprised us.  We were even impressed with the sight of one tree (pictured below in the foreground) which had been able to grow tall and straight despite the large boulders laying at its feet.   I will sign off on this posting with that one last parting camera shot.

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