As I tend to do in winter, expect a series of flashback posts to pop up here on the blog!
Back in February of 2010 Wayne broke his tibia and his fibula slipping on some black ice in our driveway . While still wearing the boot that May we took a trip down to Missouri.
Navigating the one mile paved Braille trail at Elephant Rocks State Park was definitely an uphill challenge in his condition, but the 1.5 billion year old granite boulders were pretty neat.
Also of interest was the history of granite quarrying in the area. Quarrying in the area goes back to 1869 and provided a lot of employment both in the quarry and the railroad needed to transport the rock.
In addition to the engine house built in the early 1900's of the rock quarried there, a water filled quarry made a pleasant place to stop and enjoy the mild weather.
|All "booted up"|
The state park website had a link to a 3 minute video showing quarrying technique from 1935.
We stayed at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park which had a recently rebuilt campground that was pretty amazing but we left a few days early due to ticks falling from the sky.
A dam upriver had a retaining wall that broke in 2005 flooding the area and luckily no one was killed. You can read the really well written news story here.
The "shut-ins" are a place where the river's breadth is limited by hard rock resistant to erosion. Apparently this park is used mostly as a natural "waterpark" in the summer. We had it all to ourselves that morning but swimming was not on our agenda, but I certainly enjoyed climbing around on the rocks.
Since we decided to leave early we headed up along the Mississippi River, enjoying the migrating birds.
We ended up at the Thomson Causeway COE campground which I highly recommend to anyone looking to get away for a few days. It's not close to any services, but right on the Mississippi River with wildlife viewing opportunities everywhere including wading birds, turtles, muskrats, beavers and even some nesting eagles at one of the lock and dams.
Originally we thought we would stay at the Illinois state park in Savannah but it is bare bones and nowhere near as nice. Since it is Illinois this is a nice flat area for bike riding, and bring your kayak and you can paddle right from your campsite. Wish I had taken a picture of our site, but they are all large and quite a few are right on the water. Don't head there now though, they closed in late October and won't re-open until the first of May!