Friday, November 16, 2007

2007 11 12 Ferne Clyffe State Park, Illinois

We were on the road Monday morning at about 7:30 a.m.
We stopped for lunch at the visitor's center/rest area at the Tennessee/Kentucky border.

We had 3 potential parks as our destination for the day's end, all in Illinois. When we got to the turn for Fort Massac State Park, we felt we still were up for some more road time and so continued on. It was then either Ferne Clyffe State Park or Rend Lake Corp of Engineer's site. This late in the year, Ken had called earlier in the week to insure they were still open. None were taking reservations any more but all told us they had enough long, level sites that we shouldn't experience problems finding a place. Rend Lake, with a half dozen or more different campgrounds is mostly closed but leaves one, Gun Creek, open and it just happens to be only a couple miles off the interstate.
As we neared the Ferne Clyffe exit, the skies were beginning to look like rain and which is one of our most frequently accessed websites when on the road, was showing rain on our horizon, so we decided to pull in and call it a day with right at 400 miles under our belt, a new one day record for us.

There appeared to be lots of open level campsites. Since we were only there for the night and it was going to rain we picked the first one we could back in to comfortably and settled Baby and Jeep in. Our fellow campers were mostly deerhunters judging from their campsite set ups.

Hoping to get outdoors a bit before the rain set in we found the campground hosts to pay our fees ($10 electric hookup site during week with disability card). The hosts were going to be there through the rest of deer season but said the campground would be open all year. They suggested that if we had little time to explore we head down the waterfall trail. While the drought had eliminated the waterfall itself, they said the walk was well worth it anyway.

This was one of the best recommendations we've gotten in a long time. With it being Monday afternoon and weather threatening rain, the area was deserted.

It was one of those rare walks in the woods where everything is so peaceful, and apart from human touch, that you get this impression of sacredness.

The mists preceeding the rains made everything appear even more lush.

There is an old walking bridge and bench by the waterfall area...a perfect place to set and take in the feel of this place.

You are surronded on both sides with stone cliffs blanketed in ferns and moss.

The late afternoon sunlight filtering through the mists added a softness to the silence which was only slightly broken by the trickle of what was left of the waterfall dripping down and echoing off the cliffs.

We were content after this amazing walk to pick up a few grocery items at the local Goreville store and snuggle in for a quiet evening listening to the raindrops on the RV rooftop.

Not anxious to leave this lovely place or finish our trip, Ken and I took our time Tuesday morning preparing to leave. The rain and fog made it much too comfortable inside.

As we pulled out I was able to get this shot of the small lake at the park, draped in the morning fog.

We were back to Quincy by about 4pm and settled in at home by 6pm. We won't be here long since it's back to Charleston on Friday for the final Panthers home game.

Hugs, C

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