An adventure, or two, in Southern Illinois...
A couple of weeks ago, we welcomed a special visitor from the north. Since we had a visitor, we decided to go on an adventure or two.
Actually, I’m not sure that “adventure” would be the right word for what we did. Adventure implies some sort of derring-do. Heroes go on adventures. We did not do anything that involved derring, or even remotely daring. We just kind of got in the car, hoped the air-conditioning worked and visited a few places in Southern Illinois land over the course of a couple of summer afternoons.
I don’t think we went on a trek, either. A trek suggests the potential for a bit of an arduous journey, perhaps involving an ox cart or, perhaps, a Conestoga wagon.
We didn’t go on a mission, either. That implies something a bit spiritual. It was a little too warm to ponder spirituality that day.
What we did wasn’t an odyssey, either. That would have involved a bunch of Greek sailors, one-eyed monsters and various other things we weren’t likely to see in Southern Illinois. Truth be told, we didn’t even see much water in a creek bed we visited.
I think we just kind of meandered. Nothing too fancy. Whatever we did, it involved some goats, lots of zinnias, peaches, climbing a trail, standing in line, ice cream, a cold soda and a request for cash so somebody could go shopping.
(We often do such things when folks come to visit us in Southern Illinois. We especially like to show folks who have never been to this part of the world what this part of the world has to offer, which is a lot. Such excursions give us a chance to really appreciate, again, all that this little corner of the world has to offer.)
Our first stop on the adventure that wasn’t an adventure involved the aforementioned goats, zinnias and peaches, all of which could be found at Rendleman Orchards near Alto Pass, which was a busy place when we were there.
The goats, especially a baby goat, were cute. Of course they were cute. I think that was the whole point. There were lots of zinnias. A whole field of them. Yours truly tried to take a photograph that would have done justice to what we saw. Didn’t work. And the goldfinches wouldn’t even sit still long enough to have a picture taken. The peaches were very good.
Next, we headed to Giant City State Park near Makanda. We went “the back way,” which involved motoring along roads in the “wilds” of Union County. If you haven’t done such a thing, give it a try. Never know what you see...or learn.
Our visit to Giant City State Park included a walk on the Stone Fort Nature Trail at the park. The trail, as you might guess, involves a stone fort. And nature; although, during our visit, it was pretty warm and I think nature was taking a nap someplace where it was cool.
A sign along the trail advised us that “the stone fort was used during the Raymond Phase of the Late Woodland period,” which was a long time ago. As we already knew, everybody loved the Raymond Phase.
The sign also explained that a “great deal of work” went into the construction of the stone fort. Many of the stones which were used to build the fort weighed over 200 pounds. The stones, including the heavy ones, had to be carried to the top of the bluff. We agreed that we would not build any stone forts during our visit.
After pondering thoughts about hauling 200-pound rocks to the top of a bluff, we headed to nearby downtown Makanda and its famed boardwalk, which turned out to be a busy place, complete with live music.
Yours truly and our visitor treated ourselves to a cold soda (diet Dr Pepper) and a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. One scoop. The Other Half asked for money so she could go do some shopping. I gave her my wallet.
All in all, it was a nice way to spend a summer afternoon in Southern Illinois. Even if we didn’t haul any 200-pound rocks to the top of a bluff. Maybe next time.
Next week: part two of our meandering, which involved intentionally looking for snakes.