Please read this...Some common sense would have made sense...

On the day before the day before the first day of a bright and shiny new year, yours truly took a stroll along a trail where, at one time, the sound of trains chugging through the countryside would have been heard.

The visit was one of those spur of the moment sorts of things that I like to do. See something interesting? Stop and visit.

The decision might have made more sense on a warm and sunny morning, say, maybe, in the spring. The last Saturday in 2017 was not warm and was not sunny. Maybe that should not have been a big surprise, since it was the 30th day of December.

The stroll was along the Quetil Trail in metropolitan Alto Pass. I was in Alto Pass to take care of some business, and decided to pay a visit to the trail. The temperature might have been in the 20s. An icy wind was blowing. A few snowflakes were even flying around in the breeze. A walk outdoors seemed to make sense.

Several signs are posted along the trail. One of the signs tells a bit of the history of the site and the community we know today as Alto Pass.

"In 1860 this settlement was widely known as the Quetil Gap after Charles Julius Quetil," the sign shares.

I tried to find out a little bit more about Mr. Quetil, but didn't have much luck. A search on the internet seemed like a good way to get started. I did a search on Google for Charles Julius Quetil, which showed a meager 5,080 results. The third listing on the search list was for Charles J. Guiteau, the man who assassinated President James A. Garfield. Never did find anything about Mr. Quetil.

Poor Mr. Quetil became a footnote in history in 1878, when, according to the sign along the trail, "the Cairo and St. Louis Narrow Gauge Railroad adopted the name of Alto Pass.

"The citizens of Alto Pass acted to have the town incorporated in 1882. The railway company in conjunction with the citizens, erected a passenger and freight depot, where the Pavilion is now located. The Old Railway was abandoned in 1981." (The "Pavilion" is located in downtown Alto Pass.)

The Alto Pass area became a popular attraction in the 1880s. Lots of folks came by train from Cairo to visit the Union County village, which, it seems, came to be called "the Switzerland of America." The sign recalled that the "Alto Pass Coronet band met the train and escorted the passengers to picnic on captain H.C. Freeman's place at the cliffs." 

On the day of my visit, there weren't any tourists. No trains. No bands. And, I'm guessing that if there had been any bands around, the musicians would have had a really, really hard time keeping their instruments in tune on a cold December morning.

I did see a pileated woodpecker near the trail. And a cardinal on the trail. And a male bluebird, which was perched in a tree, trying to keep warm. I'm pretty sure that the bluebird was wondering why some other creature would be out wandering out in the icy cold. Common sense would suggest that smart creatures would go someplace where it was warm. 

The winter morning stroll along the Quetil Trail lasted until about the time that my fingers started to hurt because of the cold. The Other Half would probably have gone along with the bluebird and suggested that maybe, next time, somebody ought to use a little common sense when it comes to wandering around in the cold.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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