|On Wednesday, we awoke to rain. That made it a good day to do some laundry and clean the coach, which we did. After lunch, the skies had cleared and the sun was out, so we drove to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. There are several large lakes here, but we could not get close enough to the water to see any of the water fowl. We did see 7 turkeys and a couple of deer, but over all the refuge was a big disappointment. We drove through the town of Carbondale, IL which is home to Southern Illinois University. We went into the Shawnee National Forrest to the Little Grand Canyon. We walked almost 3 miles attempting to see the canyon, but the trees and foliage was so over grown, we never saw the canyon, but we did hear the water somewhere in the distance. The forest was very quiet and we saw a few birds flitting around.
Thursday was bright and sunny and we drove about an hour south of our campground to Old Shawnee Town, settled in 1798. This is the oldest town is Southern Illinois and was built right on the banks of the Ohio River. The Lewis & Clark Expedition was there in 1808 looking for salt. The Shawnee Town Bank is still there. It was the largest building (4 stories tall) and is now an historical site. It is surrounded by very intricate black wrought iron fencing and has 2 tall wrought iron lamps flanking the front entrance. This town was abandoned due to continuous flooding from the river and moved inland about 3 miles. That town is still there, but is quite small and does not seem to be thriving too well.
Next we drove to the Garden of the Gods. The is a 3300 acre site. There are many sandstone formations through-out the park. The Devil's Smokestack fascinated Lynd, but we did not include a picture as it did not give the best over-all feeling of the size of the area. It was a little less than a 2 mile hike and the path was paved with flagstone pavers the entire way. It was very nice.
We ate lunch at a local diner, the Galconda Dari-Barr, in the town of Galconda. The town also has The John Thomas Davidson cabin, built in 1882 and the Alexander Hall Buel House, built in 1841.
We continued on to the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge which includes 14,700 acres. This refuge preserves and protects the swampy areas which house the Bald Cyprus and Tupelo Trees that live there. The picture included of the Bald Cyprus tree has a circumference of 40+ft. is over 1,000 yrs old and is one of the oldest Bald Cyprus trees known the exist anywhere.
It has been a good day all around. We leave tomorrow morning for the Kansas City Area.
Talk to you again soon. Take care.