Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tecumseh, Garden of the Gods & Decoration Day

A day of adventure, Cathy's daring adventure was to enter the archives in the courthouse at Harrisburg, Illinois, surrounded herself with stacks of 200 year old papers ten feet tall and hope that they don't come tumbling down, burying her with the very ancestors that she's researching. Too scary for me, I'm going to wander around the countryside and find my own adventure.

My quest today is to walk in the Garden of the Gods, I have read about this place now all I have to do is find it, about 15 miles SE of Harrisburg as the crow flies, but since I'm driving it's about 30 miles and 50 turns on some pretty narrow farming roads, take a couple of turns that you don't see and you're there.

But first I had to make a quick stop at the Saline Co. State Fish & Wildlife Area to pay my respects to Tecumseh, or at least his bronze statue that is near the campground there. My favorite Tecumseh quote is:

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so when their time comes, they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song like a hero going home”.

Well I finally made it to the Garden of the Gods, there are two different trails here, the upper trail is the most used one and is about ¼ mile long and takes about 45 minutes to navigate, the second one takes you down to the bottom of the cliffs and is about 5 miles long.

This garden was planted about 300 millions years ago when it was the bottom of a shallow sea, millions of years of weathering has shaped the gardens into what we see today. The trail is paved with stone and easy to follow, climbing on the rocks is allowed and recommended so you can see the beautiful views, I'm just going to let some pictures take you on a tour of the gardens, enjoy.

This sign is the first thing you see at the start of the trail.

A nice scenic view.

The trail leads into "Fat Man's squeeze" Yes I made it through.

After the squeeze.

Rock on the right looks like Donald Duck, at least to me it does.

The rings on the right are formed by iron that solidified between the different rock layers and did not weather away as the rock did.

Chimney Rock, it's about 30 feet tall.

Just a few more views from the trail.

This is a close-up of the iron rings in the stone.

Another Day

Remember when Memorial Day was called Decoration Day, well click on the plaque and read about how it all started at a little cemetery in Carbondale Illinois.

There is an interesting grave here, at the center of the cemetery there is a stone sarcophagus sitting on top of the soil. There are two stories for this.

The first one is that a lady from Vicksburg, Mississippi died here and did not want to be buried in Yankee soil so it was placed above ground.

The second is that a Union officer was buried here and that when is family heard that a Confederate officer was to be buried in the cemetery, they had his body dug up and placed in the sarcophagus so that they would not occupy the same soil.

Click on MAP to enlarge

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