Garden of the Gods, IL (Shawnee Forest)
There are times in life when everything seems to come together of its own accord. In those moments, a unique confluence of accidents blend together like the best of martini’s into the most sumptuous of experiences.
That really sums up our Labor Day Week-end.
Being somewhat out of touch with regular time we’d completely forgotten about the big holiday week-end and so had failed to plan on any reserved campsite. Paul had randomly chosen a spot on the map which looked somewhat interesting, being green and next to a small lake and sufficiently “out there” to satisfy our nomadic souls. Through complete chance Shawnee forest was a non-reservation campsite, and by total accident they had a large and gorgeously shaded electric site available the Friday morning of the week-end we drove lazily into camp. With that all settled we inquired on things to do and were made privy to Garden of the Gods which certainly sounded like an auspicious must-see.
Thus, the two tourists from the land of fruits and nuts made our way into deep Illinois to blend with the locals. Like all things in the Mid-West, Garden of the Gods is one of those happy surprises that only those in the know, know. The bulbous, goblin-like rocks in this little forest clearing are the remnants of an ancient sea-bed 320 million years ago. Heat and pressure turned sand into stone, and a receding sea and the elements sculpted the rest. Dark swirls of ancient iron, called liesegang bands decorate the surfaces giving the impression of rather voluptuous, but wrinkled curves.
From the ancient sea-beds to hidden lakes, I love it when a non-made plan comes together.