´¯`•. June 19, 2017

Illinois:  Ferne Clyffe

Day Six, after we went to Giant City, we returned to camp to have lunch.  Camp was set up at Ferne Clyffe – another state park not more than a few miles from Giant City state park.  Ferne Clyffe wasn’t as ‘grand’ as it’s sister park, which was why I chose it.  I like quieter places, and I thought there’d be more chance of there being room for us, there.  It was pretty full, when we pulled in, and I’d panicked a little – a LOT of the sites were reserved for Memorial Day weekend.

This was where we made some changes to our schedule.  I’d planned to camp two days at Ferne Clyffe, and then two days at Garden of the Gods… but I knew that GoGs was going to be HUGELY full, and so when we finally tracked down a camp host at Ferne Clyffe, I decided that we’d get three nights in the first-come-first-serve lots.  And then I re-routed our travels to a different, very obscure looking campground up past GoGs… nowhere near anything of interest.  Just to be sure we’d have a spot for the holiday weekend.

In doing so, that put us very near to Verciennes, Indiana.  Now this trip was all about Illinois, but I have to be honest – I love the Jr. Ranger programs that are across the country.  But I didn’t find out about them until last summer, so we didn’t get any of the Indiana badges.  Our first was at Indiana Dunes, last fall.  So that Verciennes was literally eight miles away from where I was going to try to camp us?  I asked if we could add a stop there.  So things got rearranged, a lot, when we were at Ferne Clyffe.

Ferne Clyffe has a whole network of trails through rock formations, very much like the other places that we’d gone.  Mostly I’d wanted to see their waterfalls, so we took the trail from 30 feet away from our camper, and went for a walk, down into the woods.

On our way to Ferne Clyffe Falls.  Isn’t it beautiful, down here?!

The kids made honey-nut Cheerio necklaces to munch on, for the hike.

Hence the name ‘FERNE Clyffe’.

Ethan gives us some scope of how BIG it is!

And… no falls.  They said it’s too dry, this week.  *SIGH!*  Just like at Giant City, the falls here were dry.  Apparently the ‘falls’ in Southern Illinois depend on massive rainfalls.  We were talking to some people about it, and they said that the moment it rains, people run for the parks, to go and see how much of a fall there would be.  Interesting.  Not technically falls, though, if that’s the case.  And remember – Illinois was flooded on our visit, and this is May – spring is always the wet season.  So word to the wise:  there aren’t *really* falls in Southern Illinois.

Someone made these, all along the trail.
(I also saw an ‘Alien’ shaped rock, but I couldn’t justify a picture.)

Them are some BIG clyffes!

The kids had been finding Superman crests everywhere.  There was a superman cut-out ‘window’ in Giant City’s ‘streets’, there was a patch in the pavement on the way to the parking lot shaped like one, and then THIS.  We took it back to camp to color it.

Lucky for us, we had torrential rains on day seven, and before we left, we decided to go back to Ferne Clyffe falls to see if there was a waterfall.  It’s amazing how beautiful the woods are, after a rain.  Lydia wishes it’d be overcast all of the time.  She sees real benefits to living in Forks, even as a non-vampire.  I do, too.

Whaddya know… the rain brought us a waterfall!

We didn’t really do any of the other hikes at Ferne Clyffe – there just wasn’t a lot of time, if we wanted to see other things in the area.  The campsites were nice, but the bathhouses (like at the last two places) were horrific – when the rains fell, this one flooded, completely.  And again – no camp host to be found.  He got irritable when he finally showed up, though – acting like we were squatters who had the unmitigated gall not to pay him.  (He needs to be there for that to happen.)  Illinois state parks are free, but it’s not a good thing.  It means no money to keep things up, no paid employees, no rangers… a lot goes t’pot.

Still.  I’m glad we chose to camp at Ferne Clyffe.
And I was thrilled that Yehovah blessed us with rains!

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