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On top of the world at Palisades State Park

A - On our route back from seeing our son settled in Kentucky and visiting family in Illinois was maybe the first time we fully embraced the idea of not routing the most direct from end point to end point but rather bouncing around seeing what might be interesting. With that in mind we made our first stop Palisades State Park on the Illinois side of the Mississippi. Although Jim grew up in Illinois he had never been here although he fondly remembered nearby Galena (look for that in a separate post). The campground turned out to be large and extremely well maintained…..and nearly empty in this beginning of shoulder season! As I mentioned in another post that’s how we like it. We took our time picking out the best site and found one with electric in a creek side meadow with beautiful trees all around.

RH - We were inside the window where we couldn’t make reservations but fortunately there were lots of sites open. We selected a spot that was open by looking at the posts. The site only had electric and water but there was a nice open area away from other folks for us to walk our dogs.

A - The park map indicated a variety of trails. I knew I wanted to see the view from the

aforementioned Palisades and Jim suggested the aptly named Sunset Trail since it was approaching that time. Good choice! The view at top is from the overlook that sits securely if precipitously on the edge. You have a view across the Mississippi right where it gets interesting with islands and marshes. You are perched over the train tracks so seeing the train lights coming round the bend just adds to it as well as the last light lingering on the bridge and town down river the other way. I expected to see Huck Finn on his raft at any time. The wood rails are patterned with generations of travelers making their mark. We didn’t add our vandalism- instead I took photos of our family’s first initials already there.

RH - The park is excellent. We went to the Sunset overlook at sunset and were not disappointed. You can drive right to and hike the trail. We’re saw deer and a flock of wild turkeys that vexed my dogs mercilessly. We plan to stay here again on a longer sojourn to Galena.

A - After a quiet peaceful night we tried another trail - I think it was called Ozzie’s - for the dawn and were wowed yet again. Now the river was like a glass mirror and the clouds floated in it. I’m not sure which time of day I like best, they were both magical. This will have to wait a few years till I have a studio - its calling me to do a large sweeping panoramic landscape. Now the creek meadow would have made for some lovely plein air paintings though. We will be back.

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