Sunday, December 2, 2012

Buffalo Rock

Saturday December 1, 2012
It was such a beautiful day I just had to go hiking!  So I packed my winter load and hit the road.
First stop, Buffalo Rock State Park. 

This is actually a pretty small park, but it looked so spectacular from the website that I just had to see it.  I was not disappointed.  The vistas are spectacular, even on a cloudy, windy December day.

The park sits on a bluff that was once an island.  It is strategically placed along the Illinois River and was used as a military stronghold by the French as they settled the region.  Of course, before them the site was occupied by any number of Native Nations, i.e. Illini, Miami, etc.

An artist named Michael Heizer created several land sculptures during the 1980’s which are reminiscent of the Indian Mounds found elsewhere in Illinois and the Mid-West.   I believe that the works were created from silica mine tailings which were left on the site after the Ottawa Silica Company stopped mining there.  The creatures are difficult to perceive when standing right on top of them, but with some imagination, and an aerial photo, one can understand what is there.

Buffalo Rock has always been a fairly isolated area.  It was a TB sanatorium, a religious camp, and a company sanatorium all before the silica mining began. I did a couple hours hike and viewing early on Saturday.  Here is the video.  Enjoy!

Oh, and YES, there are buffalo in the park!

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