Hike around Garden Of The Gods Dec 20-21 2013

A Hammock Forums get together at Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area in Southern Illinois. I have never been to GOTG and was really looking forward to getting out there to see the unusual rock formations. The Hang was going to be well attended with 5 or 6 members coming.... Until life gets in the way...
In the end only Deutschland Sprott (Seth) and myself attended, but the area lived up to its reputation of some great scenery. It also provided one heck of a rain storm!

Indian Point trail is the first loop from the Backpackers parking lot and is about a mile and a half loop of some classic GOTG shaped rock and caves.

Panorama views of "false" Indian Point (directly below) and then Indian Point 

This trail and these spots would make a great group hang site for a Hammock Forums group hang

Deutschland Sprott (Seth)  who did all the organizing for the hike.

 Several caves along the loop that were quite large. you could spend the afternoon just exploring all the "ins and outs" of this loop section

 After that loop we decided to hike around the GOTG loops to the other rock features pointed out in the visitors guide.
A section of the River to River trail ( a 200+ mile trail in Southern Illinois that goes from the Mississippi River on the west to the Ohio River on the East) runs through the GOTG Wilderness area, so we took that for a mile or so.

The weather forecast called for rain all weekend 70% chance Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It held off during the day on Friday and the temperature was 64 degrees for Dec 20th!
The overcast skies gave everything a lovely "muted" color. the rocks were all covered in green with contrasted by the brown of the leaves.

 After following a trail that at the beginning was well marked and then not marked at all, we made our way successfully to our campsite by a very nice stream with a great overlook.
We nestled down in the trees

 Next to "Turtle Rock"
with a nice view into the creek bed and across to the ridge 

Dinner was relaxed and we chatted until dark (5:30 pm) !!

About 8 pm it started to rain! and I mean RAIN. the wind had died down, but it stormed all night and into the next morning, causing a river of mud and water to run down the hill above us and under my hammock set up. Seth had a little water issue at about 3 am that ruined his night sleep, but nothing serious. I managed to stay warm and dry until 6:30 am.
I heard later it was close to 7 inches of rain in that 12 hour period.

Packed up and heading out the short distance back to the car. With the forecast for more rain all day making viability low and the temperatures falling we decided it was enough. If we couldn't see the views we would come back another day- and we will, as this is an excellent area to explore.

Garden Of The Gods- Wilderness Area, Southern Illinois Area- just southeast of Herod Illinois.
5-6 miles hiked
Indian Point Trail
River to River Trail
Park Trail 001A


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