Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Giant City State Park: Giant City Nature Trail

There are times in which Mother Nature takes the subtle approach. She gently nudges you, providing you a wondrous moment or a special little insight to what makes her tick. And then there are times that she gets right in your face, causing you to be unable to look away, and assuring that you notice her grandeur, her beauty, her utter uniqueness... As you set tread to the Giant City Nature Trail be prepared, Mother Nature is moving in close, she'll be sure that after this short one mile loop trail you'll be fully aware of her rare and unique beauty.

The beauty of the Giant City Nature Trail certainly lies within its unique "streets". These passageways wind through colossal slabs of sandstone, which loom far above you and sending trees which look to grown upon their surface to grow quickly or never find the sun. Each of these large sandstone structures seem to form buildings which line the streets, with lines so straight they seem as though they could have only been carved by a master stonemason, as nature so often abhors presumed conformity and conventionality. But it is this seeming conformity, these straight, towering angular blocks which dwarf you and your fellow hikers, that make this area so unique from the rest of the park. In fact, this area is a bit reminiscent of the Panther Den Wilderness, only the Giant City Nature Trail is far more accessible and has a well worn trail to follow.

These massive stone structures have, no doubt, awed mankind for millennia, with man obviously attempting to leave behind their marks upon the stone, the same way that the stone had left its lasting mark upon them. If you inspect the walls carefully you may come upon a pair of names carved upon the sandstone walls in 1862, by Theodore Wilson and his brother Albert during the Civil War. The pair's stoney autographs have become a popular carving to seek out and if you look very carefully, you may be able to even make out the haunting face in the rock wall that opposes it. During our visit, someone had defaced the the Giant City Trail "face" by painting an outline around the image, hopefully with time the paint used will fade and the face will again become a bit more eerie. Time may slip by quickly as you read the many inscriptions upon the walls, searching those breadcrumbs left which bare silent witness to those explorers who shared this same trail, same route, same beauty with you decades before.

After you have gazed and searched the etchings of visitors past, you will walk through a small walkway bordered by sandstone and under a precariously perched boulder. As you make your way through, it is hard not to have a quick second of doubt as to whether you should pass under or not, as I will admit, I had a quick thought of, 'what if today is the day that rock decides to fall'? It is also another great place to take a few more family photos and makes for a great "look at what I'm holding up" props. There are still plenty of Giant City buildings left to awe and amaze you, and you may even find the opportunity to scramble your way upon them to gain an additional view of the Giant City streets on which you have now tread.

Directions (click the Google Map below to enter in your address)

Giant City State Park
235 Giant City Road
Makanda, IL 62958
(618) 457-4836

More Information: 

Local Treks on facebook 
Giant City State Park Stonefort Nature Trail - Be sure to hit this trail too!
Giant City State Park Devil's Standtable - Another GREAT trail in Giant City

Giant City State Park - Official IDNR Homepage
Giant City Trails -  A list of all eight established trails
Giant City Visitor Maps - Maps provided by the IDNR of the entire park
More Photos From Giant City State Park - My Flickr Album for Giant City State Park

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