We went to Pere Marquette State Park which, as it turns out, is the largest state park in Illinois as far as acreage goes. It is named after Jacques Marquette, a French priest who came to the area with French explorers in 1673. They were the first Europeans to ever come to the area where the Mississippi, Illinois and Arkansas rivers all converge. There are approximately 150 Native American burial mounds in the area, a leftover remnant from the era of the Illini Confederacy. During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps was formed and they built many lodges and structures in the area, most of which still stand today.
One thing about the park is that from certain vantage points, you can see where the rivers merge together. It is definitely a very scenic park. It also has very steep hills. I thought I was going to have to put Mom in my backpack at one point and carry her up the hill. Dad took my leash for a while, and that did not make me a happy camper. I kept a sighthound eye on her at all times. When we got to the top, we all rested for a while and admired the view.
Loess is one of the things the park is know for. It's what forms the yellow cliffs that you often see in the park. It's made from a windblown dust from the prehistoric ages. It definitely makes for some interesting rock formations, like the Half Bridge.
Of course, you can imagine that Morgan and I were excited about seeing the local wildlife, and we were not disappointed. Besides the usual chipmunks and squirrels, who were quite bold in the park, runnng right under Morgan's nose at one point, we also saw some cute little lizards. Then we heard about the Piasa Bird. I even read about it in Mom's Weird Illinois book. It's a legendary giant bird that the Native Americans claimed could and did fly off with children and large animals. I kept my eye on the sky when we weren't under tree cover, I can promise you that! I hope he knows that I have never harmed a bird in my life. In fact, I even let a baby robin go once when I caught it in the turn out pen. Fortunately, we made it out of there with no sightings of giant birds.