Friday, November 13, 2009

Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park

As it had been for two days, it was still raining in St. Louis but according to the weather radar maps, it looked like only a narrow band. It also didn't look like it would let up anytime soon so I pulled out a wild card item that I had tacked onto our itinerary for a time when it was raining in St. Louis but perhaps not to the south and slightly west. So after visiting a bookstore only found in St. Louis according to the Mrs., we headed south to Elephant Rocks State Park.

Elephant Rocks are a term given to a grouping of gigantic large roundish granite rocks that formed in the area. Due to a cranky and hungry little girl, I didn't get to read the in depth display but from what I gathered in a brief few seconds, was that these rocks started off rather squarish with cracks here and there. Magma that long ago used to raise up in this area when continental forces tried to tear North America in half right at this point, poured up through these cracks and caused the large granite boulders to melt kind of like ice cubes into roundish shapes. Later after many years of erosion, they would be brought to the surface and displayed as they now are.

Their is a small loop trail around and through this formation of rocks and is an excellent one for people with small kids, are not very physically inclined to try anything more difficult or just those wanting a short neat hike. The trail is probably less than a mile and a quarter long and completely asphalted so you can get by in tennis shoes. However, there is ample opportunity to stray out across the beautiful granite rocks and I wished more than once that I had brought a pair of hiking shoes. Though it didn't rain the entire time we were there, it had been raining and the granite was a little slick here and there.

Little Abbey had a fit less than a hundred yards along the trail and refused to walk so I ended up carrying her most of the way around on top of my shoulders which she enjoyed. She did get down whenever we strayed from the trail and loved walking off the trail on the granite boulders with her hiking boot like toddler shoes she was wearing. I can tell she is just like me.

I'm not sure what else to say about the trip other than it was the only period of time during our brief trip to St. Louis that we were outside when it wasn't raining. The weather there though overcast, was very nice for hiking in a long sleeved shirt and I wished had Little Abbey been up to it or at least my shoulders, that the trail had been ten miles long instead of the mile and a quarter. So here are some pictures I took and some brief descriptions of what they contained.

Lichen Covered Rock

Leaves On the Trail

More rocks...

...and more rocks...

...and rocks with a view.

Old abandoned granite quarry

I imagine this almost was going to be someone's countertop

Perhaps this guy abandoned the above iron spike


R. Sherman said...

If you come back to the area, you can make a grand tour of E. Rocks, Johnson Shut-ins (great swimming holes on the Black River), Taum Sauk Mountain (Missouri High Point, easy trail to highest waterfall in the state), and Fort Davidson Historic Site (Civil War Battle of Pilot Knob). It's a long day, but easily done, even with smaller kids.


Sage said...

okay, what happened to my post here? This place looks like a great place for a kid to explore... But that first paragraph sounds like an engineer--if it's raining in the NW quadrant, let's go to the SE one! :)

TC said...


you'll have to go back :)

Woody said...

You were in my neighborhood...

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I will be back probably next spring with the in-laws in tows. Thanks for the tips.

Sage - It certainly was. It was also a great place for me to explore.

TC - Thanks and I will.

Woody - I knew I was going to be close to several people whose blogs I read including yours. Perhaps sometime we can all have a blogger get together down in that area and meet each other.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Looks more like giant fossilized monster spoor. Did you notice that?

Beau said...

I remember seeing that name and date! Must have been 10-15 years ago. A neat place to visit... you weren't too far form us as well :)

Ed said...

Phil - I never looked at it that way but you are right.

Beau - Geesh, everyone lives down in that neck of the woods!