Tag Archives: photos of Shawnee National Forest

Three Waterfalls, One Canyon

10 Jan

This post is by Loy Addington. He uploaded the photos below on Facebook, and I asked permission to use them in Dumbfounding Stories. He agreed and also sent along some text putting them into context.

10505501_1158304030893251_7291271848840460552_nSometime around December, 2016, our dogs Daisy and Tuffy Lou insisted on going for a hike after being rained in for two days. I tagged along. The weather had cleared, and we went to one of my favorite spots: an area of three waterfalls located within a forty acre parcel of Shawnee National Forest. It’s in a box canyon formed by three small, steep creeks that form the first major tributary to Lick Creek.  All he rushing water here creates a roar that increases the feeling of being totally immersed in this environment.

I have no jurisdiction there, but since this place is so near and dear to my heart, I have included it as part of my empire. Which actually means I’m the self-appointed garbage man. I would not easily volunteer its location. Scatter my ashes here!

This is not a great place to visit in summer, because the forest canopy holds in the4 heat and humidity exuded by the rock face of the bluffs. But in winter it can be a paradise, the south facing bluff face capturing and radiating heat as it blocks the north wind. Incidentally, this line of bluffs extends from Grand Tower on the Mississippi to Golconda on the Ohio, and its length contains many rock shelters. All of them  show evidence of prehistoric occupation, from the Paleolithic to Mississipian eras. 350 million years ago this area was the edge of what is now the Gulf of Mexico. The bluffs are composed of sedimentary rock (sandstone). The base of Lick Creek, just 400m south, is limestone from the ancient sea.

There are cultural features in the canyon that may have created by historic or by prehistoric peoples, I’m not sure which. One photo in this post is of a large basin in the 1creek. The basin has been cleared of all rock to create an area that could have been used for bathing, baptism, prayer? And a rock wall has been constructed along the edge of the main creek. It’s typical of prehistoric construction but in a very atypical location. That large “turtle” rock seen in the post is all natural, but prehistoric people were known to revere turtle images. Finally, an exceptionally large mortar hole was revealed when an old post oak tree there was blown over. I believe it was created by prehistoric people, and judging by its size and location, it seems to me to be ceremonial. In other words, this place is sacred.





During the winter I make several trips, especially after rain, to bask in my favorite area. During such extreme rain events I have to carry Tuffy across the many brooks, small but very swift when rain swollen. Tuffy is the little woolly one. Both  dogs are rescue dogs.  I’m including several other shots below from our hike that day.















And here are two photos and a short video from a hike we took to the canyon in April, 2017:

april ii










loy addington

A native of Southern Illinois, Loy Addington is the long-time host of “Lonesome Roy’s Country Hoedown” on WDBX radio.