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5/25/14
  The coffee was good at Denny's on this Saturday morning. The breakfast was also quite good. By 4:00 a.m. the rubber of my tires met the Hwy 7 pavement as I moved to the north. A southwesterly breeze helped me along ever so slightly. The destination was Pedestal Rocks and King's Bluff off Hwy 16 in Pope County. My history with Pedestal Rocks consists of two visits in 1986 and 1991. King's Bluff was new to me. Numerous whippoorwills called to me as I traversed the trail in the darkness. Some barred owls also added to the chorus from a not as near location. King's Bluff was before me with a good half hour till sunrise...which on this day was 6:03. It was cloudy so that occurrence would be less than optimal. This is a large flat bluff that is somewhat diminished by a rock and wood railing that protects innocents from the perils beyond. My gaze was directed to the valley below...the forest was quite thick and lush-like. There is where. The temp was a comfortable 69°.
  After a time, the bluff line to the right was followed for a ways until a suitable break in the bluffs was located. This creek was traced until its confluence with the Right hand Prong of the north Fork of the Illinois Bayou. Many small and decent sized waterfalls were seen along the way. This waterway turned out to be pretty nice. Soon it was time to go uphill towards Pedestal Rocks. The slope was a steady steep grade so I decided to run all the way to the top. The rooms and caves at the base of the bluff and are quite impressive. This complex makes the Sandcastles of Richland look like nothing. The top of the bluff line was a welcome sight and the breeze cooled me while resting on the edge. Too many people were loitering about the place so I quickly moved on down the trail while tossing skunks to scatter the hordes. The parking area was mounted at 2:45. The temp was 83° with mostly sunny skies. This hike was 7.6 miles and was quite satisfying. I climbed into XOTU and drove away at a high rate of speed. The crowd at the parking area was impressed by the line of rubber left behind. My grin widened in delight.

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