Saturday, April 9, 2011

“H” Is for Hardin County

Hardin County was once part of Gallatin and Pope Counties and came into being in 1839. Hardin County takes its name from John Hardin, an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. It is filled with beautiful parks and trails and vistas one doesn’t often associate with southern Illinois.

Ox-lot cave, photo by Theresa Leschmann

Rim Rock and Pounds Hollow

Pounds Hollow and Rim Rock are two distinct park areas connected by trails that climb to the tops of bluffs and descend to the valley floor below. Caves and a lake area for swimming and fishing provide plenty of fun and opportunities for exploration. We packed a picnic, parked at Pounds Hollow and hiked to Rim Rock and back. Our trail took along the canyon floor where we saw a natural beaver dam in a creek bed and Ox Lot Cave where Native Americans and later pioneers kept livestock in the natural rock formation. As we ascended, the trail squeezed us between towering sheets of rock and at the top we were rewarded with stunning views. We followed the walk with a picnic and a swim in the lake to cool off.

Pounds Hollow Lake, photo by Theresa Leschmann

Cave-in-Rock, IL

The town was settled in 1816 but not chartered until 1901. Sitting directly on the bank of the river, the town was a transportation hub for nearby towns and states. River traffic was substantial in the area. The cave for which the town is named is now the centerpiece of Cave in Rock State Park. Accessible by following a set of steep stairs up a hill and then down another set on the riverside of the hill, you can access the cave, once the home of river pirates and counterfeiters. The view of the river from the bluff above the cave brings certain serenity to those who spend a few moments appreciating its beauty.

Descent to the Cave, photo by Theresa Leschmann

There are many other sites to see in Cave-in-Rock. How about the old jail? It stands open to visitors around the clock. A tiny little stone structure that has been added on to, the jail contains 2 cells, each with the remains of the bed and bedsprings in place. The cell is scarcely big enough to squeeze the bed in let alone a pirate or counterfeiter.

Elsewhere in town, a pair of murals depicts the cave as seen from the river. And for something perhaps a little different, a ferry still operates at Cave-in-Rock. You can drive aboard or walk and ride across the Ohio River to Kentucky. The ride grants an exquisite view of the cave from the river and best of all it is free! For those who are interested in following the Lewis and Clark trail, there is a marker commemorating the pair’s stop here as well.

One of the Lewis & Clark markers, phot by Theresa Leschmann

Elizabethtown and Rosiclare are also worth a visit and I promise to cover them in more detail in another post. You’ll just have to come back and keep reading.


Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

WOW, real neat. Thanks so much for all the info. You are a great writer.

You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you the Brilliant Writer Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

Go to and pick up your award.

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