The Sentinels

Beneath the Sentinels Rising around 180 feet above the Mississippi River, the limestone bluffs called The Sentinels are one of the interesting rock formations of the Mississippi Palisades State Park. Located at the north eastern part of Illinois, right on the Mississippi River, the state park offers sweeping views of the countryside, the river, and nearby Iowa. The park allows rock climbing at times, and it appears to offer some challenging climbs. The Sentinels are two, tall spires of rock, separated from the rest of the bluff about 10 feet, making them free standing, and able to be climbed from different faces. The Sentinels The lines in the limestone show the geologic history of the driftless area of Illinois, the area of northern Illinois spared from the scouring glaciers. The rocks in this area are unusual here, as most everywhere else in northern Illinois they were destroyed during the ice age. Distinct bands toward the bottom contain completely different contents than the rest of the bluff, deposits such as these are of interest to the amateur geologist in our group. climbingsentinelssm
A bit of easy climbing to view the rock deposits and fossils contained in the bluff was in store. This bluff seemed to be crumbling a bit, and was closed to any "real" climbing, but our climbing was limited to the easily accessed areas of the Sentinels bases. Exploring the Sentinels
Some snow and ice was still in place on this cold morning, not what we expected because it was relatively warm over the last few days. But deep in the forest and in shaded areas, ice remained, making the hike to see some of these formations a bit tricky. In all the years we've visited the Mississippi Palisades, we never explored the Sentinels. Most of our visits were during the summer, when trees and leaves blocked the view of the formations, keeping them out of site from us. The bare trees allowed us to see these and investigate them in detail. As with many of the places we frequent, we always notice things we haven't seen before. They may not be as prominent of these, sometimes tiny or hidden, but they always keep us interested, and eager to return.

No comments: