Monday, October 31, 2011

Elephant Rocks State Park

Last time we were in St. Louis, Charlene and Pat took us on a 130-mile ride through some beautiful country to Elephant Rocks State Park.  

When the Ozark plateau was formed during a great uplifting of the entire area about 250 million years ago, the vertical cracks (or joints) between the rocks became more pronounced. Time and weather took its toll, clearing the weakest pieces out of the joints and laying the immense, oblong blocks of granite bare to the elements. Slowly, the corners were worn away to give the boulders their smooth rounded shape, and trees and shrubs grew in the cracks to help enlarge the joints and wear away the surface of the rock. Physical and chemical weathering has also created circular depressions called tinajitas which hold temporary pools of water and often house tadpoles.
There is no record of the actual number of “elephants” inhabiting the park. Old ones erode away and new elephants wait beneath the cracks and joints of the granite hillside. The park’s pink patriarch, Dumbo, is 27 feet tall, 35 feet long and 17 feet wide, weighing in at a colossal 680 tons!
Anyway, this was something the likes of which Cliff and I had never seen before.  In the 1800's, granite was taken from this place for use in many buildings in St. Louis, and for the governor's mansion in Jefferson City.  Meanwhile, big boulders were left behind to amaze the people in the twenty-first century.
Workers in the 1800's left behind inscriptions in the rocks.

There are paths all over the park, giving easy access to the scenic areas.

Wow, what a view.  This was one spot where I actually saw an elephant.  See the third rock back?  It looks like an elephant's head and trunk.

I wonder if this fellow even imagined that people would be reading his inscription in 2011.

This is my profile picture right now on Facebook.

On the way home, we stopped here to eat.  It may not look like much, but they make a pizza from fresh ingredients that will knock your socks off.   
Keep in mind that Cliff and I are on a budget; we really can't afford to head off to Wyoming, but we surely do have some great places to visit right here in Missouri and the surrounding states.  And that's affordable!


darev2005 said...

Elephant Rocks is a very cool place. We've gone there often and I'm always amazed at the new things i see in the rocks.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You got to see a lot on that trip. What a fun time you must have had. There is lots to see and do around here that isn't expensive either. Having fun isn't all about money, that's for sure. Happy Halloween!


My husband would be in heaven there. He loves geology and geological history. State Parks yield some fascinating secrets. Loved your photos. Got a kick out of the one of you between the rocks. In Wisconsin in the Dells there is a place you have to squeeze between the rocks called Fat Man's Misery. I barely made it in my skinny days. Now forget about it. LOL. Take care.

Midlife Mom said...

You've sure seen some interesting places. I have to admit seeing you in that gas chamber was scary! You were brave to even sit there!!!