Well I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? Still moving eastward where we last left off on our eastward trek. We continued through Nebraska along Interstate 80 and on through Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, as you get to the Eastern Side of the state and then cross the Missouri River into Iowa. This is where we went South on Interstate 29 and turned south then went through Iowa and down into Missouri Just after crossing the border into Missouri at about Rockport is where we found a turnoff that took us west over the Missouri River and back into Nebraska to a little town called Brownville (whose little Winery could have been a post in and of itself)… but from there we went south until we reached the entrance of the park itself. This park is nestled on the banks of the Missouri River and on Nebraska's southeastern border right where Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska’s borders meet.
Indian Cave offers a wide range of outdoor experiences. They have camping from RVs to tents, picnicking, boat access to the river, horseback trail rides, hiking, fishing, living history or communing with Mother Nature, all await you at this exceptional 3,052-acre park. Indian Cave is particularly spectacular in the fall, when its 2,386 acres of timber are decked in autumn's best. That is when we just happened to be there too. Developments here are designed to maintain the pristine nature of the area and at times it felt as if it should be done only on foot.
We did a lot of walking here and at one point were concerned that we might not find the road again, but we kept going in the right direction and eventually came across it just prior to going all the way back down on of the paths. Mrs. LZ had no problem getting a good stretching of our legs at this park. We walked by some things like an old one room school house and an old pioneer's cabin. The fall foliage was pretty well done for the season, but you could still catch a glimpse of some beautiful colors here and there along the way. One place we came to had a huge hornet nest (we assumed) in the branches of the almost leafless tree.
Indian Cave State Park is actually named for the huge sandstone cavity that is the main geologic feature of the area. Although its actual age has not been determined, it is possible that Indian Cave has existed for several thousand years. It is a natural formation, created by silt and fine-grained sand deposits in a Pennsylvanian rock channel.
Petroglyphs (or ancient Indian picture writings) etched on the walls of the cave are the only known example of their kind found in Nebraska. However, their cultural origin and period in history remain a mystery. The petroglyphs depict forms, shapes, and scenes, most of the elements of nature, mostly wildlife. I did take some pictures of theses, but frankly I was not thrilled with the results.
My wide angle lens was not working at the time of this visit and I kept blaming “that fact” on the poor pictures, but a true photographer should be able to overcome these little problems. I guess that proves something here.
1) I am NOT a true photographer or
2) I am a truly BAD photographer; or in fact, may be that
3) I am NOT a photographer period!
The cave, with its mysterious picture carvings, is easily accessible to park visitors. Unfortunately, many of the ancient petroglyphs have been obscured or destroyed by the later gougings of modern-day visitors. We thought this modern-day vandalism was just incredible stupid. They caution you “to please help guard the fragile history of this unique spot and discourage anyone from defacing the sandstone.”
Approximately 300 feet south of the cave is a coal shaft. It was originally worked by a Mr. Deaver, who lived on the bottom ground and used the coal to heat his house. The coal was very poor quality. As you look at the pictures I have added to the post you may notice that one is from a grave marker that was up on a hill that was called the Half-Breed Cemetery. It is a little hard to read, but what it states is "Died Dec. 27, 1865 AGED 69 yrs. 3 months"
While this place is sort of off of the beaten tourist paths of either Interstate 80 or Interstate 29, it was really a very pretty and out of the way place too, which makes it (in my opinion) kind of cool in and of itself.
I can remember standing on one of the very neatly constructed look-out platforms over-looking the Missouri River imagining Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, on their first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast by mapping northwest America by providing the first accurate depiction of the relationship of the sources of the Columbia and Missouri rivers, and the Rocky Mountains. I also thought this would be a great place for a tenting and camping adventure.“The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition.”
~ Dave Barry (American Writer and Humorist)