But in in early November I was surprised to find concrete footers with metal uprights behind caution tape.
For several years, I have been hearing rumors that the park administration was planning to rebuild the overlook. You can see how close to the edge the old fence posts are. Every year for twenty years the posts have been moving closer to the edge...or, more scientifically, the rocky cliff has been eroding.
By mid November, posts had been attached to the metal uprights. The cliff will be eroding a few more years before the abyss claims these posts. Will they be here twenty years from now?
On December 1 I walked in late afternoon. The workmen were back. They were finishing up fitting metal fence sections between the posts. The viewing area is also more enclosed because of added fence sections at both ends.
I took this photo from the bottom of the ravine. For a day both barriers were saving viewers from a long fall with a rough landing.
The next day, the old fence posts had been sawed off and workers were installing a slanted board for visitors to lean their elbows on. You can see that the rock is eroded quite far back.
I hiked via stairs up to the top of the ravine where workers were finishing up. One said they expected to be finished by the end of the day.
One more day. One more hike at Charleston Falls with a stop at the overlook. Here is the finished overlook, finished just in time.
The Park Christmas Open House is Saturday evening. The trail to the falls will be lit by luminaries. The falls will be lit by colored lights. In a clearing in the small prairie beside the parking lot, visitors can warm themselves at a bonfire and sing songs accompanied by a guitarist.
If the visitors continue to walk they will come to a large tent set up beside the old farm house which now houses the Education Department. Inside the tent there will be cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, crafts for the children to make and more singing accompanied by a keyboard player. Inside the house will be tables holding John,(Spirit of Thunder) DeBoer's collection of native American flutes and Touch Tables with a variety of natural objects to feel.