Right now the ground is covered in a blanket of white, but it won’t be long before the first crocus of spring breaks through the Shawnee National Forest floor, the sun coaxing the little purple buds to open their petals into full bloom. Trees will leaf out, shrubs will flower, and birds will sing sweet music as they return to their summer homes. Although hiking the Shawnee National Forest in quiet winter solitude has its advantages, most people prefer to wait until the temperature rises to a comfortable level before leaving the warm comfort of home and come out to play.
I spent a couple of days in the Shawnee National Forest and adjacent Cave-in-Rock State Park last summer. As I sorted through photos of the trip, I was reminded of the natural beauty of the area, the huge rock formations in the Garden of the Gods, the flora and fauna of the woods, the rippling sound of the creeks and river. Enjoy the slideshow.
The Shawnee National Forest is located in Southern Illinois. For information on activities and accommodations, visit the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau web site.
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