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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Southern Illinois Bound (Part One)

After years of hearing from a woman I work with about Giant City State Park in Southern Illinois, this spring I had another co-worker mention an area called Jackson Falls...near Giant City. That only meant one thing: I had to check it out. This June I decided to do a little scouting report of Southern Illinois and being a huge fan of camping... that's how I went about it.

I love getting in the car, tossing in my tent - air matress - sleeping bag - and prepacked camping tub of supplies. 
I arrived in Southern Illinois just after sunset and was able to set up to sleep under the stars in the Johnson Creek Recreation Area. It was a great campground in the Shawnee National Forest and I had the place to myself that night. Just wonderful!

I was so lucky to find my way around the area fairly well by doing a little prep work in advance. I went to the website Shawnee National Forest and clicked on "contact us" - the office sent me information and maps in the mail. SO HELPFUL to have a hard copy of maps on hand and not just rely on an iPhone on an adventure like this... 

Once I woke up from a nice slumber under the stars, I got my map in hand, and knew it was time to find Jackson Falls - which was a bit of a drive from my campsite, but that's okay... it's all part of the adventure! 
There wasn't enough water flowing for the falls to run, but the bit that was there made for some beautiful photographs.
Hiking is fun, even when it's the first official day of summer and VERY unseasonably hot for June. I like looking carefully for the little details I am often missing out on when life gets busy... like this red leaf.
...and a beautiful black-eyed Susan reaching for the sun.

Speaking of that sun.... it was a hot one that day... notice how I kinda "glisten" here! :)

But... you can't let a little sun keep you from enjoying somewhere as beautiful at the Shawnee National Forest at Jackson Falls. 

I loved the cliffs. This place is very popular for rock climbers.

I stayed on the rim and hiked around it for a while... loved how this tree grew - higher and higher reaching for the sky - until it met the rim and grew into the rock.

However, there did come a point I knew I needed to call it quits here for the day and move on east for Garden of the Gods (which will be in the next blog entry) because my time in Southern Illinois was limited on this little "scouting report" trip. :)

Photos and words by Michelle of MK Designs Photography Click here to see my Photography Website

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