Note: This is an article that has been written for the Enjoy Illinois Blog. I would like to thank Phyllis for taking the time to proofread and keeping me on the right track. We appreciate any comments you may have.
I stand upon an outcrop of natural occurring rock, gazing at the different shades of green that unfold in the distance. A hawk flies below my vantage point giving its unearthly screech and brings a smile to my face. I am standing in the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois.
It is here that the glaciated prairie land of the north meets the rolling hills of the south. This arbitrary line begins just below Route 13 and stretches from the Mississippi River east of Carbondale to the Ohio River west of Harrisburg.
Nestled below this line lies a forested canopy filled with a few of the natural treasures of Illinois. Here is where our only national forest, the Shawnee, rests. Here resides bizarre rock formations, such as Anvil Rock, Camel Rock, and Noah’s Ark at the aptly name Garden of the Gods. Here amongst the flourishing trees and sweet smelling wildflowers is a “city street” made entirely of sandstone bluffs at Giant City State Park. Here is where one can look upwards with awe at a bridge not made by the hands of man, but created with the patient force of water and time at Pomona Natural Bridge. Here is the only road closed for snake migration twice a year at La-Rue Pine Hills. Here is the greatest concentration of intermittent waterfalls, with names such as Burden, Jackson, Bork’s, Rock Bluff, and Ferne Clyffe waiting to be explored.
It is our Shawnee Hills that can slow down time if you let it. If you bring your sense of exploring and discovery to this area you will be able to find that inner child who longs to connect with its natural side. You may come to love these Shawnee Hills in Southern Illinois as much as I do and when you do you, too can call these Shawnee Hills your home away from home.