Little Grand Canyon

We are so lucky to have lots of great places in the Shawnee National Forest to hike and experience. I recently went on a hike on the 3+ mile loop trail at Little Grand Canyon, and I had a blast!

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Towards the lower portion of the trail, I saw some of the most impressive set of rock formations, shown above. It’s definitely worth hiking the entire trail just to see them!

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Wild hydrangeas grow along creek beds and from rocky ledges. Thank be been so enamored with these gorgeous flowers since we visited the Oregon coast a few years ago and these flowers were everywhere. This year, we also grew them in our garden so when I realized that they grew naturally in southern Illinois, I was so happy! I’ve seen them here, Tunnel Hill, and also at Pomona Natural Bridge.

The native Wild Hydrangea is occasional to locally common in southern Illinois, uncommon in central Illinois, and largely absent from the northern section of the state. Habitats include shaded ravines, rocky stream banks in wooded areas, bottoms of bluffs and cliffs, low rocky ledges, and similar habitats in wooded areas. Wild Hydrangea is found in high quality natural areas.

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This was one of the first solo hikes I had embarked on, and it’s said that, “in every walk in nature, one receives far more than he seeks”.

My main intent with this walk was to explore a new place and to spend a little time in nature and I absolutely LOVED every second of it.

While I saw a few other hikers at first, and since there’s little to no signal for most of this trail, I should’ve been slightly concerned about being alone in the woods…but I felt safe. It felt awesome to know that I had a moment to myself and that I could walk as fast or as slow as I wanted and I didn’t have to be concerned with taking too many photos of the little things along the way, for fear that it would take “too long”.

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I feel like I should make it a point to hike somewhere different each week and post it here! I’ve gotten so much more in tune with the natural beauty around me here in southern Illinois, and it definitely needs to be a bigger part of my blog!