- The end of the road.
- If you miss Indian Kitchen trail head (west side of road in woods) You will get to this old bridge site. This is the literal end of that road
I haven’t been down there for awhile,
7/16/17 Here is the official announcement! River to River trail to get new markers with major effort. Still not sure if they are leaving the decent ones or replacing them all. No word on trail maintenance, exactly what & where, but it’s extremely welcome news!
7/15/17 I cleared the Makanda to route 51 leg again yesterday and reblazed the stop sign at Makanda road. (I wish people would stop hitting the sign, it had been replaced again)
The Alto Pass waterworks area is cleared again and I mowed a path from the waterworks across the low spot, up over the hill, across the creek, and then up the field to the oak tree, across the little creek and the rest of the way to the woods. I don’t know how long it will last, but it got the deluxe clearing job.
Lifetime senior National Park Passes are going up from $10 to $80 August 1. You have to be 62 before August 1 to take advantage. I was late, I’ll be 62 in September ! I’ll still buy one then.
You can buy them online but there is a $10 handling fee doubling the price and a LONG wait because of the increased demand. There is a list of nearby places you can pick them up in person and save the fee and $10.
With the pass, you can get 3 adults in with you and also get reduce…d rates on some of the park services.
If you are a young whipper snapper with an OLD decrepit Mother, Father, Grand Parent or acquaintance you can drag to the park with you, buy them this pass and make them take you with them!
It isn’t transferable and it can’t be replaced if lost or stolen, but can if it is damaged but readable.
Here is the list of places to buy them.
Third times a charm. I kicked the new Owl Bluff routes butt today and followed it all the way to the east until I found the first old blaze to make sure the whole route was covered.
I put trail markers at all the intersections and a couple mid leg on both sides of the old trail intersection and a pair mid forest road 425. There were NO markers at the old trail split East of Owl Bluff tie up, so there was no way for anyone to know which way to go period. Like wise at the old trail intersection East of Owl Bluff tie up (as opposed to the trail split) and nothing whatsoever again at the new trail intersection with Forest road/trail 425.
It angles sharply North when it meets 425 and unless you have this map which no one else does, you don’t know without a trail marker not to go north at 425.
The wilderness area between the Lusk Creek Trailhead and it’s Eastern Border where the old trail splits off is well marked with their engraved wood unpainted blazes. (That’s where I started.) They are fine until they weather to the same shade as the bark. Here is hoping that takes a bunch of years. Right now they are fine.
Speaking of meeting though, I met a couple snakes today on the trail. One of the common to me on the trail, harmless and cool looking blue racer kinking his body warming up in the sun. I perked up at the arrow head and rattle tail of the second guy. A timber rattlesnake, which I’m happy to say I’ve never seen before. He laid calm for his long distance zoom photos, but when I tried to pass him by he curled up and rattled.
I didn’t try and provoke him to strike, I feel that’s for kids. Leave them alone, it’s their home. The blue racer never budged. I used to have a blue racer as a pet when I was about 14. Let him go when school started. He got tame in about an hour of calm holding. So I have an affection for those particular snakes.
Take nothing but photos, leave the animals to their own agendas are my feelings now.
Big change coming soon as I can update it. New Forest Service maps to replace the current ones. Bill Gilmore from the River to River trail was kind enough to share. Right now they are just a draft with the final version to come. They will be posted on the Shawnee National Forest site when they are finalized. I don’t know yet if the Battery Rock leg will be updated. I will post them to my website when they at done. I’ll also post a link to the new River to River Trail society guide book when it becomes available to purchase. It is eagerly awaited! It’s possible the maps show reroutes not yet made. This is the draft of page 1. I have them all, but like I said, they are not finished. Oh boy!BTW most of the side trails are labeled!!!
6/1/17 Trail reroute between Herod and One Horse Gap!!!!!! Be aware! I haven’t been there yrt, but it may be tricky. The new route is along an established trail along a ravine, I may have been there and it was a decent trail at the time.
I cleared the Alto Pass waterworks area from the Waterworks road to where it crosses the creek after the big hill. This area gets grown up until it is almost impossible to get through- it was over my head when I mowed it last year. I use a walk behind string brush trimmer.
It was shoulder high in places, but not nearly as bad as last years. I’ll try and get this and the Makanda area again in a month or so. It’s an hour & 20 minute drive, and I just don’t have the time to hit it more often. (and not enough energy to do them both the same day.) Todays was only about an hour and a half. My wife came with me, did some paperwork in the Honda Then lunch at Makanda, a check on the trail there, then a nice hike at Cove hollow trail at Cedar Lake. Then headed home as we had to be ready to drive a church bus at 6.
A couple of weeks ago I cleared the Makanda to Route 51 again, and sawed the limbs off the big downed oak tree just West of town on Old Eastern Star tr. that you can now walk past it without going under it.
- It was such a nice day Sunday afternoon, we took a trip down to Dutchman Lake and walked the short hike ( less than a mile) to the pine woods which needed some new blazes, then went to Ferne Clyffe to see the waterfall in the afternoon sun. The dam hasn’t been mowed yet, but maybe thanks to the deep wood off, we didn’t see any ticks or chiggers. They will mow it, maybe they are waiting to make hay. The couple of creeks along the way at both areas were just trickling. A very nice day. I plan to go mow the Makanda to RT 51 trail later this week.
2/23/17 This Springs volunteer schedule. Looks like Panthers Den area this year. I helped at GOG last Spring. Feels good to give something back.
2/23/17 I’m planning on attempting a thru Hike Mid March starting on a Saturday depending on the weather. Not sure how far I will actually get, but you never know,. Starting at E’town if it hasn’t rained hard the week before, Battery Rock if it has. If feet back & stomach all cooperate, I may make it. I’m ready mentally. It will probably be my only attempt. I will just continue some other time from my departure point if I can’t make it. Should make interesting reading either way.
11/3/16 Updated maps 3,4,5,6 Long overdue.
I traveled Pine Hills to Giant City 10/24-25. Updates forthcoming. The trail was decent, foliage still way before peak color but leaves building up on ground. Map 17 & 18 updated with trail reroutes.
Big tree down across trail Just West of the strip in Makanda on Eastern Star Road. Update when it is cleared but you should avoid going under it, very dangerous.
10/21/16 River to River shuttle service. New service starting up with people who have been avid hiker supporters for years. They will pick you up at your car and drive you to your starting point for gas money! Give them a call!
T shirts are here. If you would like one. message me to confirm I have your size and to get your shipping address. Cost for these short sleeved shirts is $10 plus $4 shipping. This is my actual cost. Any special ordered ones after these run out will be $2 each higher since the batch I have were eligible for an over 20 ordered discount. there is also a page here on these with more details.
9/25/16 I spent the last week Hiking the trail from Bethesda Church a couple miles West of One Horse Gap, to Dutchman Lake blazing as I went, then skipped over to Wayside road a couple miles East of Panthers Den and did some blazing and checking conditions to Giant City Campground. Details on their pages, but for the most part the trail was decent excluding the late summer weeds.
Didn’t see a tick, the mosquitos were pretty thick around Millstone lake and spots else where. The streams are barely trickling, we need some rain to get them flowing again. It’s been pretty unseasonably hot this week but supposed to turn a lot cooler. There were a lot of intersections and crossings than needed blazing. I ended up putting 140 up, which the trail sucks up like a sponge.
That first section off the old roadbed West of rocky Comfort road is blazed now where it turns South, and where it joins the old road west again but I didn’t have many left by then, so none on the actual leg. I didn’t see any at either connection. There also were none evident where the trail actually crosses lusk creek. there are now but I may hear some flack over them in that area if the rangers ever walk it since they like their invisible brown blazes in that wilderness.
9/16/16 Hitting the trail Next Monday at Bethesda Church East to Ferne Clyffe (knock on wood) to scout out the trail for our October 5 day hike. I’ll take a couple extra blazes for places some might be missing. Updates as they occur next week.
I MAY be taking a 5 day hike about a month before our scheduled 5 day hike from Bethesda Church (couple miles West of One Horse Gap) to approximately Gum Springs, possibly Ferne Clyffe.. Details soon.
8/9/16 I got the Alto Pass Water works area to where it connects to water works road cleared and blazed where needed, also cleared Makanda to Rt 51 again.Check out photos on Trail conditions page.
8/4/16 Cooler weather will be just around the corner. About 5 weeks from now begins the prime hiking time of the year when the bugs start to die off and the poison Ivy starts to wither. I have some ambitious trail clearing plans after leaf off. I’d like to get the Camp Cadiz to Battery Rock leg reblazed and cleared where it seems to have fallen through the maintenance cracks if only for next year. We will see.
I started a new page for current conditions. Things change over the months and years since I have traveled them. If people hiking could drop me a line on bad places, I can do what I can or inform the Federal or State park services and get something done. Let’s keep this gift we have going. We don’t want to lose it.
8/1/16 Whoo Hoo! made #7
“Even if you don’t have the time to hike the entire 6,800-mile American Discovery Trail, you can still tackle an important leg of it: the 160-mile River to River Trail travels across southern Illinois, from the Ohio River to the Mississippi. If you’ve never been to this part of the country, you’re in for a real treat. Towering slot canyons, sandstone sculpted bluffs, dense deciduous forests (hike this one in fall if you can), and, of course, sweeping views of two of the most iconic rivers of the Midwest are but a few of the treasures to be found along the way. While the forests surrounding this trail look untouched today, don’t be fooled, as you may be following an ancient wagon trail, long overgrown. A word of caution: since this trail is not maintained to the same standards that you’ll find in established wilderness areas, aspiring thru-hikers should come prepared with serious navigational skills.”
Read that last paragraph. I’m working on that. Got a new carb for my walk behind trimmer today, and those 40 more blazes need to go up..
7/29/16 It is getting cool enough here in a couple of days. Unfortunately for clearing the Alto Pass water plant section, my walk behind trimmer is waiting for a new carburetor. My metal tipped weed eater is ready to go though. Going to reclear the Makanda area same trip and I need the Walk behind for the roadbank and fields there. Soon!
7/26/16 It has been too hot to head down there for awhile now. It is my intention to drive down to Alto Pass and clear the trail at the Water works plant to the woods. It is impenetrable right now and the hill path someone has cut is pretty grown up and probably not marked from the Cedar lake direction. The Makanda to RT 51 area needs cut as well again as well. Hopefully it will cool off in a couple of weeks.
I just came back from 2 days Blazing the trail with 68 blazes from Camp Cadiz to the junction and down to Iron Furnace. That leaves the 2 miles up to High Knob (which was ok last time I walked it) and the 4.7 down to E’town (which wasn’t that great.)
Sorry, I was out of Blazes and time.
Some of the worst places are blazed again, but nothing can stop vandalism which I assume played a part in the worst unmarked intersection where the R2R makes a 90 degree turn uphill from the trail for Northbound hikers who would probably continue the old roadbed straight.
The old trail to Camp Cadiz was passable but very overgrown in places. It was surprisingly good from the junction to Karbers Ridge Road. From there it varied greatly. Some places fine, some REALLY overgrown, but always followable. I’d recommend doing it after leaf off if you are game for a section you have never done. I did place probably 20 new blazes on the Karbers Ridge Road to Camp Cadiz section. There were already blazes at all the intersections.
Most of the trail was a lot better than this!
The Junction down to Iron Furnace was ok except for some confusing crossings and weedy areas. For the most part good. It just is the worst time to go with the weeds heat and bugs.
WE haven’t had a lot of rain and the only water running in the creeks was at the Lee Mine area and the next two crossings down.(for filtering)
I’m updating both the Battery Rock leg page and the E’town leg pages. with tons of new photos and some positive locations on the Maps to let you know exactly where you are and where to go.
The Makanda to Alto Pass leg has been reblazed including 3 previously unblazed intersections that have confused people in the past. Many of the old blazes are unreadable and many of the newer marker written 001 blazes are already unreadable. Using Krylon Fusion on plastic corrugated signboard with Sharpie oilbased paint markers on the new ones.
Did see some interesting sights. I used a weed cutter as a walking stick and played “Briar golf” with the creepers overhanging the trail along the way.
The shortcut under Cedar Lake (379/LCL) is impossible to follow at the upper East end. If you attempt it, you will have to bushwack the last part Eastbound. I recommend sticking to the River to River trail.
There are about 35 new blazes now including through Alto Pass to the highway overpass. Parts of the trail are weedy and the ticks are still in full bloom. Despite my fresh permethion sprayed clothes and bug spray, I probably flicked 20 ticks off my light colored pants but didn’t get bit.
I cleared the Makanda to route 51 trail again (5/30). It haden’t been cut this year yet and the highway weeds were higher than the Honda. I was having trouble with the camera and didn’t get any after views nor the one with the weeds higher than the car. I took a couple photos at the nice flowing creek in the middle of the route and that’s where the lens finally quit working for good. It’s all cleared for however long it lasts
I had a hitchhiker in my car when I was about to leave home. I call every snake that looks like this a “Prarie King Snake”. They are harmless and the ones this size don’t even bother to act like they will bite. He got to stay here in our woods.
The 2 wheeled string trimmer is the cat’s meow for brush clearing. Not so great on 3ft tall grass like in the 2 fields and the road bank, but better than anything else. Between that and my weed eater (which I didn’t use but did use the manual cutter) I have the tools. Between the 2 the Cargo mat is almost overwhelmed. But the Honda gets 40mpg making the 3 hour round trip no big deal moneywise. Didn’t see a bug today.
I have been working on an idea to make blazes out of corrugated plastic signboard and krylon fusion paint. So far I’ve discovered that it goes much better trying to stencil if you cut the diamonds out first. Expect some help in the E’town leg and Cedar Creek Lake areas in the near future. Heading down to Makanda today (5/24)to maintain the Makanda to Route 51 leg I adopted. Pics and story later.
I spent the day (3/15/16) down at the R2R cleaning up a couple spots on the trail that I had trouble with in the past. My wife wanted to come too on such a nice day and took off work.
On my previous trip heading West I was supposed to be meeting my wife on Garfield road just before Gilead Church road and I had to wade through 8ft tall weeds on the never mowed power line right of way after passing some interesting bluffs I had no time to explore. So I dragged my walk behind string trimmer to the power line right of way off Garfield road and after the Winter the trail is reasonably easy there, so instead of clearing trail, I explored the bluffs there with my wife.
Then I headed over to the Max Creek trail head at the Taylor Ridge Road just before RT45 and spent a couple hours and a tank of gas in the trimmer mowing roses that are crowding the trail between Max creek and the trailhead. I got it in reasonable shape but it needs another day of either manual cutting with my hand cutter on the high ones or my metal tipped weed whacker that needs a fuel line replaced. I was pretty pooped dragging that 2 wheeler through the mud for however far that was and we got out of there at 5:30 and made it to our voting place at 6:45 muddy to vote before 7. A good day on the trail though!
I posted photos of the bluffs on
I couldn’t sit home today so Paula & me went to Makanda and hiked the short section I’m taking care of, then went to Millstone Lake to see what the flood did to the exposed rock formations under the spillway that I’ve seen reported but no one posted photos of. I didn’t carry a pack, just a water bottle in my cargo pants pocket, but the back & ribs were a non issue. I even did a small amount of rock climbing out of the bottom of the spillway and no pain. So I had a wonderful day.
February is taking a little time off tomorrow after this too windy day. It will be a great day to be in the woods Saturday. I fell down & went boom a few weeks ago and my back & ribs are still too sore to do much. Ladder slipped out from under me, then I fell on it flat on my back bending 2 rungs and ruining the ladder I made a set of stairs the next priority and got them done a week later when I was recovered somewhat.
I do plan on getting down there next week do maybe do some re blazing in a couple trouble spots and maybe hit some of the rose bushes crowding the trail between Max Creek and the Taylor Ridge Road trailhead.
A few of us are going to do a 4 day hike in mid April from GOG to Taylor Ridge. Hopefully I’ll be fit by long before then.
I took a few of my favorite R2R photos to Staples and had them enlarged to 11×14 for less than $2 each. I culled 2 of the 6 and hung them on the wall of the building I have been working on since early Fall. Plans are to frame a map of the R2R and have a bunch of nice photos filling the wall around it to interest my friends who don’t hike.
I’ll put up a favorite photo page in the next couple of days. If anyone has some you’d like to share, I’d be happy to post them.
This is the time of the year we start getting cabin fever. Get out there, after all it’s FREE. (This tree stump is left at High Knob after they have cleared all the obstructing trees away..it’s back to being worth a trip again!)
This is the time I usually just do day trips. I’ve posted some good ones. (end of newest update)
I’m thinking of hiking the Eddyville to Gum Springs road section, (Map 7,8,9,10) one of the most consistently unblazed sections. (Shawneemart will let you park if you ask). The trail is easy to follow, you just pass a few trails, some more well traveled than the R2R and no blaze to tell you which way to go, yet never see a blaze for hours. You pass a few posts with the signs ripped off. At least it was this way a couple years ago. It’s mostly National Forest and it may have been reblazed since then if they maintained it, but it may have a few more after I pass through. Bay Lake/Millstone Lake whatever they call it this week is an awesome place to camp.
I’m going to be on the trail every opportunity. I have a Klymit Static V sleeping pad to try out. (It worked GREAT!) Anything has to be better than the 1/4′ foam pad I’ve lived with. I also have a solar powered lantern that folds up. (IT stayed on most of the night in a tree and seemed to charge ok on my backpack) We will see if it gets enough light to recharge in the woods. I have my doubts. I’d like to make the E’town to GOG leg this Fall to see it in the Fall colors and add some blazes. (Forgot about the 100 horse Fall trip from High Knob to E’town and Skipped that leg and did the Gum Springs area with my wife instead)
Now that the Pine Hills area and Makanda areas are cleared, I’d like to travel the Makanda to Ferne Clyff leg again as well. We will see how that pans out. I’d also like to make the day trip to Saltpeter cave during the peak color time. I still haven’t got there at the right time. I took some wonderful photos at peak on an overcast day, and got there past the peak last year. (Update, missed it this year too)
(end of newest post)
I discovered that Google Earth Pro is now free, and that the maps can be added to anyones website as long as the maps are credited and not altered by clouds or other natural looking modifications. Expect Google Earth maps with routes shown to be added to each page to go along with the present maps. I’ve already added one to clarify where the good and bad areas on map 19 are and you can get a feel for how long each area is. That should really be a help. (The areas are all cleared now)