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River to River Trail : The Hike through Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois... a collection of piano solos.

Dedicated to the memory of my mother and grandmother who gave me my love of music, nature, and all things beautiful.

The River to River Trail - From Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Grand Tower on the Mississippi:
The River to River Trail spans 176 miles of the southernmost section of Illinois from the Ohio River on the east to the Mississippi on the west, which is predominantly the Shawnee National Forest. The Trail wanders through the wilderness areas of Lusk Creek, garden of the Gods, Panther’s Den, Crab Orchard, Clear Springs, and Bald Knob, the state parks of Giant City and Ferne Clyffe, and one city park called Devil’s Backbone.

Although Illinois is known for its heavily glaciated land yielding some of the best (and flattest) farm land in the world, Southern Illinois has not been glaciated and was shaped by faulting done more than 250,000,000 years ago, before the Rockies or the Appalachians were formed. Being centered so directly within the United States and the various climate regions, Southern Illinois is a transition zone for plants and animals, which results in there being representation of both sides in one region. As a result, there are more plants and animals represented in the Larue-Pine Hills national Natural Landmark then there are in the entire Appalachian region. There are wetlands with cypress trees, mountains (yes there are), old growth forests with canopies and wonderful vistas, and the history is amazing.

The region has passed through several colorful eras, but probably the most amazing is the time of the westward expansion when the pioneers from the east flooded into the new wilderness. A family, escaping the Indian wars in the east landed near Devil’s Backbone on the Mississippi. They were immediately set upon by renegades, and the only one who was not killed was a twelve-year-old boy who hid in a cave in the very top of the hill. In the years that followed, he avenged his family by killing every member of that reading party. That cave is right on the ADT.

Southern Leg of the American Discovery Trail (ADT) In Illinois:
Following the American Discovery Trail in Illinois, the entry into Illinois from Indiana is at New Haven, where Daniel Boone’s brother had a mill. It travels down to the River to River Trail near Battery Rock, featured in the film How the West Was Won, then across the state to Devil’s Backbone and up toward St. Louis via Fort De Chartes. They spent $3,500,000 in 1750 to build a stone fort, while all others were made of wood. This area was a breadbasket for New Orleans, for it supplied food because France could not do so. The trail exits Illinois at East Saint Louis into Missouri. Ironically, the same stones used to build Fort De Chartes were stripped and used to build the first bridge to span the Mississippi…Eads Bridge.

Provided by: John O’Dell

Interested in knowing more about the River to River Trail?
Take a look at their website: http://www.rivertorivertrail.com/home.html.