We sputtered out of Chicago on a Saturday morning for the first leg of our trip to Austin for my sister’s wedding. Our first stop was Bell’s Spring in Shawnee National forest (at the very bottom tip of Illinois).
They had some simple drive-up camp sites with fire pits. We had a nice first night and woke up early the next morning to hike around Bell’s Springs.
The spring’s hike included many intertwined trails with lots of twists and turns to different blue-green pools. It was beautifully pristine, and it might have been because we were early, but no one else was on the trails with us.
The best part of the hike was “Devil’s Backbone” where we went for a dip. The fresh, cool water was super refreshing after being in the heat of the sun for an hour or so. Mike was a little adventurous and decided to climb the backbone:
Then our pup, Boo got a little scared that he had vanished and she went after him (luckily he called her down before she got too far!).
It was fabulous first stop and we were back on the road right after!