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A Song of Ice & Hot Tubs • Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest • Winter • Herod, Illinois You can find video and gallery at the bottom of the post, but get all of the above with this immersive blend of all the things. We’re leveling up, Gaardians. It seems to now be tradition that we end up in a hot tub in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest in January. click to see full image Last year it was just Blademaiden, on the back end of a Reuzel teaching trip, but this time, the Beardsgaards did Shawnee together. And NOT for work. Sort of. You are reading this post, after all. One of these two has a little trouble shutting off. No, it’s the less furry one For...

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Shawnee National Forest & Garden of the Gods ~ Southern Illinois

Workaholics have a hard time taking time off. But if work is already bringing one to an out-of-the-way area rife with natural beauty, and a small part of your job involves collecting nature photography for brand materials and fantasy world-building, well. One might be convinced to take one full day "off" to go hiking and fulfill a hobby bug. No part of Illinois is particularly warm in the winter, but this weekend it was absolutely weirdly warm for January, getting into the 40s and 50s during the day and around freezing at night. It was grey, misting if not outright pouring, and the winds, especially on the sandstone cliffs, howled with a rattling fury. It was not optimal hiking weather...

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Shawnee Forest Cabins ~ Herod, Illinois

{Blademaiden found a heck of a lodging gem on her trip to the Shawnee National Forest. This is the cozy part of the trip. See all the impressive scenery in the full post here. There is a particular battle in the heart of those who love the stillness and mystical light of the pre-dawn hours, but also reeeeeally love a comfortable bed in the morning. We are those people. So on this occasion of exploring the wilds of Garden of the Gods and the Shawnee National Forest solo after a training mission, Blademaiden was shocked to find that there was a small ring of cabins a stone's throw (figuratively, but still very close) from the well-known rock formations, and smack dab...

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Starved Rock State Park ~ Oglesby, Illinois

While we of the apothecary have a heart for adventure, we also have two businesses to run and a school-aged child - getting away from the shop for any length of time is a trick. Were that we lived in the mountains or near the ocean, instead of the flatlands of Illinois. We have nature here, and it has its own beauty, but the grass is always greener, isn't it? {Illinois Canyon} It has been half a lifetime since Blademaiden has been to Starved Rock State Park, less than an hour and a half away from Batavia. While Beardsmith and Shop Kid each had their own plans for the day, the family elf was in need of some time in...

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