The Pine Hills are one of the best features of Southern Illinois, and it’s always fun to do a long ride through them. One of the toughest routes is Hutchinson Creek Loop, which takes you from C-Dale out Dutch ridge, then on to Alto Pass and Rhine Road. Rhine goes dirt after a while, and then turns into Hutchinson Creek at the Beech Grove intersection just north of Trail of Tears. Hutchinson is an excellent rock-gravel road, and winds up to the top of the main ridge intersecting with Pine Hills Road (near to which the picture above was taken). Once on Pine Hills, the return is via Scatters Road, then up Macedonia then back the normal Wine Trail loop.
Unfortunately, the bridge at the base of the climb on Hutchinson Creek is out. It was out but you could still walk across it (Roberto, Molteni, and I did it several times). But now they tore up the main beams and you have to scoot down the hill and cross the creek a few times to find a place to climb up. I had to Huffy toss my Gunnar so I could pull myself up a steep embankment. Still, it was worth it!! The rest of the road has been repaired, and they did a ton of work on the big creek crossing.
The view above is not current, obviously. Aside from the winter flora, it doesn’t have the Big Muddy backed up to about that grove of trees in the middle of that cornfield. Next year’s food crisis is going to be really bad. Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa are pretty screwed for planting all along the river areas–which are the most productive farmlands.
I hope those levees hold….
Update: Wow!!! The Big Muddy (not to be confused with the Mississippi) is lapping up against Scatters Road. Basically, the picture above would have water everywhere….