997 forum posts
When? - 2 weeks in late August/early September, 2010
Where? - Southern Illinois, River-to-River Trail, Battery Rock.
What? - Thru-hike of entire 160-mile River-to-River Trail; various trail maintenance along the way.
Conditions? - Traverse of Shawnee Hills/Shawnee National Forest. They're quite small hills really. 75F during the day, 50 at night. Bugs generally gone. Water generally plentiful. Perhaps the best time to go light. Tarps are perfect, but many overhanging caves abound, providing opportunities for cover-less sleeping. Camping is allowed all along the RTRT.
Storm damage from spring, 2009 derecho still blocks trail at times, but it's never impassable, and the trail is mostly clear and well-marked. Just head West! The trail itself is generally good singletrack, but gets torn up at times (Lusk Creek) due to equestrian use. Alternatingly overgrown and tame, the trail can be done in trail runners, but scree gaiters will help (especially with the burrs).
Details? - I'd like to try to get a fairly large group together to give this a go, so exact dates are still up in the air to allow flexibility. Length of the trip can change as well, if the final group wants to pick up the pace; if time is an issue, the trail can be walked in 8 (or less) days without much discomfort, provided your pack is light...
Battery Rock is right on the Ohio River, at the Kentucky Border, very near where Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky meet. It's a great place to start, and a great hike all around.