20 Day Trips authors discuss adventure  

Abbey Whittington, Entertainment Editor

The Academy of Lifelong Learning will be going to the Charleston Carnegie Public Library to listen to authors Larry and Donna Mahan discuss their book “20 Day Trips in and Around the Shawnee National Forest” from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

These two authors are married and spent nine years hiking trails, taking photographs and visiting towns in the area of the Shawnee National Forest, which is located in the deep southern tip of Illinois.

Larry Mahan just recently retired from teaching with 50 years of service and is the author of “In Search of Large Trees,” and Donna Mahan has also retired from teaching in Springfield and is from southern Illinois.

The book features more than 100 colored photographs taken by both authors, detailed places to visit in the Shawnee forest and surrounding areas, complete directions including GPS coordinates, facilities available at each location, the difficulty levels and length of hikes, a narrative of the authors’ experiences and some general facts about each area they visited.

The Shawnee National Forest spans more than 279,000 acres deep into southern Illinois and provides many activities for visitors including horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing and much more.

For the Mahan’s presentation, they will be lecturing from a slideshow that will feature photographs from the book and speak about the areas they visited along with answering questions the audience might have.

The Mahan’s book has the purpose of providing a guide with the information needed for anyone who is interested in the extensive hiking or camping experience so they know how to safely and proficiently explore what the forest has to offer.

The “20 Day Trips in and Around the Shawnee National Forest,” received the Best Travel Guide of the Year award by Booklist in 2013.

Marita Metzke, the Academy of Lifelong Learning’s project coordinator, said another academy member suggested the academy have the couple come and speak.

“People like to do weekend trips or short vacation trips,” Metzke said. “Participants will be able to learn about additional opportunities in the state to visit as well as see another national forest if they have never been to the tip of southern Illinois.”

Anyone that wants to see the authors’ presentation can call the Academy of Lifelong Learning at 581-5114 or email them at [email protected]

The authors’ presentation will be free to attend and there will be autographed copies of their book to purchase for $17.95 before tax.


Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]