September 24-27 — We had perfect fall weather the four days/nights we camped in Starved Rock State Park – in fact, we had a perfect camping trip! Starved Rock is a beautiful state park less than 100 miles south and west of Chicago. It derives its name from a legend in which, after a battle among two Native American rival tribes, the Illinois tribe took refuge atop this 125′ sandstone butte, but with no way to escape got starved out by the surrounding Ottawa tribe.
Even back in the mid 1700’s when all this took place, the tribes realized the value and beauty of this special place along the Illinois River. In the 1800’s this site was developed for vacationers with a hotel, dance pavilion, and swimming area. In 1911, the State of Illinois purchased the site and turned it into the state’s first recreational park. In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Lodge and trail systems present in the park today – hurray for the CCC and all they did for our state and national parks!!!
Starved Rock boasts a wonderful Visitor Center where we checked in and watched an informative video about the history of the park, as well as the current plant and wildlife in the area. It features lots of well-marked hiking trails, canyons, sandstone bluffs, seasonal waterfalls, the river, and the beautiful lodge. The one thing we did miss – perhaps the most unique feature of this park – is the bald eagles; they winter along the river. We vow to come back to see them.
We are still new at this camping-in-an-RV stuff, so we are still trying out new things. We had the awning out and nightly fires – I’m still not doing campfire cooking yet, but I’ll get there….