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Snapshots of Starved Rock: Camping in Illinois

Camping at Starved Rock State Park

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We went camping at Starved Rock State Park a couple weeks ago for Simon’s fall break and I remembered that one of my favorite rooms with a view is this tent.

It’s true. Seeing the trees RIGHT THERE when my eyes open is one of the surest ways I know to wake up happy.

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Also I love the boys being outside on their bikes and running around.

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Of course camping with middle schoolers also looks like phones around the campfire.

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We spent most of Saturday hiking around the state park. The trails at Starved Rock have tons of wooden walkways built above the ground to protect the ecosystem.

So fancy. You don’t even really get muddy.

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The trails have lots of lookouts over canyons and gorges.

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Everything was still so green and lush. Leaves were just beginning to change here and there.

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But mostly it was all green and blue.

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Starved Rock is right on the Illinois River.

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Some of the trails run right along the riverside.

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There’s a beautiful old lodge at Starved Rock that reminded me of some of the older national park lodges we’ve visited.

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They were all decked out for fall, and lots of folks were eating inside and outside the restaurant at the lodge.

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We did a second hike after lunch before the rain set in to a different canyon.

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The sky was starting to grow pretty ominous. Rain was rolling in Saturday afternoon and we were trying to beat it with one more hike.

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We found the waterfall we were looking for and after the boys played behind it for a little bit, we took off to get back to the car before the storm.

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The waterfall reminded me of a hike in Arkansas that we so much at Petit Jean State Park.

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Once the rain hit, we went to town for snacks.

We roamed a few shops, stopped in a taproom that had a stack of board games, and waited for the rain to subside.

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Then we bought a stack of dry firewood and went back to camp.

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Marshmallows and campfire selfies.

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Taido and the boys turned in pretty early and I stayed out by the fire for a long time. I can watch the flames for hours, listening to the wood pop and the wind rustle the trees.

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On Sunday morning, the sun came out and quickly dried everything out. We packed up and hit one more trail after breakfast.

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It was such a lovely weekend and felt so good to flex that camping muscle again after a long hiatus.

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I remembered how much I love being outside in my camp chair.

I read a book, I sketched our tent.

I listened to the kids laugh (while reciting their favorite scenes from Parks and Rec over and over again).

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When I got home, I filled in my sketch with watercolors.

A happy memory in my journal of some good days outdoors.

Cheers to more of those super soon!