First Quarter Cleanse at Starved Rock State Park

With the first quarter in the books, it is now time to move on to the second. There’s a little over a week-long break before we dive into quarter number two of optometry school. This allows for everyone to either go back home, or for those like me, spend the entire time exploring.

One of the things I wanted to see was what the state of Illinois had to offer in regards to hikes and the outdoors. There happens to be a beautiful state park that isn’t too far away from the city. Voted the #1 attraction in the state, Starved Rock can’t be passed up.

Leaving in the late morning, my girlfriend and I got to the practically full parking lot around noon. I was surprised by just how many people were already there. My girlfriend was happy to see dogs that she would get the chance to pet.

Our hike started right after the visitor center, and went on for miles to eventually loop back around. The hike itself wasn’t challenging at all. The sights were breathtaking. The rock formations left me in awe and made me forget where I was. It didn’t seem possible for this park to be so close to Chicago!

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Along the trail, you want to keep an eye out for poison ivy as well as ticks. While I was trying to figure out how to get to Starved Rock, I stumbled upon reviews that spoke of unfortunate circumstances that involved both. Yikes. Luckily, we encountered neither issue.

After walking for hours, we still didn’t even cover half of the trails that are available to explore. Heading back to the car, we took the loop around to find cabins and a lodge. These allow for people to have extended stays in the park.

Starved Rock is a beautiful place for a day trip. I would encourage everybody to check it out for themselves and feel free to bring their entire families and dogs. As an optometry student, I found it cleansing to just be out of the city and away from school to hit the reset button before the winter quarter started.

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