Starved Rock – From The Other Side

Starved Rock which, according to legend, was where, in about 1769, the Ottawa and Potawatomi chased the Illiniwek and held them under siege until they starved to death, is the busiest of the Illinois State Parks. Ask anyone who has grown up in Illinois and they will almost certainly tell you that they have visited Starved Rock at one time or another, either with family or as a school field trip.

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We have been to the park on numerous occasions, mostly when our girls were growing up, and thought nothing of climbing all the steps that were required to reach the summit of the Rock and look out over the Illinois River. These days we are not quite so adventurous and decided to take this trip, sans children, at a slightly more leisurely pace.

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This was probably the first time that we had actually seen Starved Rock from the other side of the river. After visiting Utah last year, the bluffs didn’t appear quite so awe-inspiring this time, but the history attached to the place still makes them an interesting feature of the landscape.

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The timing of our visit to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, just across the river, was perfect as it gave us the opportunity to watch a barge going through the lock.

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We were also treated to a fly-past by a couple of the pelicans that gather at the foot of the dam in order to catch fish.

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We did eventually cross over the Illinois River just to pay a brief visit to the Park for old time’s sake. They’ve built a new visitor’s center since we were there last, but those steps looked just as daunting as ever and, with advancing years and gimpy knees, we decided not to try to make it all the way to the top.

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Conserving our energy, we moved on to neighboring Matthiessen State Park. The terrain there is similar to that of Starved Rock; lots of steps, leafy dells with little pools and high rocky walls. I took mostly close-up shots as the patches of bright light and deep shade made it difficult to get a good picture of the overall landscape.

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Returning to the north side of the river we stopped off at Buffalo Rock State Park and caught a glimpse of one of the buffalo enjoying a dust bath which made us feel like it was time to get back to the B&B to enjoy the sunset and recuperate after an exhausting day.

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