Starved Rock: a hidden gem


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For any students not wanting to go far during summer vacation, Starved Rock State Park, located a little more than an hour from the Hinsdale area, serves as a hiking destination and escape for nature lovers.

Pack your camping gear, find that perfect spot right next to the gleaming waterfalls, and take a break from your typical hangout spots. Nothing says “Welcome to Illinois” as well as its nature scene. Yet, teens seem to forget about the options that Illinois provides, when distracted by the world of technology and media.

Starved Rock State Park is a breath of fresh air, a new hope for this generation. Here, stories are shared around a campfire, marshmallows roast on the fire, and teens can find a perfect getaway
from their stressful lives.

Waterfalls trickle between the intricate landscapes of Starved Rock State Park. Here, canyons block out the real world and keep those on the grounds at respite. The dense forestry and hilly
landscape creates a renewed interest in a timeless activity, hiking, and even camping. Teens are allowed to forget technology, social media and the like, as they take in the beauty of the landscape.

Hiking trips can easily be a full day trip, and there are countless other adventurous activities to do as well, such as rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming.

“I feel free at Starved Rock” said Donna Dimitrova, junior. “There aren’t that many people to disturb the peace.”

The vast expanse allows teens to enjoy a few hours alone by the fresh scent of the falling water. When you’re out there in the wild, nothing can stop you from doing something fun. Everything
seems possible, and you can enjoy nature’s hospitality with all your friends. The idea of being alone in the woods may seem scary, but in reality, this isolation from the rest of society makes for better fun, closer relationships with friends, and unique adventures.

Starved Rock’s hills and bumps reflects the dreams of an avid hiker. Most likely the only hilly landscape you’ll find in this place, Starved Rock is the perfect place for a hike. Nature trails take
you beyond the set path, helping you kick out your adventurous side.

“I have always loved nature, especially at summer camps which I went to since I was in 4th grade, I participated in hiking and camping and outdoor activities and just fell in love with it” said Aly
Lagestee, junior.

Many other teens can express their love of nature at Starved Rock, where a sense of freedom fills your lungs, and everything seems open for the grab, open for taking in, and roaming the land. The
interest in hiking, especially at Starved Rock State Park has slowly been growing, as many seek out unique outdoor activities as the summer draws closer and closer.

Thousands of animals crawl and fly around Starved Rock. The fascinating colors of the birds that flap around the Park, and the interesting variety of plants, which enrich the state’s soil, often times becomes a muse for art and passion. Teens can even bring their own beloved pets. The sounds of the crickets chirping and the birds singing calm the human nature, and help visitors become one with our surroundings.

“My favorite part is just being relaxed and being with all my favorite people doing something we all love” said Mia Romanelli, junior and common nature-goer.

Relaxing, adventuring, and laughing with friends all collides at Starved Rock. Here, you can take a trek deep into the seemingly unknown, accompanied by the ones you hold dearest. The
thrill of adventure, the physicality of hiking, and the relaxation next to the waterfalls provides a different type of hangout spot for teens alike, one that unites them closer to nature, and closer to themselves.

Starved Rock is not the only state park or forest that teens have been gaining interest in. Another spot that students are beginning to frequent is Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin. This park, although much smaller than Starved Rock, is famous for its world-class rock climbing opportunities surrounding a perfectly glassy lake. The rich blue color of the lake catches your eye as you descend down a mountain face and begin the long, winding hike back down to the magnificent grounds for food, kayaking, swimming, and more.

With the summer quickly approaching, students have begun to look for unique and fascinating spots to go and hangout, while doing fun activities that cannot be done in their hometowns. With the
plethora of natural marvels spread out all across Illinois, state parks have been providing these opportunities, and will continue to gain popularity once summer arrives.