Before we got to the park, hunger pains set in and we were looking for an eatery. The Root Beer Stand caught our eye. The Root Beer Stand is in Oglesby, Illinois which is not far from the park so we stopped there for some lunch on the way in. This place was the bomb diggity! The root beer is homemade ( we talked to the owner to get the scoop ) and has been made by hand for 50+ years. This place should be on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives ( hear that, Guy )! The food and drink was splendid! Ben says the root beer was the best in the world and he did not spill a drop – this coming from my brother who has spilled a drink in every single state he has ever visited – Scout’s honor! He spills every drink at every meal and is always surprised! We, on the other hand, always see it coming and try to appear surprised.
We arrived at Starved Rock State Park and it was wet and muggy. We decided not to camp, as the rain was coming down all over the area and had been for several days. The humidity was high and water was everywhere already.
The Starved Rock State Park is located on the Illinois river and it is very pretty, with some amazing hiking trails (read more about that below). Our reserved campsite was covered in poison ivy and there were tornado warnings in the area, so we opted to wuss out and stay in a hotel for the night.
The hiking trails were awesome! There were boardwalks everywhere and some really cool waterfalls. Mom carried Wil in the backpack carrier until we got to the bottom of Wildcat Canyon, where all of us got into the water. He loves water, but since he can’t swim, we really had to watch him. Dad had to go into the water with his shoes on because Wil took off & fell into a hole; all we could see were his blond curls floating on top of the water until Dad grabbed his shirt and yanked him out of the water! Best of all, he was smiling and had his big fat grin on when he come up – what a monkey! We hiked through 5 different canyons and viewed waterfalls from so many different levels. We crossed paths with many deer & we even saw a mama deer with twin fawns. That was so cool!
The bad news on Starved Rock State Park is that the camping sites are across a road and not connected to the Visitor Center and hiking trails. You essentially have to drive to the hiking trails as you cannot get there from the campground. That was a bummer as well.
For supper, we drove our car across the parking lot, braving the hurricane-force winds & rain, to eat at…wait for it…the Cracker Barrel. Yes, a chain. It was raining & CB was close, please don’t pass judgment; you know you all love the games anyway.