Friday, January 26, 2007

Old Post Cards

1st.card is of the lower river trail to Lovers Leap and the 2nd. one is Lovers Leap. This is Starved Rock State Park located in Utica, Illinois, in rural La Salle County, Illinois, about 75 mi. west-southwest of downtown Chicago. The Park is 2,630 acres in size and includes 13 miles of hiking trails, numerous waterfalls and other landforms. The park contains 18 sandstone canyons carved over the last 12,000 years by a combination of surface water runoff and groundwater outflow. Starved Rock itself is a large eroded buttle overlooking the Illinois River. French explorers built a fort called Fort St. Louis atop the rock in 1682 but had abandoned it by the early 1700s.

The rock derives its name from a story that a band of Illiniwek was trapped in the 1760s on the rock by a band of Potawatomi trying to avenge the death of the Ottawa Chief Pontiac. The Illiniwek then scrambled to the top of the rock, where the Ottawa and allied Potawatomi laid siege until the Illiniwek starved to death. However, the authenticity of the story has never been verified, and the story is now considered to be more legend than truth.

Visitors are advised to stay on the trail for their safety. Typically, at least one or two individuals fall off a cliff each year. There were 4 deaths from falls between 1999 and 2006. There is a lodge that was built of full timbers in 1930, overnight accommodations, a restaurant, and conference Center. Starved Rock State Park is one of the busiest S.P. in Illinois with yearly attendance over 1 million visitors each year. There is a great deal of botanical diversity found there. As an example, 18 species of ferns have been identified in the forest,wetland, and canyon habitats.

I think it is amazing that I was born and grew up less that a three hour drive from this place and never went there or for that fact, never even knew about it. Mmm, I wonder what I am missing in my own back yard here in north Florida. How about you, have you scouted out your area?


Janet said...

My family went to Starved Rock and I loved it! I remember the story about the Indians (Native Americans)and how they died up there. At the time it all seemed so "romantic" to me....but then I always had a fascination with Native Americans and their culture.
My other IL favorite place was New Salem State Park. I liked going there in the fall when all the leaves were turning....beautiful.

Sioux said...

Sometimes we just don't appreciate what's at our door or out our window. It's wonderful that you've found this place now. Enjoy it!!