Illinois: Chain O Lakes State Park – The Good, the Bad and …

Bridge near Deer Marsh picnic area

5/17/2021 – This is a beautiful park and is clean and well maintained, but the bathhouse near the Prairie View campsites was grimy and horribly outdated. The showers were push buttoned and timed for only 20 seconds! Ridiculous! Fortunately, there was hot water. A toilet was out of order and looked like no one was in a hurry to fix it because I didn’t see any one the 5 days I was there. Yuk!
There are many trails that are in the woods that can be made into short or long hikes depending on which way you go with lush greenery and great views of the fields. The lake had several piers and boats for rent. The concession stand was nicely stocked with food, etc, mostly fishing items, and the grill was open. They also sold high quality firewood and kindling, which made starting and keeping the fire going easy.
The trails were beautiful and well marked, but I did get turned around on the Natures Way Trail. I was trying to head back to my campsite and went in the wrong direction that added almost 40 minutes to my hike. Ended up hiking 9 miles that day, ouch! Taking pics was fun and there was plenty of wildlife around, including a turkey, coyote, and a boatload of birds. My favorite was watching a pair of sandhill cranes walking around the lake with their 2 babies. OMG were they cute!
My camp site was in Prairie View site #37, a basic tent site with a fire pit and picnic table. It was spacious and secluded and one could put up at least two tents here. I put mine up to hold the outdoor items in case of rain, and it served me well. This is the tent that I bought from my friend, Katie last year.
My neighbors across from me were a young couple that unfortunately, looked like they were living in their car, and moved around the campsites all weekend. They decorated the car with skulls, wore black, and had a weird vibe. They also had a little kitten and I’m trying to figure out how they can manage that. Just saying…
I met up with a couple of women whom I met here in 2019 and it was great to spend a few days with them. They were curious about the van and my travels, and we spent lots of time talking about organization, food and safety. They love to cook, and bring a lot of items, but they only spend long weekends, and to me, it a lot for them to pack for just a couple of days. We brainstormed and came up with ideas to make their camping more fun and less work. They had done some downsizing already and will continue for future. I can really relate to that! We might try to get together in the fall when I come back to Illinois.
I also bought a refurbished 90mm Tamron macro lens that I’ve been playing with.

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