Well, even though summer does not technically start for another two weeks yet, it is in full swing in the Midwest. Temperatures have rebounded nicely from an unusually wet and cool spring that saw significant rainfall and much cooler than normal temperatures. Good thing too because there are some outdoor people like myself that were getting pretty restless to be outdoors.
My first real outing this season consisted of a long weekend camping, hiking, and some minimal fishing – took my young nephew and he was not into the fishing experience. Memorial Day weekend spent remembering those who served this great land in our Military for me is traditionally a long weekend where my family and I try to get out and enjoy what others fought to preserve and protect – So, bless our Military Service people for everything we get to enjoy freely in this blessed land.
For the past two years, Moraine View State Park (Leroy, Illinois) has been our destination for the long Memorial Day Weekend. What is a Moraine?
A moraine is any accumulation of debris – rock or soil, pushed along by moving glaciers. When the glaciers moved through Illinois area some 15,000 years ago, they left behind significant amounts of debris and cut large ridges through the area. The moraine where Moraine View State Park sits is part of the Bloomington moraine which, according the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, spans from Elgin, Illinois to the Illinois River at Peoria, and east to Saybrook, Illinois.
For us in the Midwest a moraine equates to a lovely little State park with some spectacular views of Illinois, a nice camping experience, and above average fishing. We visit Moraine View State Park just about every year; mostly for the fishing – Bluegill and Bass mostly, however, the lake does have Walleye stocked but I have never seen one bigger than 12 or 14 inches.
Moraine View State Park was founded around 1959 under another name and later changed to Moraine View State Park in about 1975. The park was slated to be closed under Governor Rod Belgojevich in 2008 due to budget cuts, however, was reopened in 2009. Thank goodness for that.
Of the Illinois State Parks that we have visited, Moraine View State Park ranks up there as one of the prettiest in Illinois. Constructed in a well-developed timber area, the park has some fabulously mature monument trees that provide an outstanding camping experience, as well as some incredible shade for those warmer summer days.
If you plan to be traveling through Illinois via Interstate 74, Moraine View State Park is a nice park to visit. Situated almost midway between Champaign and Bloomington, this park is a great option. Come prepared and fully stocked with food and supplies as there is not really much in the way of shopping once you leave Champaign or Bloomington. There are some shops and groceries in town but you will be limited to the basics.
So, if you are traveling through Illinois via Interstate 74, stop by this little gem and spend a day or two; you will not be sorry.
Until next time – Have a great summer and get outside.