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Home » Adventures » North Shore Trail » McCormick’s Creek State Park

Day 5 — I Think I Have Been Here Before

Entrance to Wolf’s Cave

Entrance to Wolf’s Cave

We had now almost totally run out of state parks between Illinois Beach State Park and school. Also, we did not have an Indiana map to look at so we were basing things off of memory. We decide to head to Shakamak State Park which was only about a half-hour south of school, so it was not too much out of our way. We headed south on 294 around Chicago. This was now getting to be familiar territory for me as I had driven on these roads many times before. We passed by Great America, but I could not convince OVC to pay for tickets to get in. Of course just as we got onto 94, we hit a traffic jam (which was quite usual for those roads). We got off at the next exit to try to avoid the congestion but there had been an accident on that road so things were backed up there as well. We just had to slowly crawl through it until we eventually got out. On our way to Shakamak we passed within about a minute of my house. After driving all around Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois here we were in my home town. So for our final stretch of driving, we were covering the same boring roads that I take whenever I travel to school. Coincidentally enough, to get to our destination we actually had to pass through Terre Haute. So not only did I go through my hometown, but also passed close to Rose-Hulman and my apartment for school.

McCormick’s Creek State Park

George exiting Wolf’s Cave

George exiting Wolf’s Cave

As it turned out, when the person talked about going to Shakamak State Park, he was really thinking of McCormick’s Creek State Park. This was not really bad though as it was still a nice park. I had been here before, probably over ten years ago, so I did not remember much about it except the small cave inside the park. We arrived and once again found the station to register for the campground closed. We picked out an electric spot (there were not any signs for primitive camping) and set up camp. Our leader went to the park office to try to register, but it closed about five minutes before he arrived. Four of us headed out to explore Wolf Cave while our group leader stayed back because his ankle was still bothering him. The cave was neat to go through, although it had been passed through so many times all of the walls were rounded from people touching them.

The campsite in McCormick’s Creek State Park

Our campsite

We returned from the cave and found something a little disheartening — our camp and van are gone. Luckily though, we were not left for dead. The ranger had just come around, and our leader had moved us into the primitive camping section. And why did he bother moving our camp…because to stay in an electric site was about $25 a night! That sure seems really expensive to me for a campsite. For that much I want a roof over my head and a mint on my pillow. The primitive sites were actually nice though — more secluded and in the woods. While we were in camp, an older man came by and asked us if we were having luck finding mushrooms. Most of us were not quite sure what he was talking about so we just kind of halfway acknowledged him and he passed on. It was later explained that picking a certain type of mushroom (the eating kind, not the hallucinating kind) was a big thing to do around this time in Indiana. You can not grow them artificially and many people really like the taste. I was from suburbia Indiana and had never heard of this. It was kind of funny though that this man assumed that because we were camping there, we were looking for mushrooms. Well, we concluded the night with a nice dinner of more Kraft Mac and Cheese, and built the traditional big fire on the last night of camping. Of course, it was not like the previous days fires had been small. Despite this, we did build a bigger fire and enjoyed it.

Sitting around our large campfire

Enjoying the fire

Couple of afterthoughts now. By today, the nontraditional lunches were taking their toll, and my stomach was not feeling so good. Oreos and goldfish for lunches for a week just did not agree with my stomach. I was sure if we had been hiking it might have worked out better, but riding in a van does not really burn too many calories. I was not too bad though, and it did not effect me much. Also, I had a different take on all of the van riding and park hoping. We were doing a highly modified version of backpacking. Instead of hiking in the morning, we were driving around in a van. Also, instead of hanging a bear bag, we merely locked food inside the van. Not quite the same, but hey got to look on the bright side.