Starve Hollow, a favorite Memorial Day camping site
Booking a campsite at Starve Hollow State Recreation Area over Memorial Day weekend has become as competitive as placing the winning bid in an auction for a desirable item a few minutes before time runs out or runs out. purchase concert tickets for a Rolling Stones reunion tour.
The winners of this camping lottery determined to preserve family traditions pored over their breakout computers, computers and other electronic devices ready six months ago, ready to hit the keys as the Department of Natural Resources in Indiana opened the reservations window.
“We had to do it,” said Rebecca Rehfuss, a member of an extended family from Greenfield who sort of got side-by-side camping spots for the entire vacation week.
Mimicking the position they were in, glancing at the watches on the wrists, Ashley Rehfuss said: “We just sat there like this”, waiting for time to pass to “go”.
Camping in state pitches in bus-sized RVs, campers towed by cars and vans, or in tents has become very popular throughout the state of Hoosier, not just in Starve. Hollow, especially during the busiest weekend of the season, Memorial Day, the so- called the summer kick-off.
Starve Hollow has a 145 acre lake for fishing, boating and swimming. There is a sandy beach, playgrounds with jungle gyms and others for children, hiking trails, paved areas for biking, campsites with and without hook-ups, cabins for rent and resorts. sites for small fires, all surrounded by woods in a large 280 acre area and set back from any main road, ensuring tranquility.
The DNR website describing Starve Hollow says it offers “some of the best campsites in Southern Indiana.” Starve Hollow is suitable for children, families and outdoor activities.
“We were full six months ago for this weekend,” said Cassie Stilwell, assistant property manager for Starve Hollow. “We’ve been full since March for weekends all summer. That’s what we’ve seen in recent years. Gone are the days of showing up and taking a spot for the weekend.”
This is symbolic of an explosion in American interest in camping, partly sparked in two ways by the global COVID-19 pandemic. About 15 months ago, the United States was shutting down, people ordered to stay at home to protect themselves from the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
A few months later, when the restrictions eased, many realized they could socially distance themselves in the great outdoors, so they began flooding national, state, and local parks.
Now that almost all restrictions have been lifted, the only masks visible at Starve Hollow were worn by state employees and at indoor facilities such as the Nature Center. The campsite was the place of the freedom to mingle.
Desperate to get away, 37 million Americans were expected to plan to travel at least 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day vacation with approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided people were vaccinated.
It was also predicted that 18 million Americans would go camping this weekend. Kampgrounds of America predicts 2021 will be its busiest season on record and 4 million people will go camping for the first time.
A fitting portion of those millions chose Starve Hollow to hang out on Memorial Day. But there are only 53 full hook-up sites, 87 electrical sites, 10 non-electrical sites, and 18 cabins on site. Prices range from approximately $ 35 to $ 47, and the park entrance fee for residents is $ 7.
Many Starve Hollow campers are regulars, and not just on Memorial Day.
Randy and Sherry Smith from Westfield come a few times a year. They were at the scene in 2020 when the place closed in response to dangers from the coronavirus.
“We were kicked out during COVID,” Randy said.
Despite increasing booking challenges, it was a relatively calming visit.
“It’s crazy,” he said.
Fun for all ages
Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend rose cloudy and chilly. Even at noon, there was no trace of sun and the temperature was 53 degrees. Only two days earlier it was in the 80s.
A lot of people thought it was a typical Indiana spring with extreme swings, and Sierra Jackson, DNR interpretive naturalist, said, “It’s not like our usual 85. “
Swimmers were rare. Fishermen have found the elusive fish, possibly shaken by dramatic climate change. The kayakers were more active.
Evan Stahl, 13, of Brownstown and Hunter Kilby, 11, of Brown County fished from a dock for hours. They had tackle boxes that they hoped they could offer under any conditions, but found most of the fish were on vacation.
Kilby caught a fish. “I grabbed one behind our motorhome,” he said.
Stahl said he landed a bluegill and a bass, but not big enough to grill for dinner. Resembling the wise veteran, given he’s been fishing all summer, Stahl said, “You have to be patient.”
The activities planned for young people were not interrupted. Children wandered from campsites on bikes or holding their parents’ hands while climbing on play equipment.
They also played ball with small water-filled balloons, and Jackson oversaw a sandcastle-building competition. Five structures were formed during the 15-minute construction timeframe, and the moat proved to be popular additional design elements.
Sophia March, 9, said: “I haven’t done one for a long time.” March was not deterred by sand and mud stains on her tights and dress. “I don’t care about the mud.”
8-year-old Gary Coffman produced a solid looking castle, which raised questions as to whether or not he would become a professional in the construction industry.
“Apparently yes,” he said.
Jackson looked at this real subdivision of sandcastles and said diplomatically, “I think you’re all great.”
Sisters Allea Bechert, 7, and Allison, 6, were named the winners. The Becherts are members of a four-generation Bedford family ranging in age from them to 70 years old. They had plenty of time to reserve five campsites, but managed to keep their tradition alive.
The Woods on Wheels mobile nature exhibit, which makes its first appearance in Starve Hollow, during its tour of the state this summer, offers tree education to young people, partly under the auspices of the DNR, partly under the auspices of the DNR. under the auspices of Purdue University. .
The focus is on types, sizes and displays of Indiana trees, including showing what types of wood go into making selected products, such as furniture.
Hardwood Economic Development Specialist for the Forestry Division, Sara High is the human traveling with the wheels.
“Everywhere and everywhere,” she said.
The unit teaches the tool through videos, photos and hands-on coloring for kids, who can use nature-related stencils to draw pictures. The Bechert sisters, fresh out of their sandcastle championship, have tried it.
Allison drew a multicolored log. Allea was told that her animal could be a hedgehog, but she preferred to label it as a porcupine.
Other clan members, along with 15-year-old Kaiden Richardson and cousins, who have been on the pilgrimage for years, visited a wall near the Nature Center that features images of bird species and the length of their wings.
The young people flattened themselves against the wall, their faces inward, and spread their arms. Richardson, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall, is 78 inches tall, the same wingspan as a blue heron.
They do it every year. It’s kind of a growth chart. A 15-year-old said that by the time she first spread her wings, she reached 48 inches, the same as a red-tailed hawk. Now she is 66 inches tall, the width of a gray Canada goose.
Face the cold
Sherry Smith of Westfield reclined in a comfortable chair, defying the unusual temperatures of the 1950s or at least fighting back.
Wrapped in a blanket that represented the top layer of five and her feet toasting by a cozy fire, she still enjoyed her favorite camping spot.
The Smiths parked a generously sized RV on one of their regular trips to Starve Hollow, and she said she had been visiting the park for 50 years, or since she was 10.
“It’s a nice, quiet park,” said Randy Smith. “This park is small enough that you can walk around the entire campsite.”
Schaan Lamaster of Seymour and his family often join the Smiths here. Lamaster was not as heavily dressed as Sherry Smith but was not cold thanks to the sizzling fire.
It is less than 20 miles from Seymour to Starve Hollow, which makes the park a close escape to it, albeit of a different geography than the city. Lamaster likes not to have to drive far.
“It’s the best thing,” he said.
Small fires were rife on a day that didn’t seem likely to hit 60 degrees, and Sherry Smith wasn’t the only camper modeling a blanket outfit.
Rebecca and Ashley Rehfuss of the Greenfield group made good use of the blankets that most often adorn the beds, and they also had a good crackle of fire.
They first visited Starve Hollow last year, loved it and started making regular stops.
“It’s a nice, rustic, wooded and friendly campsite,” said Rebecca, who noted that she was protected by “too many layers to count”. “The first time we went for a walk, it took us over an hour because everyone stopped us to talk.”
Traditionally highlanders might think it’s fun for city dwellers to camp for fun and go into the woods for vacation getaways. But they would probably be amazed and laugh at the huge RV wheeled houses that protect travelers from the elements.
Recreational vehicles can be the size of school buses or Mack trucks. They have grown in popularity, especially among older people who feel like they no longer sleep on the hard floor.
Do you remember the tents? There had to be at least 10 or 15 vehicles on the property for each tent.
Elizabeth Pace, 34, of Bedford, said she had been camping since the age of 10 and felt perfectly fine sleeping in a tent. She maintains the purity of the experience, even though she doesn’t lay straight down on rocky ground, but uses an air mattress with no regrets or envy of vehicle camping.
“I’m still doing fine,” Pace said, saying there were five of his party in tents and the rest in RVs. For adults who say “Not me” to sleeping in a tent, closer to nature, Pace has an answer.
“I would tell them not to be sissies,” she said.