Being a kid who chose to come to the University of Utah to explore the outdoors, coming home to the midwest can be emotionally challenging. Utah opens the door to all the outdoor activities imaginable, and Illinois simply doesn’t offer the same opportunities. In spite of that, I wanted to explore my home state of Illinois. In 5 degree weather and intense wind, my friend and I grabbed our cameras and went for a hike at our local state park. Exploring this part of my state made me realize that beauty can be found everywhere and there’s always more exploring to do!