Posts Tagged With: Hiking

Finding the Limberlost

I have long known of Gene Stratton-Porter and her amazing life as naturalist and writer. We have visited her home sites several times over the years. During the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum’s Golden age of Literature Exhibit in 2016, I became involved in their book club. One of the books we read was Girl of the Limberlost.

I determined to try to read all her books. I purchased her Moths of the Limberlost at her Rome City home and enjoyed it greatly! She alternated between writing nature books and writing novels, many of them set in Indiana and featuring the landscape she loved. Most of her books can be found and read online or downloaded to an e-reader for free due to being out of copyright. I spent hours devouring them and being transported to another time and place.

At some point, I discovered the Limberlost blog and found that they have a Rent-A-Naturalist option! I asked my husband and daughter if they would arrange a hike for my birthday. We had a commitment at the ACPL Author Fair in Fort Wayne the day before (which was my actual birthday) so it wouldn’t be too far out of the way to come home that way.

We left our Fort Wayne hotel by walking across a parking lot very slick with sleet! Ugh! Not very inviting hiking weather, but we had hiked in inclement weather before.

We drove towards Geneva with a slight detour to see the Deam Oak. I had seen this as a child and wanted them to see it. The sleet and rain had stopped and at one point the temperature went up to 48 degrees. Maybe the weather would cooperate!

Deam OakWhen the State Historic Site opened at 1 PM, the drizzle started again. Oh, well!

Loblolly signAs we talked with Curt Burnette, our naturalist, we devised a loose plan because of the rain. We drove in our own cars, both with walkie-talkies and he explained various sites as we drove, stopping and walking a little at some of them. He has done an amazing job of researching Gene’s books and writing down clues of various locations in her books and then locating them on the early maps of the region.

School

The remains of the school where Elnora (the “Girl of the Limberlost”) might have attended classes

We saw bald eagles, a great blue heron sitting on a beaver dam, cardinals, sparrows, kestrels, blue jays, and a flicker.

Eagle at Loblolly Marsh

Curt talked about different mammals, amphibians, and birds that can be seen at other times of the year.

We had a wonderful time and didn’t get too wet or cold even though we walked for a while at one time after the temperature had dropped again. We are determined to return in spring and early fall to enjoy more nature and hiking at this amazing site.

 

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It’s hard to tell, but the heron is standing on top of a beaver dam!

 

I encourage anyone who enjoys Gene Stratton-Porter’s books to engage this knowledgeable guide for a few hours – money well spent! It gives a very different feel to her books now and I’m anxious to read the few of hers that I have not yet read.

 

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Lemons to Lemonade – November 27, 2017

So today we decided to go hiking at Shades State Park. Our first stop was the post office. SAC had a huge Etsy mailing for her Redhead Paper shop that needed to go out today. Without going into a long explanation, it took forever and it cost more to mail than she had envisioned and her business card wouldn’t work there! Oh, well. Live and learn.

Second stop was grabbing a lunch to go. SAC forgot to order a large iced tea. No biggie. We had water.

Finally got to Shades. Closed due to deer reduction hunting. “But you can go to Turkey Run.”

No!

Turkey Run is beautiful and all that, but we don’t go there unless it is out of season. It’s way too crowded otherwise. We decided to go somewhere else, but Turkey Run was on the way, so we stopped in to use the facilities. It turned out the parking lot wasn’t very crowded at all, so SAC suggested we hike to Camel’s Back.

It was another beautiful day – almost 60 degrees and sunny. We walked out Trail 10 and back Trail 3. We always try to stop and take a deep breath to clear away all our troubles and concentrate on the beauty of Creation.

What a beautiful late fall day! Just enjoying the crunching leaves – no sneaking up on birds right now!!!

We saw the usual goldfinch and titmice, nuthatches and chickadees. We also saw both black vultures and a turkey vulture.

Woodpeckers were the birds of the day – Red-Bellied, Hairy, and lots of Red-Headed woodpeckers. We were stumped for a while on a noise coming from all around us. I had almost decided it was a blue jay or squirrel, but it was multiple Red-Headed Woodpeckers – more than I had seen and heard in a long time.2017-11-27 14.30.42

We peeled off our long-sleeved shirts and were walking in t-shirts until we got to the canyon part of the trail. Just an FYI – don’t hike Trail 3 backwards! It’s very awkward to go down the narrow steps carved out of the canyon walls!

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It’s amazing how much the temperature can vary in the ravines at Turkey Run and Shades. The carved handholds along the rock cliffs in Rocky Hollow made me wish I had gloves on and the water in the creek that I washed my muddy hands in was frigid! We could even see our breath!

As we drove back by a McDonald’s, we ordered an ice cream cone and a mocha frappe. We got the ice cream in a bowl with the cone on top and a chocolate chip something or other instead.

All in all, it was a gorgeous day where we were able to make lemonade out of all the lemons the day had tried to shove our way!

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#OptOutside or Hike Friday

Shades State Park- This is how I enjoyed the day after Thanksgiving!!!

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End of year wrap up – Good bye 2016

Our Indiana Bicentennial Year has ended as has the Centennial of the State Park and National park systems.

We logged a total of 147 birds, 93 of which were in the State Parks and Reservoirs.

We visited all 24 state parks, 8 lakes and state recreation areas, all 3 national sites (seashore, memorial and national park).

We visited all 92 counties and several state historic sites.

I logged 68.81 hiking miles. ROC logged 27.16 hiking miles. SAC logged 55.96 hiking miles.

I logged 45.28 Advanced Indiana Master Naturalist volunteer hours and 14.65 IMN learning hours.

Highlights: Whooping Cranes, Pacific Loon, Blackburnian Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Mississippe Kite, Wilson’s Snipe, Smith’s Longspur and Great Horned Owl on the nest.

We enjoyed seeing the state, driving the backroads and visiting the many beautiful small towns and county seats and visiting all the sites. Weather quite often seemed against us, but welcome to Indiana! We haven’t added up the miles driven, or the dollars spent. That may be added at a later date!

Lesson to be learned – Get out and visit your home state. You never know what’s around the bend!

Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Hike of 2017 – Shades State Park

Even though rain was forecast for January 2, SAC and I met up with a coworker at Shades State Park this morning. He has a knowledge of orchids and was showing us some places that they grow in Shades and Pine Hills. After walking around the top of Trail 1, we decided to hike trail 10 over to Pine Hills.

shades

Now, I had spent the most part of the week between Christmas and New Year’s eating cookies and reading cozy mysteries, so not in the best of shape. SAC had spent several days laying around with a migraine and some kind of bug. (Not that we were in the best of shape anyway, since it had been several weeks since our last hike!)

Let’s just say, the steps down to the backbones KILLED us! Calves and thighs and oh my! We were both so out of shape that walking up and down stairs at home and work the following day were very painful. Add to that the grace that I was not born with that allowed me to slip down a muddy creek bank and land hard with my already sore shoulder still hanging on to a sapling and you have a very sore old woman. (At least I feel old this week!)

Anyway, we had a wonderful time hiking at our favorite place. Photos are never enough to give the full experience. The sights and smells of the mostly quiet forest calmed our souls and erased the headaches that we had when we arrived.

We were able to learn about several orchid species and can’t wait to locate them during bloom time.

Birds were scarce, but the regulars were there: Nuthatch, chickadees, blue jays, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, crow, geese and possible ovenbird. First time we haven’t seen an eagle here in a long time, though.

Great time at our favorite place! Go out and hike, no matter the weather.

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DePauw Nature Park – October 10, 2016

We hiked at DePauw Nature Park before we went to nephew Patrick’s football game (Franklin vs. DePauw). We didn’t see any new birds but had a great hike!

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