Posts Tagged With: shades state park

#Opt Out Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is to us, HIKE FRIDAY! A newish movement in conjunction with R.E.I. is #optout Friday.

Daughter and I went to Pine Hills to spend our day after Thanksgiving. It was in the 40s and overcast, but we quickly warmed up as we hiked over to Pine Hills on Trail 10 in Shades State Park.

We spent about 2 hours hiking around this fascinating area. We saw our loyal birds:

  • Juncos
  • Chickadees
  • White-Breasted Nuthatches
  • Tufted Titmice
  • Red-Headed woodpeckers
  • Red-Bellied Woodpeckers
  • Crows
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Blue Jays

After a morning of hiking, we had a late lunch at #EatINN – the Turkey Run State Park Inn.

Wonderful food and a walk to the nature center and back and then home.


Categories: Birding, Hiking, Montgomery County, Parke County, Shades State Park, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surviving the Six-Ravine Challenge at Shades

Let’s just start out by saying, sometimes we don’t make wise decisions!

The Six Ravine Challenge has you starting on the backpack trail down (to Sugar Creek) on the western leg of trail 8 back up the western leg of trail 7, down 4 and up 4, down 5 and up 5, down and up 1, down and around 6. This takes you through Shawnee Canyon, Kickapoo Ravine, Fritz Ravine, Kintz Ravine, Devil’s Punchbowl, and Red Fox Ravine.

We intended to accept this challenge sometime late September or in October–Sometime when it wasn’t 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity! But SAC was wearing a heart monitor and the doctor told her to go hiking and dig potatoes and whatever else she needed to do to get her heart “palpitating”!

So she decided to go on August 19th! It was 85 Degrees and very humid – house windows were fogged up so about 80% 0r 90% humidity. Let’s just say that all our hearts were palpitating! I’m sure the monitor got some awesome readouts!

According to the naturalist and the website, the Six Ravine Challenge is 4.5 miles. According to Map My Walk <insert link> and SAC’s Fitbit ™, we actually walked about 8.6 (me) and 5.7 (SAC) miles in 4.75 hours! We started at 11:30 and stopped around 4:20. And that was with multiple times resting on the ground and an extended period lying on a picnic table with a cold bandana on her face!

We felt very proud of our ability to get this done and not die! Many thanks go out to my wonderful husband ROC because neither of us would have made it had he not been with us, I don’t think. We don’t do humid very well. He doesn’t always hike with us and hadn’t intended to do the entire challenge, but just kept leading the way, urging us on and telling us not to quit before we got it done. What a coach! Our hero, as always!

Because SAC had to lie down on the picnic table, ROC and I were able to get a great look at the blue-tailed skink. (too fast for a photo and too worried about cooling SAC down!) SAC had seen one earlier while she rested at one point on the trail.

We saw a DeKay’s brown snake – we seem to see them quite a bit since we learned what it was. Isn’t that the way with learning? As soon as you learn about something, you see it everywhere.

Dekays Snake

Most of our time was spent focusing on the trails though. We did hear and see some of the usual Shades birds: Eastern Wood Pewee, Nuthatch, Turkey Vulture, Pileated woodpecker. And we heard an Acadian Flycatcher.

All in all, I’m glad we challenged ourselves for this extended hike. It gives me a great satisfaction knowing that this 65-year-old woman still has it in her to do something like this.

We’ll put this up with the 3 Dune challenge that we accomplished a couple of years ago.

Happy hiking! Hopefully in less humid conditions!


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#OptOutside or Hike Friday

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

Categories: Birding, Hiking, Montgomery County, Shades State Park | 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.


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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Shades State Park – August 22, 2016

It has been a hot, humid, stormy summer and it has been hard to be motivated to be outside any more than needs be. I have had to deal with tall, wet grass to cut and garden to weed and produce to pick and process.

That being said, we hadn’t been to Shades since June and set out to remedy that on Monday, August 22nd. We decided to take some easy trails as we had a late start – 1:30 – due to early appointments and errands.


We hiked trail 9, trail 6, and, as is our habit on every visit here, the top of trail 1. It was actually about 75 degrees and sunny today.

We saw two new birds to add to our IBBY list:

  • Black & White Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler

It was a good day, and as always when we hike at Shades, a rejuvenation of our spirits. I added 2 hours to my IMN volunteer time by picking up litter as I always do at State Parks.

Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, Montgomery County, Shades State Park | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Shades with ROC

ROC hadn’t hiked at Shades State Park with us yet this year, so we took a quick trip down there last Sunday after helping my sisters move a kitchen cabinet. It was beautiful and sunny, about 75 degrees.

We hiked the top of trail one and around north of the parking lot. Shades is a balm to my weary soul every time I hike here. We had a very low key hike seeing an immature bald eagle and the usual birds to keep us company.

Flowers Blooming:

  • Blue Violet
  • Yellow Violet
  • Wild Ginger
  • Prairie Trillium
  • Wild Geranium
  • Wild Phlox
  • Jack in the Pulpit
  • Golden Ragwort
  • Chickweed
  • Dandelions
  • Dogwood
  • Redbud

We saw and heard a possible Northern Parula, but since I’m not 100% sure and I have no photo to show for it (didn’t take camera) I’m not going to add it to the IBBY list.

We had a really good hike and I picked up 45 minutes of IMN Volunteer time.

Categories: Birding, Montgomery County, Shades State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Centennials and Bicentennials

So 2016 is not only the Bicentennial of Indiana, but the Centennial of Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs and the National Park Service. Our first two State Parks, McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run were officially opened on December 16, 1916. Many celebrations around the state are being planned and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is one of them.

Our family goals this year:

I remember well the Bicentennial of our nation. We attended many celebrations, festivals and parades. I attended a book signing that included my mother, who had collaborated with several people to produce Montgomery County Remembers. Then I had a bicentennial baby! It was a very neat year with lots of memories. I’m sure this year will be just as memorable.

January 1: Our First Day Hike was at our beloved Shades State Park. (See last year’s post on our First Day Hike where we took the 3 Dune Challenge at Indiana Dunes State Park.) It was attended by about 20 people and led by a talented young Naturalist Andrew Hoffman. As always hiking at Shades is wonderful and we had a great time, learned new information, met some neat people and helped to influence some up and coming nature lovers to pick up trash along the trail!

Birds seen during hike:

  1. American Goldfinch
  2. White-breasted Nuthatch
  3. Downy Woodpecker
  4. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  5. Pileated Woodpecker (heard)
  6. Carolina Chickadee (heard)

January 16: We went birding at Prophetstown State Park. We didn’t spend much time here as it was overcast, cold and very windy. We just had errands to run in Lafayette and decided to swing by Celery Bog in West Lafayette to see if we could see some ducks, geese, osprey or anything else. Water was frozen!!!! So we drove on out to Prophetstown, where we did see some gulls, a bald eagle, and a kestrel.

Cataract Falls upper falls

January 24: We have always driven past the sign to Cataract Falls, which is part of Cagles Mill Lake State Park (Leiber State Recreation Area), on our way to other places and say every time that we have to go there. Well, last week we went! It was beautiful out. Cold but not too bad. We had just hiked at Depauw Nature Preserve in Greencastle (a great new find for us!!) and decided to take advantage and stop by the Cataracts. As you can see by the pictures, the ice formations were amazing. We didn’t really do any real hiking, just walked to the falls and looked at them in wonder. I’m sure as a youngster I’ve been here. Husband says was here as a youngster, too, but this was the first for daughter Stephanie. So we can check off Cagles Mill Lake State Park (Leiber State Recreation Area) from our To Visit List.

Birds seen at Depauw Nature Preserve:

  1. American Robin (heard)
  2. Downy Woodpecker
  3. Dark-Eyed Junco
  4. Pileated Woodpecker
  5. Song Sparrow
  6. Red-tailed Hawk
  7. White-Throated Sparrow
  8. Barred Owl (heard)
  9. Carolina Wren
  10. Northern Flicker
  11. Carolina Chickadee
  12. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  13. White-breasted Nuthatch
  14. Northern Cardinal
  15. Yellow-rumped Warbler – found dead from hitting the window at the nature center

Cataract Falls lower falls

On the way home we saw a Great Blue Heron and seven Wild Turkeys.

I think it is going to be a busy and fun and educational year! Hopefully I’ll keep up better on my posts!

Categories: Birding, Hiking, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shades State Park – April 12, 2015

I stopped off at Shades State Park to refresh and recharge after spending the past two days presenting at the Women’s Wellness Weekend at Turkey Run State Park.

I walked trails 9 and 1 Just short trails but needed to have some time alone. I did run into five ladies from the WWW who had attended our workshops and walks. Had a great talk with them.

And as I walked along the lower part of Trail 1, I met up with a couple who saw a chipmunk attack a snake. The snake lost – the chipmunk bit its head off!

The Canada geese have again made a nest under the observation platform at Prospect Point. Parent was sitting on the nest.  Interestingly, there were two eggs back off the platform behind the “Hiker” sign. Curious.

Plants seen:

  1. Cut-leaf Toothwort
  2. Trout Lily
  3. Bloodroot
  4. Spring Beauties
  5. Dutchman’s Breeches (including a pink version – Does that make it Dutchwoman’s breeches?)
  6. Squirrel Corn
  7. False Rue Anemone
  8. Purple Violets
  9. Toadshade AKA Sessile Trillium
  10. Phlox
  11. Young Jack in the Pulpits
  12. Purple Cress
Categories: Birding, Botany, First of Year, Montgomery County, Shades State Park, Spring, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Go Timberdoodling! – March 14, 2015

Picture of group of people birding at dusk by Stephanie Cain

The orange circle shows where the woodcock was–very close to our group!

Saturday evening, daughter and I went timberdoodling at Shades State Park with the Friends of Turkey Run and Shades State Park. We met at the shelter near the entrance to the park and then walked with the group to the site where the American Woodcock would hopefully perform its amazing spring dance.

Alan Bruner, birder extraordinaire and leader of the hike, told us that the woodcock is a very camouflaged bird and is a wooded wetland bird, but comes out in the open short grass area to dance his dance.

The courtship dance begins with the male calling numerous “peents” from the ground, facing all directions of the compass to maximize his range. Then he flies straight up into the air with a whistling sound which is caused by the airflow through his feathers. When he is almost out of sight, he then starts his descent, making another whistling sound – again caused by wind through his feathers – and then back on the ground and more “peents.”

We started hearing the calls while we still had light enough to see. I have no idea how many birds we actually saw or heard, but it seemed like several.

It sometimes swooped right by our party of about a dozen people and would land maybe 15 feet in front of us. We all had very good views of the bird both when it was flying and when it was “peenting” on the grass beside us. This was a really incredible evening as we watched them fly up and down and call its spring courtship call.

The sunset was exceptionally beautiful and a wonderful ending to a beautiful spring – like day.

An orange and yellow and blue sunset

Categories: Birding, Montgomery County, Shades State Park, Spring | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Adopt A Trail

Hike Date: August 31, 2014
Indiana State Parks has a volunteer program called Adopt A Trail in which volunteers agree to walk their chosen trail once a month and check on trail conditions, pick up litter, and notify park officials as to any problems with the trail.

Stephanie and I decided to adopt the Backpack Trail and Canoe Camp at our absolute favorite state park in Indiana – Shades.

For those who have never visited this park, you are missing a gem. It is a beautiful place in Montgomery County along Sugar Creek. The trails are along ravines, in upland woods, hemlock ridges and along prairie (formerly known as the Roscoe-Turner Airstrip.)

This was our fourth month to hike the trail in this capacity. We have hiked the seven-mile round trip in as little as 3-1/2 hours and as long as 7 hours. This time was a moderate pace at 5 1

It is always interesting to walk the same trail on a regular basis to see the different flora and fauna present.

This was a day of tiny toads and frogs and fungi and plants setting seeds.

Items of note:

  • Doll’s eyes / White Banebarry
  • Jack in the pulpit seed pod
  • Tiny toads
  • Fungi
  • Spice Bush Berries
  • Pawpaw (Indiana Banana) Fruit
  • Giant Lobelia
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Tall Bellflower
  • Brown Eyed Susan

Birds seen:

  • Chickadee
  • Down Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Northern Cardinal
  • American Crow
  • Blue Jay
  • Eastern Wood Pewee


Categories: Birding, Shades State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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