Shades State Park- This is how I enjoyed the day after Thanksgiving!!!
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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.
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.
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.
- Blue Violet
- Yellow Violet
- Wild Ginger
- Prairie Trillium
- Wild Geranium
- Wild Phlox
- Jack in the Pulpit
- Golden Ragwort
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.
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:
- To take part in a First Day Hike;
- To accept the Bicentennial Birding Big Year Challenge, sponsored by Indiana Audubon Society, the Indiana DNR, and Robert Cooper Audubon, of seeing 200 birds in Indiana – 100 of them in found in State Parks, Reservoirs or National Park Property;
- To accept the Centennial Fitness Challenge to hike 25 miles in a State Park property;
- To visit as many State Park Properties as possible this year, picking up litter and checking the trails for problems as we hike (volunteer time for Advanced Indiana Master Naturalist Certification);
- Attend as many Bicentennial events as possible.
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:
- American Goldfinch
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Downy Woodpecker
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Pileated Woodpecker (heard)
- 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.
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:
- American Robin (heard)
- Downy Woodpecker
- Dark-Eyed Junco
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Song Sparrow
- Red-tailed Hawk
- White-Throated Sparrow
- Barred Owl (heard)
- Carolina Wren
- Northern Flicker
- Carolina Chickadee
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Northern Cardinal
- Yellow-rumped Warbler – found dead from hitting the window at the nature center
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!
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.
- Cut-leaf Toothwort
- Trout Lily
- Spring Beauties
- Dutchman’s Breeches (including a pink version – Does that make it Dutchwoman’s breeches?)
- Squirrel Corn
- False Rue Anemone
- Purple Violets
- Toadshade AKA Sessile Trillium
- Young Jack in the Pulpits
- Purple Cress
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.
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.)
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
- Spice Bush Berries
- Pawpaw (Indiana Banana) Fruit
- Giant Lobelia
- Asiatic Lily
- Tall Bellflower
- Brown Eyed Susan
- Down Woodpecker
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Northern Cardinal
- American Crow
- Blue Jay
- Eastern Wood Pewee