Indiana Trip Part One

My purpose behind this blog is two-fold - highlight outdoor areas in Maine and surrounding states and document my weekly outdoor adventures.  I've struggled with what to do when I travel further afield, since I want to continue documenting my outdoor activity even if it's not related to Maine.   I think a good compromise is to summarize such trips in one or at most two blog posts.

I traveled to Indiana to help my kid get set up for their summer internship.  This post summarizes the first five days of my trip.

Day One May 4th
Appalachian Trail North of Rt 9, Woodford, Vermont

After driving five hours in the rain, I lucked out when the rain stopped just as I was approaching the AT in Vermont.  I took advantage of the brief rain break to get a quick mile hike and stretch my legs before continuing on to Rochester.  This was a short scenic woodland hike up some switchbacks before returning the way I came.   Here is a map of my hike.  (The rain started again as soon as I returned to the car.)

Day Two May 5th
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Today we visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The 32,572 acre park is managed by the National Park Service but contains county parks and private and public businesses within it's boundaries.  The park was created in 1974 as a National Recreation Area and became a National Park in 2000.  

The park lies between densely populated Cleveland and Akron Ohio and gets heavy local use.  The park is an example of how concerted environmental efforts can pay off.  The Cuyahoga River was heavily polluted in the 1950s and 60s and actually caught fire in 1952 and 1969.  Parts of the what is now the park were declared superfund sites by the EPA.   But thanks to strong local efforts backed by federal protection, the park has become a symbol of environmental renewal.

Today we rode bikes on the towpath of the Ohio & Erie Canal through the south section of the park.  The towpath is relatively flat and easy to ride on, and provides a corridor through the park's center.   Old canal locks are still present with interpretive signs.  The canal itself is empty and overgrown in parts but the watered sections were teeming with turtles and other wildlife, including a huge snapping turtle.  Century Cycles in Peninsula Ohio rents bikes adjacent to the towpath at an affordable price.  

Here is a map of our ride.

Day Three May 6th 
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Ohio

2,000 years ago a mysterious culture built large earthen work mounds throughout the eastern United States.  A small section of these lands are preserved within the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, around an hour south of Columbus Ohio.  

We visited the park this morning and learned a great deal about the history of the park, both archaeologically and its  more recent history.  Unfortunately most of the mounds were destroyed in the 19th and early 20th century as a result of farming and other land uses.  Most of the mounds that do exist in the park were restored.

We visited two of the six sections of Park, touring the Mound City Group visitor center (which houses a cool museum and very interesting film about the park) and doing a short one mile walk at the Hopewell Mound Group site.  

Here is a map of our visit. 

Day 4 May 7th
B-Line Trail, Bloomington, Indiana and Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, Hoosier National Forest

After arriving in Bloomington, we set off exploring.  Our first stop was cycling the B-Line Trail through the center of town.  This is a beautiful trail running adjacent shops and recreational areas.  Here is a map of our ride.

Our next stop was the Hardin Ridge Recreation Area in the Hoosier National Forest east of town.  This is a large camping area with a beach and some hiking trails.   We hiked a 1.5 mile loop through the woods, down to the beach and back up the park's road.  Along the way we observed a killdeer faking a wing injury (presumably to lead us away from its nest but we didn't see a nest), a beautiful scarlet tanager, and a fox.  Here is a map of our hike.

Day 5 May 8
Multiple hikes around Bloomington Indiana.

We started our day with a two mile hike at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area.   A trail connects the upper and lower falls, although it's also possible to drive to both.  The upper falls are the highest falls in Indiana.  Here is a map of our hike.  
We next went to McCormick's Creek State Park, where we did a short 3/10 mile walk to a waterfall followed by a 1.75 mile hike to Wolf Cave.   The first 60 yards into the cave can be accessed, but today I only went in around 20 feet before encountering water.  It was an interesting experience nonetheless.  Here is a map of our two hikes at the park.

After lunch I did a solo trip to the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower, a 100 foot tower open to the public.  The views from the top were amazing, with 360 degree visibility for miles.  From the same parking lot I hiked the Terrell Ridge Trail through a hardwood forest, during which I was treated to two barred owls calling to each other.  
After dinner we explored Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve (a Sycamore Land Trust property) and the Restle Unit of the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge.  The Restle Unit is a 78 acre satellite unit with a short boardwalk and observation platform overlooking wetlands.  
The Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve has a 2.5 mile trail system, however approximately 1/4 mile from the start the trail was flooded. 


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