Post 36/2020 Thursday 12 November (Featured image: These brilliantly colored leaves were on display 10 days ago.) As of today, most trees have shucked their coats, leaving a ground cover to swish through on paths in the woods. Fallen leaves also present a rakish challenge to people who want a pristine lawn. I’ve been there.
Recently I read an article that recommended mulching leaves on the lawn, putting them to compost and generally not worrying too much about disposing of every last one. Been there, too. O’ happy, happy 2020. We’re swishing right along.
The natural world has given us an ideal domain for walking this month.
What? No comment on the US election? Just this, with Biden and Harris preparing to serve the country as of 20 January 2021, the nation and the world will finally, finally, finally breathe easier as they and their team provide a real and resounding counterpunch to the coronavirus pandemic. I’m relieved, grateful, hopeful. Exasperated, too, at the White House’s shenanigans allowing the contagion to spread. Let mercy reign and sensibility return.
Rambles in the wild
On 4 November we rambled through Cowles Bog in Indiana Dunes National Park. We’ve walked that five-mile trail once or twice annually for a number of years, the last time on 13 January 2020. It doesn’t get any easier, though no less thrilling.
On our recent visit we walked past wetlands and over wooded dunes on this most rugged trail in the 15,000-acre Indiana Dunes National Park, located on the south eastern edge of Lake Michigan. (In 1966 Congress created Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, redesignated as Indiana Dunes National Park in 2019).
Once upon a time ice sheets of up to two and a half miles thick advanced over this area and filled the gouged-out bed of what today is Lake Michigan.
In the National Park brochure I read that glaciers advanced and retreated over northern North America at least four times from 1.8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago.
The National Park surrounds the Port of Indiana and Indiana Dunes State Park. There’s plenty of Great Lakes history to explore in the area, in addition to other important matters of the day, such as dinner at Brewster’s in New Buffalo, Michigan. The park’s brochure headlines the history section thusly: “Gouging glaciers’ liquid retreats + pulsing winds and waters = rippled shorelines.” Walk first, dine later.
Spicer Lake Nature Preserve
This preserve is managed by St. Joseph County Parks. The county lies adjacent to and west of Elkhart County.
Spicer Lake is the remnant of a glacial kettlehole lake formed during the last ice age over 10,000 years ago, I read in the Preserve brochure. “A large block of ice broke off here creating a vast wet depression. . . . Today the glacial kettlehole consists of two open ‘lakes’–Spicer and Lancaster–and a large swamp home to ferns, wildflowers, endangered shrubs and animals.”
We last visited Spicer Lake in June 2017, a visit marked by happening upon a bed of sunning snakes (pictured later).
Flashback to June 2017
Scenes present and past
Pokagon State Park
We visited Pokagon on the last warm day in a stretch of November warm days, Tuesday 10 November. it is located on Lake James and Snow Lake in Steuben County, east of LaGrange County.
Pokagon, too, spouts an ice age legacy when the climate was about 10 degrees cooler, more snow falling in winter than melting in summer. The resulting “Wisconsin” glacier was the last one of four to cover Indiana.
Nowadays, besides the trails and other usual recreational opportunities, in winter one can ride the Toboggan Run, a 1,780-foot refrigerated twin track that operates on weekends from Thanksgiving through February. I rode it years ago, sometime in the previous century. What a blast.
Thoughts across the pond
While rediscovering footpaths close to home, I’m reminded of what a pleasure over the years it has been to walk and interact with the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society in Cornwall, UK. I imagine how much fun it would be to host the group on a 4-mile walk here. I hope these pictures help to make such walks a virtual experience, for them, for anyone.
Blessings for rewarding interactions, even though they be circumscribed, in the precious world of people.