Prayers for Delphi- Double Homicide Of Two Teen Girls In A Small Town

On February 13, 2017, fourteen year old Liberty German and her friend, thirteen year old  Abigail Williams were dropped off near the Delphi Historic Trail System near the town of Delphi, Indiana.  Delphi s approximately 60 miles north and west of Indianapolis.

The girls had planned to hike in the area and were to be picked up later in the afternoon. They failed to arrive at the predesignated area. They were missing.  Twenty four hours later, their bodies were discovered in the woods, along the shore of Deer Creek. They had been murdered.

Liberty had posted some photographs to her Snapchat. One of the photo’s was of a strange man that they had seen in the area. It is unclear to me how many snaps were taken or if there was any further explanation from Liberty as to who this man was.  Liberty also managed to get audio of this man’s voice.

You can find more information, including the audio clip of the strange man’s voice on the media release from the Indiana State Police. The Indiana State Police have posted the man’s image and his voice for everyone to see and hear in hopes that someone might recognize this monster..

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I wish Liberty would have dialed 911. Just call and scream at a dispatcher.  Scream where you are, if you can, and for help. A good dispatcher will wear themselves out tracking you down. Literally, will  wear themselves out until they exhaust all of their efforts in doing so.

I wish we could have found them sooner. I  wish a lot of wishes.

Liberty was a brilliant girl. I can speculate that perhaps she knew that they were in serious trouble and that they weren’t going to be able to get out of it.  I can speculate that she sensed this and she did what she could to help us find the monster that took them from us.

To quote Sgt. Slocum of the Indiana State Police, “Libby is a hero,”

I am so angry that this has happened.  These girls should have been free to explore and to go on an adventure without the fear of a monster lurking in the brush. Just like I did when I was a girl. I would roam the countryside from sun up to sundown, without a care in the world.

All they wanted to do was go hiking.

I am confident that the person who is responsible for this will be found.I have total faith in all of the law enforcement agencies who are investigating their homicide.  I have no doubt, this monster will be found.

God will not give our girls back to us but he will deliver the person who is responsible for taking them from us. We will find this person. We will have our justice for Libby and Abby.

This morning, Dingo Lu and I went on our morning hike. It was the first morning hike we’ve been able to go on in a few weeks. Work, responsibilities and lack of ambition have been my excuses. It would have been a shame to waste the final day of unseasonably warm weather we’ve had.

As I made my way down our familiar path, I couldn’t help but think about Liberty and Abigail. It was hard not to. With the exception of the warm temperature, it was a typical gray sky, winter morning.

Lu and I sat on a small footbridge that covers a small creek and enjoyed the view and the sound of the water passing below us. I grieved for these girls and their families.  I prayed for them. I prayed for the capture of the man responsible for harming them.

I am an advocate for the outdoors.  I encourage women to get active and to get outside. No fear. Just do it. Get outside. I write blog posts and reviews for trail systems and parks for other organizations. Being an introvert, a lot of my favorite places are fairly remote.  It angers and frustrates me to think about how women and girls have to be so careful as we go about our day to day lives.

Guilty of just trying to enjoy life.

I stop and think, maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore?

Maybe I should issue more warnings about being safe.

I don’t know that I would change any of my practices moving forward. I still encourage women and girls to get outside and enjoy our Earth. I think that females are hardwired to be hyper aware and vigilant for their own safety, even if it’s subconsciously. It’s not paranoia, it’s survival.

I just exhaled a huge sigh.

I am angry. I am tired.I am hurt. I am terrified. I am horrified.

Most of all, I am angry…

Please say a prayer for the people of Delphi, Indiana. Say a prayer for the dispatchers, the police officers, the firemen, the paramedics, the countless volunteers and the families.

Pray that they can find peace..

Camping On Friday the Thirteenth- Pokagon State Park

How did this girl celebrate Friday the 13th? I went camping in a fairly isolated section of the campground at Pokagon State Park. Pokagon State Park is located in north eastern Indiana and is approximately one hour from where I live.

The park was originally called Lake James State Park, but was changed to Pokagon State Park  to  honor the state and regions Native American heritage. Leopold and Simon Pokagon were father and son and the last two notable leaders of the Potawatomi.   Please click here to learn more about the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi.

Also noteworthy, is that Pokagon State Park was home to the Civilian Conservation Corps , Troop #556,  from 1934-1942. The CCC was created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to provide employment for unmarried boys and men 18-23 (later 17-28) as a relief effort during the Great Depression.

While the CCC camp is long gone, you can still see evidence of their work in the park through the stone and log structures and also in the pines and lilac trees that still thrive here.  While on one of my hike’s, I came across one of the old stone dams. You will see a photograph of the stone dam in my photo gallery.

I wanted to mention that the staff I talked to were so nice and really helpful. Since I hadn’t visited this park before, I had a lot of questions and everyone was happy to assist me.  They also have a really nice camp store with pretty much everything that you would ever need, including bundles of fire wood. Too bad I brought my own, there’s was cheaper.

I arrived in early afternoon on Friday the 13th. I reserved my campsite in campground #2 site 247. This site is in a small cul-de-sac and is fairly isolated from the rest of the campground. On this day, it was myself and one other camper who was a few sites over. Otherwise, there weren’t a lot of people around.  I was avoiding other people at all costs as I was having an “introverted episode”.

In all seriousness, I wanted to mention that there are no bad campsites in this campground. They are all great. They are incredibly spacious and there is enough room between you and your neighbor to allow you to have some privacy.  I was overjoyed.

The first adventure that I had was when I was setting up my tent, I set it up on a nest of what I am pretty sure were fleas. Tiny and jumpy. So, I shook off and moved a few feet. I set my tent up and sprayed it with Permethrin to keep the jumpies and the crawlies away.  I didn’t have an issue after that. I am pretty sure I was standing on a nest.

This was the first time I had set up my brand new tent. In another blog entry, I wrote about ordering a Kelty Trail Ridge 3 tent and that it was a replacement for another tent that I no longer owned. That entry was called Planning and Deep thoughts-Replacing What Was Lost.  This camping trip was its maiden voyage.  This tent is great. Kelty products are quality and I honestly can’t say enough that’s positive about this tent.

After I was fairly settled in, I decided to take a drive around and get to know the park. My goal was to spend all day Saturday hiking. Lu and I hopped back in the car and drove through all of the campgrounds, we found the Nature Center, the saddle barn and the giant Toboggan Slide that the park is known to have. We walked around and explored the beach and visited with the horses for a few minutes.

I was so over the moon happy.

As it got darker I returned to my campsite and started a fire. I spent the next few hours sitting in front of the fire. I roasted some hot dogs for Lu and I to enjoy for dinner. I had my iPad with me so I could do some fireside reading. I also enjoyed some music.  Most of all, I just took a breath and relaxed.

As I was sitting enjoying the campsite, I was visited by a raccoon who was watching me through the trees. Later I learned my lesson of not having Lu tethered or leashed. After several warnings because I noticed her watching the woods where the raccoon had been, Lu saw her opportunity to go after the raccoon.

There was a short fight before I got her to come back and somehow, Lu didn’t have a scratch on her. A review of the area where the tussle occurred didn’t show any evidence of the raccoon being hurt either.  Huge miracle because based on the all the noise, I was expecting to take Lu to the emergency vet. 

Follow the rules and keep your dogs on a leash!

I decided to turn in around 11pm. It was starting to sprinkle a bit. I knew that there was rain in the forecast and pretty much didn’t care. I drifted off to sleep while listening to the rain fall outside of my tent. It was amazing.

The temperature dropped about 30 degrees over night. I experienced heavy rain and high winds for awhile. My tent held up like a champ. No leaks.  Bone dry and between Lu and my own body heat and my sleeping bag, we were warm and comfortable. Even though it was cold, it was still wonderful.

We got up, I started another fire and made some breakfast. I enjoyed scrambled eggs and some sausage. I boiled water for coffee and even made some fried apples. It was just wonderful.  Of course I shared some sausage with Lu.  We sat around for awhile and then headed out to hike for the day.

I drove to the parking lot of the Potawatomi Inn, which is located inside of the park, and left my car there for the day. Armed with water and snacks, we headed out to find trail 3. Our destination was Hell’s Point, which is the highest point in Steuben County.

It didn’t take long to reach Hell’s Point.  I have never understood why people give such horrible names to beautiful places. The only thing hellish about Hell’s Point was the climb up the stairs to get there. Or down the stairs, depending on how you come in on trail 3 to get there. It’s just an overlook.

We met two other women at Hell’s Point and had a really nice conversation about my hydration pack. One of the women explained that they both were going to “backpacking boot camp” in Vermont in June. They were looking to buy some gear. I did my civic duty and directed them to REI to look at gear and explained the benefits of being a member.

I also educated them about Lyme Disease and asked them to be vigilant about checking for ticks and suggested that they treat their clothes with Permethrin. They both took notes and one of them was Googling REI and Permethrin. I thought that was great.

Lu and I hiked along trail 3, 9 and then 7. Trail 9 was a lot of fun and loops around the Potawatomi Nature Preserve. The springtime wildflowers were in bloom and the Dogwood’s were all blooming. It was really beautiful.

I got pelted with frozen rain quite a few times. I dressed for the weather, thankfully I had brought a hat, gloves and my wool head scarf that I always just wear around my neck. I love that thing. I decided that it was better to be pelted with frozen rain than unfrozen rain. Ha!

On my way back, I inadvertently took the wrong trail and ended up doing parts of trail 3 twice. After reviewing my map, I finally found my way and started heading out of the woods. I stopped and took a break on a bench that was along the trail. I was taunted by a sign that pointed to trail #7 that was right in front of me.

After a minute or two of debating with myself, I looked at the map to see how long the trail was. It was an easy mile and a half, so I decided to go ahead and go. I was glad that I did.  Trail #7 is also known as Bluebird Hills. Between the Dogwoods in full bloom, the open meadow and the wetland, it was a breath taking sight from on top of the hill. It was like stepping into a painting.

Beautiful.

I completed the trail and headed back to my car. Lu looked wiped out. I was mostly hungry and cold. Yet, really okay with that. We drove back to our campsite to relax for a little while. It was almost 6pm.

I consulted my weather app and saw that the temps were going to continue to drop that night and it was going to rain again. I had to be up very early in the morning so I made the decision to just go ahead and pack up and go home.

Ugh. I didn’t want to leave.

I packed up and pointed my car to the west and went home. Relaxed and pretty happy.  The only thing worse than having to go home after camping out is having to put everything away when you get home.

It was the perfect weekend. I can’t wait to do it again.

Below are some photo’s I took over the weekend. I hope that you will check them out!

 

 

 

Wandering the Region- The Long Lake Loop

Spring is definitely being Spring in northwestern Indiana.  It was nice on Friday. Then, on Saturday I was pelted in the face with giant pellets of frozen rain. It was so windy that I was looking at the trees outside and praying that the large branches would stay attached to them.

By Saturday evening, there was almost an inch of snow on the ground. The roads were very icy and I could tell it was bad just based on how slow the semi’s were going on the toll road. It was a mess that no one appeared to have predicted.

On Sunday morning, I woke to sun and amazing blue skies. It was still very windy, but the temperature was rising. When I left the house it was a warm 45 degrees and by the end of the day it was almost 70.

I had planned on it being warmer on Sunday and was hoping that the forecast wasn’t going to let me down. It certainly didn’t. It was a bright and clear day that was made for hiking. The wind got in my way a little bit, but thankfully I remembered my sunglasses and that helped a lot with the blowing sand.

I ventured down to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I really like the West Beach area. It has trails for hiking and a  beach on Lake Michigan. I don’t really  come around the area in the summer due to all of the “people traffic” but in the spring, early summer and fall, it’s perfect.

I took the Long Lake Loop for the first time. I hadn’t veered off to follow that trail before in the past.  I usually went up, what I call, the stairs of doom.  For some reason, I didn’t capture a photo of the stairs. Just imagine a staircase that goes on forever up the front side of a sand dune.

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Standing at the trial head of the Long Lake Loop

Long Lake Loop Trail

Long Lake Loop Trail

The Long Lake Loop trail is just over a mile and a half in length. ( The park offers 3.5 miles of hiking trails total.)  As you walk along the loop trail, it leads you near the shore of Long Lake. It’s a small lake just adjacent to Lake Michigan and is popular for bird watching.  Recently, they conducted the yearly controlled burn and it was interesting to see the vegetation, most notably the cacti, recovering from the burn.

Controlled burn area.

Controlled burn area.

Cacti- controlled burn victims

Cacti- controlled burn victims

It was peaceful. I enjoyed my time just walking along.  I stopped for a little while to enjoy everything around me.

Long Lake

Long Lake

 

Long Lake

Long Lake

It was a great day. I really enjoyed just taking my time and walking the trails.  I’m looking forward to my next visit. I’m glad that I decided to walk along this trail, I think that I will make a point to add it to my visits in the future.

This is also the only trail in this park where you are permitted to have a dog.  Dogs aren’t permitted on the beach and there is a lot of signage to indicate this.  There were a lot of people there who were disregarding the rule, however, I am not one of those people who doesn’t believe the rules do not apply. I hope my readers will also follow the rules.  The dunes are a fragile ecosystem and must be protected.  

Below is a map of the West Beach area courtesy of the National Park Service.

Map of the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Map of the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

A Walk In the Woods- Snowfall Means Snowshoes

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We had a significant amount of snow fall in my area over the past two days. I made a last minute decision to go out to the park for a short hike before work.  I grabbed the bag that contained my snow shoes, loaded Lu in the car and off we went.

It was the first time this year that I was able to hike with my snowshoes. They definitely came in handy as the snow was just about to my knees. Snowshoes really do make a difference when you’re making your way through deep and heavy snow.

I was the first person to trek through the freshly fallen snow in the park. It was still snowing lightly when I arrived, but then the sun came out and the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue that I have seen in awhile.

I almost couldn’t stop staring at it.

Blue skies.. Nothing but blue skies..

Blue skies.. Nothing but blue skies..

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It was so beautiful!

 

I didn’t get to hike for very long before I had to get in the car and head back home. I had to work and the decision to go out to the park was last minute. Even though I didn’t have a lot of time, I still enjoyed it.

As usual. I had the entire place to myself. Lu and I had a really good time.  I took some photographs. I hope you’ll check out the gallery below.  It was a gorgeous morning. The sky was amazing.

 

 

Home and Family Time- The Weekend

I had a rare weekend off. I work a rotational schedule and it takes awhile for them to come back around. My son was also home this weekend, rather than being with his dad, nearly 3 hours away.

I made a heroic attempt to get the majority of the larger chores done before he got out of school for the day on Friday. Not only did a make a huge dent in the laundry, but I managed to organize and mop my basement.

I’ve been wanting to get that basement under control for quite awhile. How long? There might be years involved here. Years. At least two. I’ve lived here for three years.   It wasn’t stinky and dirty, it was mostly just unorganized. I’m not totally finished. I want to repaint the walls, the floor and get a shelving unit. Or two.

Mission mostly accomplished. I even mopped the kitchen before I left to pick him up.

We decided that morning when I dropped him off that we were going to have a date night and go to his favorite restaurant, Chik Fil A, for dinner. He actually likes to go grocery shopping and doing what I refer to as “administrative” things. ie: going to the bank, car wash etc.  So yes, grocery shopping is appropriate for date night.

My silly kiddo.

My silly kiddo. Hamming it up for the camera.

We enjoyed our dinner. Dom is a connoisseur of sauces and prefers honey mustard for his nuggets and ketchup only, for his waffle fries.  One of the employees even gave him a red balloon ( his favorite color ) after she brought us our ice cream cones. He was pretty tickled about that.

After dinner we made our trip to the grocery store.  I asked him what he wanted to have for dinner ( the next day ) and he told me that he wanted to have Tacos. We had to make sure to pick up plenty of supplies for taco making.

He also suckered me into buying a package of the mini Baybel cheese wheels. It isn’t hard to talk me into such things when you’re as cute as he is and you ask nice. He pretty much gets whatever he wants because he’s so well behaved and doesn’t ask for things very often.

We had a nice and quiet evening at home, watching movies, reading and snuggling.  It’s always nice to be able to spend time with him without interruptions, like school or visitation with his dad. Between all of these things and my work schedule, I protect this time with him.

The next morning, when we finally got up and around, we had lunch and then headed out to do a little hiking. The temperature had warmed up to 50 degrees. The majority of the snow is gone, but there’s a little bit of ice here and there. There’s also plenty of mud. Which we found a mixture of when we got out to the trail.

We hiked for awhile and headed back to the car before it started to get dark. There were tacos to be made when we got home and we were both looking forward to that!  It was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun. I was sad to drop him off at school on Monday morning.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Check out my gallery below to see some more of ours.

 

A Walk On the Lake- Lake Michigan In the Winter

One of my favorite songs is performed by Toad the Wet Sprocket. It’s called “Walk On the Ocean”.  It’s an oldie but goodie and I’m sure that you probably know it. If you don’t, click on the link and enjoy.

The lyric that resonates with me the most is:

“Now back at the homestead, where the air makes you choke. People don’t know you and trust is a joke,”

Ah life. Ain’t it grand? Sometimes it’s more grand than other times. Quite often it’s of the sarcastic sort. Between the usual stressors of life and the added stressors of life, I am at a tipping point. I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing anymore though.

Trials are part of life. If you’re unhappy you need a change. If you want change you have to make it. Good bad or indifferent, you’re the only one who can do anything about your situation.

My problem is letting go of attachments and fear. I want to make sure that I am doing the right thing.  It never fails that when I am at my breaking point ( again) that the universe catches wind of it and then whispers into the ears of people and situations around me and it makes a positive change. Usually though, it’s only temporary.  That’s the sad part that I have come to realize.

Holding out hope for anything is just another form of bondage.

Or is that the universe ( or God ) telling me to just be patient and hold on? That’s one way to look at it.  Either way, it’s a beautiful day and I decided not to be a headcase and go for a walk at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at West Beach.

The West Beach location is small. In the summer time it is usually crowded down on the beach, but not so much out on the hiking trails.  Admittedly, the hiking trails around the West Beach location, aren’t a whole lot to shout about.  I enjoy them nonetheless.

I think the best part of exploring the area is climbing to the top of the ominous looking staircase and taking in the views.  If you care to check out the photo gallery, the staircase is pictured in the fourth photograph. It looks challenging to some, but it’s worth the climb.

From the top of the staircase you are above the pines. You have a 360 view of the area. On a clear day you can see the city of Chicago. You can also see this in the gallery on photograph number eight.

I was alone in the park. The final patrons were returning to their vehicles when I arrived. I was lone. This is the way that I prefer it most of the time. I have been hungering for time to myself. This is the best way to get it. I passed by an older gentleman who was walking an Afghan Hound on a leash. I’m sure he thought there was something wrong with me by the way that I was staring. I’d never seen an Afghan Hound in person.

I didn’t have any of my dogs with me.

I started out my hike by walking along the path to the stairs. I made it to the stop and paused for awhile, taking in the views.  The sun was out, the day was clear and you could see Chicago in the distance. It’s approximately 40 miles from where I was standing to the city limits.

I made my way down the back side of the stairs into the dunes. Most of this section of the park is fenced off to keep people from disturbing the dunes. Humans cause a lot of damage in addition to the natural changes that are also occurring. We needs fences and signs to remind us to leave things alone.

I enjoy this section of the stairs going down because you’re above the pines and also at tree level. There is just something about the pines that I like. More than just the smell. They make me happy. They make me feel peaceful.

I eventually landed on the beach.  Lake Michigan is beautiful no matter what season it is. In my opinion though, the best sunsets come in the fall.  In the wintertime, the lake will eventually freeze over in some spots.

If you look at the photographs you will see what are known as “ice shelves”. This is basically the frozen edge around the water.  The waves crash against the store and bit by bit it freezes. If you look at the photographs you will see where the shelf has formed ( in this spot ) approximately 20-30 feet onto the lake.

I went against the warnings and walked out onto the shelf until I was about 6 feet from the edge. I took great care to make sure I didn’t slip and fall and also listened to paid attention to any movement or change that would indicate it wasn’t going to hold my weight. I wasn’t over concerned. It’s been pretty cold lately.

I stood on the edge for quite awhile. Just looking. Thinking. I also managed to take some photographs and make a couple of videos. It held the peace I was looking for and it made me forget what was on my mind when I left my vehicle in the lot.

After I made my way off the ice, I sat down on a small log that was  frozen in place on the edge of the grass and the sand. I sat there for quite awhile just to watch the waves crash into the shelves, and to listen.

On a humorous note, when it was time for me to leave, I walked towards the bath house, which is where I usually exit to go out to the road that leads to the parking lot.  I didn’t realize until I had gone up the steps to the building that the giant garage doors were down and the bars were up. I couldn’t pass through to leave.

Instead of going all the back from the way I came, I decided to take the only other option available.I walked around the stone pillar and went underneath the bath house. Much like structures built along the ocean, the bath house sits up on concrete pillars to protect it from real high tides and or flooding.

That was an adventure.

It was a good day.

It was a good weekend.

I hope that you’ll check out my gallery that’s included in this post in addition to the short video below.  This video is the first one that I have uploaded to YouTube in almost 7 years! It’s only 17 seconds long. Long enough for you to get the gist of what Lake Michigan is like at this time of year on a calm day.

Photo gallery..

 

Enjoy the Silence

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Solitude in the pines.

I went for a walk in my usual place. I have a lot of thinking to do, this is the best place to do it. I have a lot on my mind. Big stuff. Life stuff. Future stuff. Stuff stuff. I needed to get out and breathe and enjoy some solitude.

I arrived to find the parking lot by the trail head empty. My favorite way to find it.  There had been a recent snow fall.  There was evidence of a plow truck coming through and the county parks department that came earlier to unlock the front gate.

The sun was making an appearance. It was 18 degrees, but it didn’t feel that cold.  There was enough snow on the ground that I almost could have justified wearing my snow shoes. I didn’t bring them though. I’m starting to wonder, as January comes to a close, if we will have enough snow this year to  be able to get them out.

I know, be careful what you wish for.  The eastern United States is dealing with a snow storm that around here we just call “winter”. I’m certainly not downplaying the situation out east, we are just used to it here. I live near Lake Michigan and we experience the phenomenon of “lake effect snow“, where we will get a lot of snow dumped on us.

The systems can be pretty crazy. Sometimes you can actually see it ahead of you. You can actually see the outline of the snow on the wind as it’s blowing. Often, you can be stuck in the middle of a white out ( where you can see nothing) while two miles away, the sun is out and they don’t even know it’s snowing down the road.

Sadly, we don’t experience any sort of phenomenon of “lake effect sun”. That’s does not appear to exist. We actually experience more overcast days because of the lake. I love that lake though, don’t let me fool you. I am a huge fan of it and the sand dunes.

On my way to the park I passed a local in his little pick up truck. I know him because I met him on Instagram. He and I are the only people who regularly tag our locations for our photography. I don’t know his real name, but I can point him out in a line up.  He loves the park as much as I do and he runs the trails.  He was there. I recognized his footprints.

I ventured out. Since we were alone, I allowed Lu off the leash. It really doesn’t matter either way, she’s always behind me. It’s a cattle dog thing. Every now and then I instruct her to “go on” and she’ll run a hundred or so yards ahead of me, stop and turn around and run back. It’s always good to let them go and be a dog. Sniff around, dig in the snow a little, run, stalk a chipmunk.

We were spotted by two White Tail Deer who took off through the woods.  Lu and I watched from a distance as they jumped over the downed trees and brush. Then they stopped to watch us to determine if the intruders were any kind of threat to them.

We made our way through the trails. I am fairly predictable here. We completed our loop, stopping on the pier at Lancaster Lake. It has finally frozen over. There was evidence of critters that had been taking short cuts across the frozen water.

Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. It was simply the perfect morning.

I forgot to think about much else.

I think that’s the point in this…

A Walk In the Woods: Cheaper Than Therapy

Worster Lake, Indiana

Worster Lake, Indiana

I managed to get outside to hike on two occasions this week. I escaped to Spicer Lake Nature Preserve for a couple of hours and then met my friend, Diana,  at Potato Creek State Park.  Potato Creek tends to be a lot busier than Spicer, but not too much in the wintertime.

I loaded all three of my dogs into the car and headed out.  It was a special day for Dingo Lu. Three years prior, she was adopted through the Australian Cattle Dog Rescue of Illinois. Not only was it the anniversary date of her adoption, but we decided that since we didn’t know her actual birth date, that it was also her birthday.

Happy 5th Birthday, Dingo Lu!!

It only made sense that we would go on a hike with all of my girls and my friend Di’s two other dogs.  She has two German Shepherds. One of which, was recently adopted also. All of our dogs get along, thankfully and are very well behaved. Hiking with five dogs wasn’t as stressful as it might seem.

We generally meet near the Nature Center and head out into the park from a nearby trail head. The trails connect to other trails and you can decide how far you want to hike. On Wednesday, we chose to hike just under 5 miles. We traveled along the shore line of Worster Lake and made our way past the Porter Rea Cemetery on the other side of the lake.

The Porter Rea Cemetery is a neat place to visit.  There is just something about old graves. Seeing a birth year from the 1700’s  on a headstone is amazing to me. It opens up my imagination and makes me wonder who these people were. Porter Rea was a community cemetery (as opposed to belonging to a church) that dates back to 1845.

It is the first local cemetery where African American residents were laid to rest with their white neighbors. Sadly, the first resident to be buried here was 9 year old, Emma Porter.  I’ve never been able to locate any information as to why Emma passed away. All I can say is that her final resting place is simply beautiful. Rest in peace, little Emma.

The highlight of the trip would be when we passed by the old Spring House. I forgot about its existence and probably haven’t laid eyes on it since I visited the park during a field trip in grade school. That was a long time ago. It was kind of neat to rediscover that.

Potato Creek is built on and around an old homestead. There is evidence of the old farm through out the park. Every now and then you will come across old rock walls and remnants of farming equipment and buildings.  The old Spring House is still standing and has been fairly well preserved.

Worster Lake finally has a thin layer of ice covering it. Very soon, people will be out there ice fishing. It’s a fairly popular place for locals to go fishing both in the summer and winter months. They don’t allow motors on the water so it’s generally very peaceful and the water is calm.

In addition to hiking trails,  the park also offers bicycle trails, bridle trails and a horseman’s campground, family campground, cabins,  bicycle, rowboat, canoe and kayak rentals.  They also have several pavilions for large picnics.

I always enjoy going on hikes with Di. It’s always nice to catch up and talk about life and work and whatever is going on with us. We hiked about five miles before we called it a day.She has a lot of experience and it’s nice to go with someone who enjoys hiking and doesn’t mind that there’s snow on the ground and cold.

We had a really good hike.

Me Time: Getting Outside

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

I have been working a lot for the past few months. Enough to make me crazy and second guess what it is that I am doing with my life at times. My job can be very stressful and I depend on physical activity like hiking and working out to work through the stress.

I am also an introvert.

The Ur ban Dictionary provides a great definition.

Introvert:  Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.

I’m not shy.  I just need to be alone to recharge. They also nailed the “quiet parks that not many people know about”.  The local park that I visit in search of solitude doesn’t get very many visitors. That’s why I like it so much.

I’ve had a really buy schedule since mid October. I got to spend some time in the woods only one time since then. I also went to the gym maybe two or three times in as many months. I either didn’t have the time to go or I was simply too exhausted.

I made it out to my favorite local hiding spot, the Spicer Lake Nature Preserve.  The preserve is part of the St. Joseph County Parks and is located on the far western part of the county. It sits in the corner of two Indiana counties on the edge of Michigan state.

It was 13 degrees when I started driving to the park. It warmed up to a balmy 18 degrees by the time I arrived. It was sunny though and that helped. It wasn’t so bad. Once I acclimate to the cold weather, I generally only wear a fleece jacket with layers and a hat and gloves.

It was jut a little cold.

It was jut a little cold.

I took one of my dogs, Dingo Lu, with me.  Lu is an Australian Cattle Dog and also my primary hiking partner. She’s quite velcro and usually if I can’t find her, it’s because she’s standing behind me. Keeping me in line.

Dingo Lu has opinions

Dingo Lu has opinions

We did a short hike of only two miles.  I took it slow and tried to enjoy my time. It wasn’t long until my phone started chirping. It never fails that when I don’t want to be bothered that I get a barrage of texts that I actually have to answer. When I’m lonely, nobody calls.

It was more work than it should have been to silence my brain. The fuzzy cotton that clogs your thinking when you’re stressed out really holds on until you force it out. Deep breaths. Pausing to look around. Snapping some photo’s.  It works every time.

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