Monday, November 1, 2010

A Chain of Lakes--a Gift of a Glacier

The northern Indiana landscape was formed during the last ice age as glaciers moved in out of the area. This left us with giant boulders in strange places, a line of sand dunes, and a string of small "kettle" shaped lakes strung across the landscape like tiny pearls. 

It was a perfect fall day; brilliantly sunny but chilly. I was in search of the ever elusive chipmunk; it's a good year; there are many due to a good crop of acorns. Alas, I was foiled by a red tailed hawk that seemed to follow me down the trail at our Chain of Lakes State Park.

The park is long and skinny encompassing the chain of lakes. Paths wander in and out of the woods along the lakes and across the bridges over streams connecting the lakes.

We are left with the birds that will winter with us; tiny chickadees were about.  Whenever I would silence my noisy, clumsy footsteps shuffling through the leaves I would hear the woodpeckers rata-tat-tat. I came across a tall dead tree that was alive with woodpeckers inside; a part of a wetlands in between the lakes.

My favorite part of the park is down trail number 4. The trail is a quiet one. It winds first through a large patch of forest, up some steep hills left by the glacier, and finally there is a lake with a patch of wetland on the side. There stand three cypress trees, a rarity in Indiana and very beautiful this time of year. Often I find a blue heron there but today there was only a fisherman in a boat. Perhaps the heron has flown south for the winter. 

I love a hike on a chilly day shortly after most of the leaves have fallen. Birds are easier to spot on trees without leaves. And the sun is still bright through the trees; a wonderful atmosphere for a quiet thank you to the glacier for molding the land for such a perfect day.  

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