Monday, July 1, 2013

Chain O'Lakes State Park in eastern Indiana

Long drive yesterday.  The plan was to do 325 miles from Muscatine to Chain O'Lakes State Park in western Indiana, north of Ft. Wayne.  The park's highlight is 9 lakes connected by channels; when we visited two years ago we thought it would be a great place to kayak.  We now have kayaks, so we came back.

Last time we drove east we were newbies and the idea of driving 40 feet of vehicle on I-80 near Chicago was intimidating.  This time, after checking the Illinois DOT site for road closures and construction, we decided I-80 was the way to go.  It probably would have been worse on a weekday, but I-80 seemed easy with just a little bit of congestion on a 35-mile stretch straddling the Illinois/Indiana border. 

Then we got off I-80 into more pastoral areas of Indiana and ran into a road closure on Indiana State Route 6 going east.  Obviously I should have also checked the Indiana DOT website.  The detour added 75 miles to an already long day, plus our iPhones routed us on ten miles of country roads where I prayed we would not meet one of those huge tractors with drills/planters/discs that take up 75 percent of the road, because we take up a pretty good hunk of it ourselves and can't back up.  

But we're at Chain O'Lakes and this morning went kayaking. I've kayaked in a tandem boat before but had never paddled in one by myself. This was also the first time I used my new Wilderness Systems kayak Jim and I bought after my knee surgery.  We paddled four of the nine lakes plus a long, narrow channel of water lilies.  Jim says he thinks animals don't recognize people in kayaks as human and are not as afraid -- and that certainly seemed true.  Vultures landed in branches right over our heads.  A squirrel jumped from a nearby branch and almost dumped himself in the water.  A water snake swam about six feet away from me near the shore.  Lovely and fun.
I didn't take my camera because I thought I'd dump it in the water, so Jim took this pic of me in the channel between Dock Lake and Long Lake at Chain O'Lakes.
Bev across the lake from Jim.  In the dead tree behind me is a big vulture who was later joined by a few friends. 
The view from Jim's kayak.

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