Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some Walks Are NOT Boring!

Crossing the boardwalk at Ropchan
Eldy and I are in agreement when it comes to walking for our health and exercise. If it's just a walk down a county road or roadway or down a sidewalk around the neighborhood, THAT is boring to us! We're not into bird watching--yet! So we prefer to HIKE--up and down mountainsides or hillsides, and hopefully, with a payoff in there some where--a beautiful scenic view, a waterfall, you know, something like that. And we can look for those things when we are traveling around the country and often find them.

But we're in FLAT Indiana, and there ain't no mountains high enough, ain't no valleys low enough....(Hey, isn't that a song? Sparky's on a roll today...too much Coke for breakfast!) Yep, had two already today, and I'm WIRED!!!! So wired, I had to go for one more walk at Ropchan Nature Preserve in Fremont, IN. And what were we doing there as you thought we were in Elkhart, IN, right? Well, Sparky had to go get her glasses, Eldo had to visit Barton Lake RV supplies, over there next door by the Yogi Bear Campground in Fremont, so he dropped Sparky off so she could get her hike in and burn off some EXCESS ENERGY! (Wear yourself out, Sparky!) I hate to tell him, but I've got LOTS of energy left! Shoulda walked an hour or more instead of 45 minutes. The leaves were falling like snow in a snowstorm today....It was a wonderful walk!
Crossing the meadow from one forest to the next
Ropchan is such a cool place to hike...I told Eldy, and now I'm telling the whole world if anybody's listening and anybody cares, that I'd like to be cremated and my ashes spread over at the nature preserve when I'm gone....Because this is where I've walked many, many times over the seven years I lived in the Fremont/Angola area, and I ALWAYS see something wonderful 99% of the time when I do the 2 mile trail over there. I LOVE this preserve!....In the fall, the deer come to the preserve as if they know they can't be hunted. How many did I see today? Five deer at once, running away from me, two bucks grazing in a nearby grassy area, and at least two different does. The bucks smelled me coming, I could hear the "WHOOSH-WHOOSH!" of their breaths as they sucked in the air trying to figure out what they were smelling (and I took a shower this morning, lol!) and they took off, but not before I could see the antlers, they were young bucks, the antlers just a couple of points...The photos were on far zoom so not the clearest, but it still is a thrill to see them. It's hard to get the bucks--they are far more skittish!
Who's watching whom?
What have I seen in the past at Ropchan? A ten point buck standing in an open grassy meadow watching me cross the boardwalk. I'm watching my feet to make sure I don't step off the boardwalk into the muck, and the buck is watching me watch my feet. I look up, shocked! He looks at me, I look at him, I make a permanent image in my memory banks and he's OFF, bounding into the woods. No camera! Phooey! But you know what? I've never forgotten that image-ever! And every time I cross the meadow on my way through from one forest to the next in Ropchan, I look and remember that day I saw that awesome buck! I've missed some great memory making moments fiddling with my camera, like a whale breech, (Yeah, folks, she missed it! And more than once!) so I've learned the hard way that your mind is the best camera of all!

What else I have seen in that pretty nature preserve? While walking through the pines section of the preserve, a pair of deer came thundering through the woods just a few yards from me, a buck chasing a doe, which scared me half to death because they were so close!  I've seen a discarded deer placenta from a recent birth but no evidence of the mother or fawn....I've seen wild turkeys flush and scatter right in front of me....I've had deer as close to me as a few feet, laying in the brush, not smelling me until I've been right upon them and then they jump up, giving me temporary cardiac arrest because they are so close and then, they're gone! Many, many times has that happened.  I've seen as many as 20 deer running through the preserve at one time, but I have not seen the numbers lately as in previous years.

Another time, I saw another big buck by this bridge...he smelled me coming but couldn't see me behind a wall of high grasses.....I saw him first--he snorted, and snorted, sniffing the air, knowing that something was coming. And then I watched him take off like a shot, bounding away into the grass.....

Fremont, a very small town, is so lucky to have this wonderful preserve for all to enjoy...I am very grateful for the volunteers who come and mow grass, fix the bridges, build new boardwalks, and maintain the trails....It's a beautiful place and one of my very favorites because it was home to me for seven years....


  1. What a beautiful place!


  2. Wonderful Post of a Beautiful Place!!

    There is nothing better for your health than a walk with nature:o))

  3. I would suggest a day trip to Cliffty Falls State Park. It is in the south east corner of Indiana and is a beautiful place as is Turkey Run State Park and The Shades State Park over around Crawsfordsvill, IN.

    Please be careful on the road.

  4. Not much better than a beautiful fall day in a favorite natural spot!

  5. A nice hike. I always enjoy a woalk more when there are deer sightings.

  6. WOW...a little bit of heaven right here on Earth!

  7. I love your "word pictures" of past visits to the place, even if you didn't have a camera. You portrayed the feeling very well of what you experienced there!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard