July 20, 2016
From Fort Wayne take I-69 north to exit 154. Take SR127 north, under the interstate, right at the park entrance and northward until you see the ACRES sign on your left.
Hikers: Julie, Becky, Lyndy, Casie
Today’s hike allowed us to explore Beechwood Nature Preserve, as well as the northeast corner of Pokagon State Park. Everyone is able to enjoy Beechwood Nature Preserve today because of the generous donation of siters Mildred and Garnette Foster in 1964. We parked at the Nature Preserve entrance and hiked into the park from there.
We headed on the southern portion of the nature preserve loop after hiking the short spur from the parking lot. Shortly into our hike, we found a small hill filled with memorial trees. What a great way to remember the nature lovers we have lost!
The day was sunny and very warm with temperatures in the low 80’s. We found plenty of summer flowers to brighten the trail.
The trail was open and grassy. We also found a nice selection of Pokemon to hunt along the way. We soon came to the spur trail into Pokagon. We took the southern route of Pokagon’s Trail 8.
The open, rolling hills continued along with the pretty flowers. Benches were scattered along the trail to offer a place to rest and enjoy the views.
We were lucky enough found plenty of ripe raspberries within easy picking range. As we came to the half-way point of the Trail 8 Loop, we took the the spur over to one of my favorite Pokagon trails, Bluebird Hills (Trail 7). This area used to be farm fields. A wetland that had been drained years ago was restored and the hills are returning to their natural state. The roller-coaster trail circles the restored wetland. I always thought this area would make a great backpacking destination if Pokagon ever allowed backpack camping.
We made the wetland loop and then worked our way back to the nature preserve parking lot, taking the northern portions of the Trail 8 Loop and the Beechwood Nature Preserve Loop. In addition to the berries on the trees and bushes, we saw a variety of mushrooms. We did not opt to try any of those!
Altogether, we hiked around 3 1/2 miles. This would be a good year around trail, but the open, rolling landscape would make it an ideal cross-country ski trail. The trails in the area of the park are a nice contrast to the heavily wood sections to the south and west.