August 14, 2016
Hikers: Becky, Michelle and Diego
2355 E. 75 South • Albion, Indiana 467 01
Trail 11, Chain O’ Lakes newest trail, was today’s choice. We had the benefit of 2 vehicles which made coordinating this point-to-point hike possible. We parked at the Norman Lake access. The access road is the first road to the south just past the Gatehouse. We left a second vehicle at the Stanley Schoolhouse parking area. The plan was to take trail 4 to the youth camp and follow the road to trail 11. Trail 4 was not marked but after a little looking, we were able to get on our way. The trails were a mixture of woods and open grasslands.
The trail looked pretty straight-forward on the map but we soon found that following it would take a bit of sleuthing. Chain O’ Lakes hosts long-distance trail runs of 50K, 50 mile and 100 mile. Yes, you read that right, a 100 mile run! Trails are made specifically for these runs and we have found that sometimes makes following the hiking trails to be a little confusing.
Parts of the trail were overgrown and Michelle had an unfortunate encounter with some thorns. Not sure how she managed it but she embedded a couple pretty deep. It’s not a good hike unless there’s blood, right?
About 1/4 of the way down trail 11, we crossed the road at the gatehouse. We took the opportunity for a photo op at the Indiana State Parks’ 100 year anniversary celebration sign.
I can’t say for sure what type of thorns attacked Michelle but I can say that there were plenty of thistles on the hike. Lots of thistles meant lots of butterflies and honeybees. Not the best pictures but the best I could do with a cell phone. We were concerned about rain so I opted not to take my good camera. I regretted that choice!
At one point we once again lost the trail and followed the road for a bit. It was here that we had our second casualty of the hike. We came across an interesting caterpillar and I wanted to take a picture of it. As I mentioned earlier, I was taking pictured with my phone. I also was walking a 90 pound husky mix. As I was trying to get my phone camera to focus, my canine companion decides to walk up to see what I was looking at. It seemed like the whole thing played out in slow motion. I’m tugging on the leash and shouting at the dog as I watch his foot closing in on the poor, unsuspecting caterpillar. I was a half-second too slow and as my shout of “Nooooooo” catches Diego’s attention, he steps squarely on the critter and turns to me with a look that says, “Is something wrong?”. We did come across another caterpillar and this time I had the good sense to have someone else hold the dog while I snapped it’s picture. Shortly after this, we realized the trail was paralleling the road and jumped back on to it for the remainder of our jaunt.
This trail is great for trail runners and there were plenty out on this warm summer afternoon. We soon found ourselves at the Stanley School parking area which marked the end of our journey. Diego and I hung out at the picnic area while Michelle and Becky went to retrieve the other car. While this was a good trail for getting in miles, it is not one we are likely to do again. There are much nicer trails to explore at Chain O’ Lakes.