Into the wild – sort of

A couple months ago, in late Autumn, I spent a very agreeable morning hiking through a state park with my favorite companion. I was mystified (and secretly pleased) at the small number of other people we saw at the park that day – to be fair, it was a Wednesday. Frequently, however, on visits to the park, I am left with the impression that we must be people of some consequence to have all this land, wildlife and simple beauty at our disposal – a private wonderland.

Efforts to move silently down the leaf-strewn trails were futile.  Crunching and scraping along, I glimpsed a doe furtively crossing the pathway far ahead of us.  No camera at the ready, of course, similar to a park visit several years ago that included an unnerving semi-close encounter with a GIANT turkey with several regular-sized turkey minions in tow…but that’s a story for another time.  Standing still in the middle of the park we could hear varied birdsong and see the occasional squirrel, chipmunk or groundhog scuttling through the foliage seeking food. Based on the number of walnuts I had already turned my ankles on, they would probably eat well once we vacated the area. A company of black-capped chickadees swoop into a tree nearby and sing their two-note song intermixed with the zippy “chick-a-dee-dee-dees”. As swiftly as they arrived, they were off again, their bouncy flight taking them out of visual range.

Our walk took us past a lake where, with binoculars, we saw a Great Blue Heron gracefully preening itself on a small rise in the lake. Such an angular creature, it was at first invisible amidst the slim trees jutting up from the little island on which it stood. Searching the water further with the binocs, we saw that logs, usually teeming with turtles, had only a few torpid inhabitants soaking in the late morning autumn sunshine – sunshine with a distinct golden hue rather than the lemony glow of a spring sun.

At some point I remembered my cell phone secured in my jacket pocket. Though it gets no cell service in the park, the camera works and I was able to capture a few images. My photography skills and the limitations of a somewhat dated phone do not do justice to the glory of a late autumn day in northern Indiana. I hope you enjoy the somewhat fuzzy photos.

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