Monday, 31 October 2016

Harlan Cafe...

Candace, Riaan and I had a lovely time with Candace's relatives in north-east Indiana. We had a lovely supper upon arrival in Grabill and enjoyed some fun board games. We then visited the Harlan Cafe for breakfast the next morning. We had visited this country diner the day after flying into the USA as a couple back in July 2014. It was special to be back here.

With Candace's family at the Harlan Cafe.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Mounds State Park...

After visiting Fort Harrison State Park, we continued our journey towards Grabill. We had lunch in Anderson, Indiana, and noticed that we were quite close to Mounds State Park. We visited this interesting place, steeped in ancient history.

There are several ceremonial mounds here, that were built out of the earth, and date from around 160 BC. There are many similarities to Stonehenge in the UK and other ancient sites around the world, as what they were actually used for is still shrouded in mystery. The mounds are laid out in a way that corresponds to the summer and winter solstice and the spring and autumn equinox.

 Handmade dugout canoe near the Nature Centre.
 The historic Bronnenberg House, built by German settlers around 1840.
 They have lovely carved wooden benches throughout the park.
 Approaching the Great Mound.
 The ditch between the outer wall and the inner section of the Great Mound.
 View towards the inner section.
 The whole Great Mound.
 Display showing how the Great Mound and surrounding mounds line up with the solstice and equinox.
 Nature Centre at Mounds State Park.
 Inside the Nature Centre.
 Children's adventure garden outside.
 Great use of old cooking pots.
 Leaving Mounds State Park.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Fort Harrison State Park...

Late last month we took a road trip to visit Candace's family in Grabill, just near Fort Wayne, and Mercy Ships friends just outside of Detroit, Michigan. We visited many interesting places - including four state parks - on our travels there and back again.

One of our first stops on the way up to Grabill was Fort Harrison State Park. This is located on the outskirts of Indianapolis and was a former military camp from 1906 until 1991. Fort Harrison State Park was established in 1996 and is one of Indiana's youngest state parks. We enjoyed browsing in the interesting museum as well as walking along a short trail. It was a lovely start to our travels!

 Pretty indigenous garden outside the Nature Centre.
 Cute little cowboy.
 The interesting museum at the Nature Centre.
 World War II exhibit.
 What the Citizen's Military Training Camp once looked like many years ago...
 And what it looks like today.
 Former accommodation blocks.
 Walking along one of the scenic trails.
 Heading back to our car.
 Lots of big brick mansions in this area.
 Historic stone bridge.
 Fort Harrison State Park Inn.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Twin Caves at Spring Mill...

We found ourselves - along with Candace's family - at Spring Mill State Park recently. We were up in Mitchell for the Persimmon Festival and enjoyed the 5 km fun run in the morning. In the afternoon we decided to do the boat tour through the Twin Caves - one of many cave systems in the area. We went 500 feet through dark caverns and complete darkness before turning around and heading out again. We saw several bats, frogs, salamanders and fish. There were also interesting stalactites clinging from the roof of the cave. I only had my phone with me and so the photos are not that good.

 Camping at Spring Mill.
 Waiting to board the boats.
 Ready to enter the Twin Caves.
 Clear water of the cave system.
 Heading through the narrow passageways.
 Interesting columns and beaches inside the cave.
 Stalactites on the roof of the cave.
Heading out of the cave.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Green Heron in the Mist...

I came across my second green heron sighting while walking around the lake at the East Side Park in Washington. He was sitting at a water outlet waiting for prey on a very misty day.

The green heron sitting in the misty atmosphere. :)

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Brown County State Park...

Candace, Riaan and I enjoyed a relaxing day exploring picturesque Brown County State Park last month. We had visited this state park back in February, but as it was winter then we didn't get a chance to hike any of the trails. We had a lovely picnic lunch and walked along two of the many hiking trails in Indiana's largest state park. It was a great day!

 Picnic lunch at the West Lookout Tower.
 Riaan and Candace.
 West Lookout Tower.
 Family selfie as we hike around Ogle Lake.
 Ogle Lake's dam wall.
 Pretty reflections.
 View towards the dam wall.
 Interesting caterpillar crossing our path.
 An ant dragging a spider on the trail.
 Pretty butterfly.
 Butterflies puddling.
 More butterflies puddling further along the trail. They're extracting nutrients from the dung.
 Bee on a flower near the Nature Centre.
 Interesting mushroom.
 Fungi and other growths on a fallen tree.
 Evidence of beaver activity.
 Heading down the second trail we hiked.
 Strahl Lake.
 Candace and Riaan crossing a small stone bridge.
 Making our way up towards the Nature Centre.
 Brown County State Park's Nature Centre.
 Abe Martin Lodge.
 Riaan with a big teddy bear. :)
Indiana State Parks turns 100 this year.