Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

Today I added a new item to my favorite places list. Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic place. It’s in southern Indiana, just east of Seymour, on Highway 50.

Not only is it well maintained, but it’s really educational. There’s an old farm that has been restored with a house and a barn. The restoration was done by volunteers in the 1990’s. The farm was owned and occupied by the Meyer family from the 1880’s until the Refuge was created in 1966.

  

There are information stations all over the refuge, including these at the farm. The house is open as a museum.

The wildlife can be seen on an interpretive auto tour (pick up a brochure at the entrance to get the full experience) and along hiking trails.

And speaking of trails, there is a children’s discovery trail and one that is paved  which makes it wheelchair accessible. The trails are easy, fairly level with gravel and grass pathways. And in the marshy areas, they provide boardwalks.

I spent the whole morning wandering around, soaking up history and wildlife knowledge. Definitely a place to go many times again.

Then in the afternoon all the hiking of the past few days hit me. I was tired of driving so I stopped at a campground and took a nap. Am I getting THAT old?!

Earth Day and Raptors

Earth Day was cold and rainy. So I mostly stayed in the car watching movies. I did journey out a little in the evening when the sun finally decided to come out. Walked another trail. This was an interpretive trail on land management and how the DNR has maintained a refuge for the wildlife in this area.

Sunday I got up early and went down to the lake for a meditative hour.

At noon there was a program at the Nature Center on raptors – birds of prey. Dana, the ranger who did the lecture, was excellent. She really knows her birds. She brought out the Red Tailed Hawk you see at the top of this post. And then a little screech owl.

All the birds they keep at the center have been injured and cannot survive in the wild. Patoka Lake is a habitat for birds and the Nature Center is a great educational resource.

All in all, my time at Patoka Lake was wonderful. I will come here again

Heading South

On my way to Hoosier National Forest, I stopped for lunch at a nature preserve. McVey Memorial Forest. It’s a 249 acre forest out in the middle of farm fields. This land was deeded to the DNR by Edna McVey in her will. She loved the woods and wanted others to enjoy it.


Several trails wind through the forest, there’s a small pond, and it’s a wildlife sanctuary maintained by the Red Tail Nature Conservancy. Further in the forest is a small cemetery that is all that is left from a community called Stubenville.

  
You can find it on Highway 1 just north of Farmland, IN.

Back on the Road

Texas is boring. Driving across the state I realize that “everything is big in Texas” means the state itself. Thank goodness I have CD’s cause out in the middle of nowhere there’s no radio. Listening to The Doobie Brothers improves my mood.”…oooooh, rockin’ down the highway.”

You know that thing about the faster you go the more gas you use? Texas speed limit on the highway is 80 mph.  Hmmmm….

Here’s a shot from the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge. I think the white thing over the water is a heron. Saw lots of those.

20170125_101235

Going across Louisiana in Interstate 10 is interesting. Lots and lots of water. I lost count of how many bridges I crossed. Some of them were ten stories high! And part of the highway is a bridge over swampland that runs for 15 miles.

I’m tired of driving all day. From now on my trips will be shorter so I can have some of the days to explore.

Last night and tonight I am overnight parking at different Walmarts. It’s safe and easy. And free! I’ve got everything I need, including a bathroom. What was the name of that movie where a girl lived in Walmart?

I should start heading north by tomorrow afternoon, so I guess it’ll be back to motels. Too cold to sleep in the van.