An old-growth forest is a wooded ecosystem characterized by being undisturbed over a very long time period. They generally contain diverse plant and animal species and very large trees. Very few places in the mid-west can be considered old-growth. This week a group of eight drove from South Bend to Warren Woods State Park, a parcel of land that has escaped logging and agriculture throughout history and now harbors some of the oldest and most massive trees in Michiana. While our expectations might have been a bit high, there were indeed some impressive specimens of beech, maple, and oak to gaze upon (the largest having about 5 foot diameters). Along the way, some of us were able to practice the obscure sport that I once invented called tree-holing. This involves finding a tree (vertical or horizontal) with a hollowed out center and traversing inside the tree from one end to the other. After the hike, we tracked down a nearby geocache and then headed into the town of Three Oaks where we dined on adorable little pies at a local brewery called Pleasant House.
Warren Woods is worth checking out if you’re looking for a new trail. You’ll especially appreciate it if you’re into natural history or dendrology. It can easily be visited in conjunction with nearby Warren Dunes State Park.