Posts Tagged With: south bend

#OptOutside with the SBAC!

It’s been a while since I led an event. I’ve been doing my own thing as of late, hoping that others would take the opportunity to lead events but I just couldn’t let this opportunity go by, to get people to… #OptOutside on this extended holiday weekend!

Today it was a 3.5 mile hike at Ferrettie Baugo Creek County Park, tomorrow I will host a running event followed by a 2.5 mile walk. Both events will be around the Mishawaka River Walk.

We had seven people show up for this event, two who were attending a South Bend Adventure Club trip for the very first time! Unknown to me, Joe Dits, who writes about Outdoor Adventures for the South Bend Tribune, joined us for this adventure! It was a pretty decent late November day in Northern Indiana, it was an overcast day, temperatures in the 40’s, the sun peaked out from time to time to check in on us and to make sure we had some warmth on our faces.

We started in the parking area, hiked towards “Baugo Station”. Before arriving at Baugo Station,  we visited the Saint Joseph County Parks Department official Geocache. From Baugo Station, we headed south along the creek. We crossed the old bridge (pictured below) and continued south along the trail that closely followed the creek. We took some pit stops by some of the areas where the creek got it’s name “Baubaugo”… or “Devil Water”. Despite the fast moving water, the usual areas where the trails get flooded were in pretty good shape. Despite the recent rains, it wasn’t muddy at all. Since I last blogged about the park, it appears they have placed gravel under the Railroad bridge and Washington St and this has kept the area, on the most part, from having standing water or slick mud. (Thank you!).  In early 2016, I agreed to Adopt the trails in this park and to do maintenance where I could. At the end of the hike we got to talking to one of the park employees, it turned out, it was Shelly, who I report my time spent volunteering at the park. It was nice meeting you (Again) Shelly!

After the hike, most of us headed to Bravo Cafe (Lincoln Way, Osceola, Indiana) for some post hike nourishment. Excellent food! We took the time to get to know one another better and to discuss some of the adventures we went on. I’d call this group “Cohesive”, we got along and I think everyone had a great time.

In this day and age, technology is a big part of life and I just can’t help but use technology to track my steps and to give people a perspective of where we have hiked. The Featured image on the blog today was the tracks from my Garmin Forerunner watch exported to Google Earth.  In fact, I had both my old Garmin Forerunner (for GPS) AND also used my Fitbit Charge HR to get steps and heart rate. I’m a gadget geek! I can’t afford all the new technologies that are available but I love tracking everything I do!

I hope you enjoy the few pictures I took. Hopefully you will join us on our next adventure!


Categories: Adventure, Baugo, Hiking, South Bend, South Bend Adventure Club, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Adventures/Our Parks

Originally we planned to go Cross Country Skiing this weekend but unseasonably warm weather changed those plans. We hiked at St. Patrick’s County Park in South Bend, Indiana and after hitting most of the trails, we hiked into Madeline Bertrand County Park in Niles, Michigan. Two great parks, two great states.

We met at the Red Barn and headed through the trail loops on the west end of the park, trails 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Trails conditions in some spots was muddy, others were icy but mostly a combination of both. From the pictures, you will we found a tipi made of wood branches at the start of trail 1. Trail 2 there is an Osprey nest that we thought we might find a Bald Eagle that has been spotted in the area but we only found the empty nest. A young “Luke Trailwalker” led us down a path that brought us to an area of water with a small waterfall. (See pictures below). I made him honorary hike leader and like a champ, he lead us on the path back to the Red Barn, where we passed the tubing hill and an old fashioned gas pump.

When we made it back to the red barn, we had hiked about 2.5 miles thus far. Some used the opportunity to head out for other adventures.. we were lost without “Luke Trailwalker”. We headed along the river on trails 7 and 8 then into Madeline Bertrand County Park. After hiking around Madeline Bertrand County Park, we returned to St. Patrick County Park where were finished out the day with about 6.5 miles. My Fitbit showed about 14000 steps.

Before we get to the pictures, I did want to bring up “Our Parks”. I’ve been following along with some park information and some recent items either in the news or posted on our facebook page. I don’t want to get political about things, I always try to remain neutral but your parks are calling and want you to visit them. Many of the parks depend on the snow (In Winter) for additional revenue streams. Their budgets are tight because they usually are not revenue makers and local governments are looking for ways to cut costs. They end up cutting staff hours, reduce activities…especially when the weather does not cooperate. Show the various Parks Departments that you treasure them, before there is further cost reductions.

Aside from our local parks, there is plenty of action you can take for our local parks:
Elbel Parks Discussion on Sale/Lease of Land
Save The Dunes (Facebook)

On to the pictures!





Categories: Activism, Adventure, Elbel, Madeline Bertrand, Save The Dunes, South Bend, South Bend Adventure Club, St. Patrick's County Park, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Kayaking trip sponsored by the St Joseph County Parks

We have been hoping that people would step up to the plate and plan Adventure Club trips and Jamie LaFortune Hartzke of the St. Joseph County Parks department did just that, asking if anyone would be interested in a SJCP sponsored Kayaking trip. The parks department provide the kayaks, the life jackets and the transportation- it was up to the members of the adventure club to have fun! and by the looks of the pictures they did!

The trip started at Keller Park in South Bend where they put the kayaks in the water and followed the St. Joseph River for 10 miles down to the Niles Dam. The weather was beautiful with temperatures reaching the mid 70’s!

Before I get to the pictures, the Saint Joseph County parks department is also hosting an event at Ferrettie/Baugo Creek Park called “Get Out There”:

The event is geared more towards kids (Kayak, Canoe, Frisbee Golf, Fishing, Geocaching..etc) but everyone should come out and see the park. The South Bend Adventure Club will also have a table at the event! Visit us!

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Categories: Adventure, Kayaking, Life, South Bend, South Bend Adventure Club | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Run State Park and Shades State Park

Let me preface this by saying, I’ve looked through 400+ pictures, I have read my review and with that I can easily say that pictures and words are only half the story. You have to go out and experience this yourself. But if you can’t, I hope to do a good job of painting the picture for you.

The South Bend Adventure Club took a winter trip to Turkey Run State Park a few months ago and while we hiked through the beautiful snow and ice covered canyons, I wondered how much more beautiful this place would be in the spring. It was on the drive home that I devised a plan to get my family out with me for this experience. I called it a Family Mini Vacation and made it a South Bend Adventure Club event for the weekend.

In order to have some family time, my family and I arrived Thursday afternoon before the rest of the Adventure Club (slated to show Friday night or Saturday morning). I knew I had to set the tone. My wife does not enjoy nature like I do, she seems to attract snakes on every trip! I knew the first hike would need to start off with one of the most beautiful areas of the park. We set out on Trail 6 and 7 towards Turkey Run Hollow. As soon as you walk into this area you are met up with an eye popping sandstone cavern. From the moment she walked in, her camera was popping photos left and right (over 250 in total for the weekend!). I had told my son and wife that they need to expect their feet to get wet and to bring extra socks! After hiking through the cavern and crossing the stream of water going through it, no one was complaining about wet or muddy shoes! The evening ended with dinner at the Turkey Run Inn and afterwards we headed to Sunset Point to enjoy the sunset.

We took full advantage of the amenities the park has to offer. Friday morning after breakfast we headed to the Bridle Barn and took a 50 minute horseback ride. I have to admit, it was my first time on a horse and was feeling pretty intimidated but our guide was great, matched the horse up with the person and after about 5 minutes on the lead horse, I was feeling pretty confident. Later in the day we went to the Nature Center to check out a list of their interpretive services. While we were there we attended a free Planetarium Star Show, it lasted about 40 minutes and covered many constellations you would see in the current night sky. Afterwards we went back to the inn, took a dip in the swimming pool and had a lazy evening at the inn.

Saturday morning prior to meeting up with the Adventure Club, we took advantage of another Interpretive Service the park has to offer. We went on a Hike and Fossil hunt while learning the history of Turkey Run State Park. We learned how the park and it’s landscape came to be through the Glacial Period. Among items we spotted along Sugar Creek: Crinoids, Geodes, Coral and even a piece of Horn Coral. Afterwards we met up with the Adventure Club (Brian, Frank, Kerry, Jen, Josh and Rachel) and hit the other trails I was eagerly waiting to bring my family on.

We started off behind the nature center, walked over a Suspension bridge to trail 3 to get to the first cavernous area called the “Ice Box”. Although it was near 75 degrees, you could feel the coolness of the Ice Box that was along Sugar Creek. After leaving the Ice Box heading on Trail 3 until we reached a series of ladders, yes, ladders! You have to climb up a set of 20-25’ ladders to get out (or in- depending on which trail you take) of the canyon we were in. It was pretty busy with people going up and down so we had a chance to rest and take pictures. Watching the water fall as you climb up the ladder sort of takes any fear of heights away J  after going up the ladders we followed trail 3 to trail 5 through Bear Hollow. We hit trail 9 to Boulder Canyon which is exactly like it sounds. As you head into this canyon, each foot step is pretty much a different boulder. We missed the trail out and had to circle back and as we did, my son Joey ended up getting stuck in the mud!

After finding our way back to the trail, we ended up going through Falls Canyon which as described, there was a nice water fall going through it. Oh, I guess I should also point out that we did not see any Bears in Bear Hollow and no Turkey’s in Turkey Hollow but rumor has it the Indians would use Turkey Hollow to trap and hunt turkey.

The Adventure group and I took the trip to Trails 6 and 7 since my family already hiked through it on our first day there, they got cleaned up and headed to the pool. Afterwards we enjoyed free coffee at the Inn! We headed to Shades State Park that evening for a meal cooked at the camp ground that Kerry, Frank, Rachel and Joshua stayed at. A homemade Tortellini and vegetable soup!

Sunday we met up for one last hike. One of the other bonuses of talking to a person in Interpretive Services is finding out where some of the other breath taking areas are in the nearby parks. Barbara told us of another canyon in Shades State Park which was only about 4 miles away. They have a new road going up to Pine Hills Nature Preserve. She stated there was a trail that a portion of is only 5 foot wide with a 100 foot drop off.  After we got through the woodsy area, we hit a creek bed that not only had sandstone but also appeared to have slate in it as well. After crossing over we headed up the side of a cavern of sandstone,  years of wind and water erosion created a delightful eye popping view for visitors to see. Natures art! We headed further up the path and we met up with that 5’ with a 100” drop off. Yeah, I have some fear of heights but wow… again, the beauty of it all took any fear I was experiencing at the moment. It is described in the PDF below as “The steep-sided wall you see before you is an­other back bone. This is Devil’s Backbone. At one point, it is 6 feet wide and 100 feet high. Groups with small children would be advised not to at­tempt to cross it.” – (more information at:

Be informed, there are tons of details and pictures I, unfortunately, had to leave out due to time and space constraints. If you have any questions you can “Friend” me on facebook: (David Krachenfels). I hope you enjoyed the story!

Categories: Adventure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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