Yesterday a friend of mine and myself headed of to the Salamonie State Park to walk the 13 mile Bloodroot Trail. The park is about an hours drive south of Fort Wayne and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. As we headed off towards the interstate exit my gas light came on, no biggie, there will surely be a gas station on the exit. We headed onto the exit ramp and I looked at my phone to see which way to go, turn right, so off we went, in doing this I failed to notice the gas station across the road on the left. We drove a few miles, then turned left, my phone told us to go 9 miles, a sign said Mt. Etna was in 8 miles, good surely there will be a gas station there. No gas station. We drove another mile, then left for 2 miles, then left for half a mile and turning into a small parking lot to find we had arrived at our destination, it simply provided access to the trail. Yikes, we were now really low on gas and other than trees, a red tailed hawk and a wild turkey we seemed to be on our own. We decided to find a gas station so that we would not be worried about the situation during the hike. So out of the parking and back to the main road, across the main road to the park office, it was closed, then we saw the main park entrance so pulled up the entrance booth. A nice young man told us that a lot of the park was still flooded from the excessive rain that fell throughout June and early July, he said he would not charge us to enter the park, we asked him where the closest gas was located, he told us 9 miles away in Andrews and gave us directions. On gas fumes and prayer we headed off to Andrews, and I am pleased to report that we made it, filled up the van and headed back to the park.
It became apparent on our search for a bathroom that the park was badly flooded. We headed towards the Salamonie Reservoir, signs in the road warned that the road ended in the water, picnic tables were stacked up everywhere, the campground was closed, the beach was closed. Under part of Salamonie Reservoir there are the remains of a small town, a few years ago there was a drought and the water receded to the point that people could walk around the remains, it was a first since the reservoir was built in 1966. This year there is no chance of seeing the remains as the Reservoir is so full and flooded onto surrounding land.
After a little drive around the park we found the Interpretive Center building, it was closed, and just across from it we found the trail head for the Bloodroot Trail. Yea, we were finally starting our hike. Back packs on, hats on, a spray down with insect repellant, (the mosquitos are intense this year after all of the rain), and we were off. The trail was wet with dew and grass long, very quickly our feet were soaked, oh well, this is part of hiking. We came across wild blackberries and enjoyed several of the lovely ripe berries and on we went for about half a mile and that was it, the trail was flooded, and I don't mean just a bit flooded, there was simply a vast expanse of water and it was deep and seemed to be everywhere, so we turned around and headed back to the van. We removed our shoes and socks and place our socks on the dash board in the hopes they would dry out a bit in the sunshine on the way back to Fort Wayne.
Now we know how to get to the park, we know where the trail head is and we hope to return in September to hike the trail, we assume in six weeks time, barring any torrential, ongoing rainfall, the trail should be dried out. Plus I like hiking in September, less humidity, less mosquitos, brilliant sunshiny days, and summer is in its complete last hurrah, it is one of my most favorite months of the year.
My friend and I still wanted to hike, so headed back to Fort Wayne and on the way decided that we would walk the River Greenway Paths in Fort Wayne. I drove us to Sweeney Park and parked the van, we put our damp socks and shoes back on, donned our backpacks, headed to the bathroom and then hit the greenway trail. Good we were off on a walk and planned to take the path all the way to Johnny Appleseed Park, about six miles away. The Greenway was heavily flooded a few weeks ago, although the water has receded there is a lot of debris and mud left in some areas, we got rather muddy and slipped around a bit in the early part of the walk. A walking bridge over the river was barricaded, but we needed to cross so we climbed the barricade and went on our way. It was a great walk, there were many people enjoying the greenway on bike, but very few walkers. We changed our route slightly on the way back, still enjoying the greenway, but avoiding the very muddy areas we encountered early on along with the barricaded walking bridge. When we returned to the van my Map My Walk app said we had walked 11.84 miles in three hours and fifty two minutes, it was an enjoyable walk done at an easy pace with a friend for company. I hope to plan out a good long walk once per month, preferably at one of the state parks as the trails are a little more challenging with lots of hills and that up and down walking is a good work out.
If you have an opportunity to get out and hike, go for it.