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A Winter walk through Summit Lake State Park

by Lance Gideon

They always say that if you don’t like the weather in Indiana, wait 15 minutes. That was true on January 11, 2013 when an unseasonably warm day lead me out to Summit Lake State Park on a beautiful winter day.

When I first got to the park, I ran into a friend of mine, Summit’s Interpretive Naturalist Amber Hook and we decided to drive around. First back toward the campground, then toward the park’s south dock; it was at south dock that we noticed several birds on the lake. The birds included Canada Geese, Swans, and Coots. Many of these birds were sitting on the ice that was slowly melting in the 60 degree temperatures. Amber pointed out that there were 5 swans, three of which were juvenile. Most likely, the adults were the mother and father and the juveniles were siblings.

After our short pit stop at south dock we headed on over to the Summit Lake’s beach parking lot to begin walking trail 3. As we got out of the car to begin our walk we could hear Chipping Sparrow in the woods. The wood that trail 3 meanders through is known as a succession forest leading into a climactic forest, this means that most of the trees are hard wood, cherries and hickory, and range in age from about 60-100 years.

As we walked through the woods we noticed some scat, which was later identified as Coyote scat. While talking to Amber, I learned the difference between scat and dung. Scat is feces that come from an animal that eats meat, while dung comes from an animal that eats plants.

Trail 3 leads walkers toward the lake and has some beautiful sights of the lake; from this vantage you can see the lake’s dam and many coves that were created when the lake was built in the mid-70’s.

After a quick rest on a picnic table on the banks of the lake we decided to finish our walk. The remainder of the trail stays close to the lake and there are plenty of places to take some awesome pictures of the lake. The trail then leads out toward the park’s beach area, which still had a shallow glaze of ice that hadn’t quite melted yet. Amber and I parted ways; I got into my vehicle and home I went. 



Published: 01/17/2013


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