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Winter Wellness Weekend at Brown County State Park

by Lance Gideon

Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana is the state’s largest and one of the oldest in the Indiana State Parks system. Opened in 1929, the park has become famous to trail walkers, runners, and bicyclists because of its many hills and beautiful scenic vistas.

I recently traveled to Brown County to take part in the park’s annual Winter Wellness Weekend. I entered the park at 8 am, right before sunrise, and as I made my way to the park’s Nature Center I passed one of the parks two observation decks, the North Lookout Tower. 

The view of the sunrise was breathtaking, and from the lookout tower you could see for miles. Trees were everywhere, I can only imagine what the park would look like with all the leaves on the trees in June, or during the Fall Foliage in the autumn. 

After a few minutes at the tower, I headed on over to the park’s nature center to meet up with Jim Eagleman, the park’s Interpretive Naturalist. While at the nature center I saw many different animal mounts in the center, including a Barn Owl, Gray Fox, and American Bald Eagle; as well as a tree identification area, bee keeping exhibit, and a Timber Rattlesnake. 

Soon, I was on my way down the Scenic Southern Loop Hike as part of the park’s Winter Hike. This trail connects the Nature Center and Strahl Lake and had many stops along the way with interpreters along the way. One interpreter was a forester from Yellowwood State Forest. There, she talked about winter tree identification using bark, and tree buds. 

Another stop along the way was at Hohen Point, where an employee from the T.C. Steele State Historic Site was set up with copies of some of T.C. Steele’s paintings of the Brown County area. T.C. Steele was an Impressionist who was known for his paintings of scenic Indiana. 

After my stop at Hohen Point I made my way to Strahl Shelter. The path from Hohen to the shelter was very hilly and had many views of small streams, creeks, and lots of leaves and trees. Two of the creeks along the path were Skinner Creek and Strahl Creek, which run along the road that was being used as the walking path. 

Once I got to Strahl Shelter I was able to get a quick rest and received Hot Chocolate and S’Mores from a local Boy Scout Troop. The group of boys seemed excited to help out the park and after about 10 minutes I was on my way around Strahl Lake to finish the hike. 

After I made my way around the lake I saw another interpreter talking about animal tracks, scat, skulls, and pelts, the interpreter was one of Brown County’s Seasonal Naturalist.

After a few minutes talking to the Interpreter, I headed up the remaining part of the path. The rest of the path took place on a steep trail with valleys that had quick drops. It took about 45 minutes to get back to the Nature Center from the lake and probably most difficult part of this portion was a set of stairs up the side of one of the hills. After the nearly 100 stairs it was a quick 5 minute walk back to the Nature Center. 



Published: 01/23/2013


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