Day Two Hundred Sixty-four

More of a Day-Trip than a Walk

We knew today’s planned walk was a fair distance away, but we didn’t think we’d be gone all day.

This month’s AAA magazine, Midwest Traveler, has a short feature on the sand-hill cranes that flock each fall to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Medaryville, Indiana. I would love to see sand-hill cranes! I thought, “Great! That’s near the Grand Kankakee Marsh in Hebron, Indiana, that I’ve been wanting to visit and walk. We’ll do both.” My husband, who puts up with all of my crazy ideas, was game and even my oldest son agreed to come along.

Our first stop was the Grand Kankakee Marsh. The walk along the Kankakee River was lovely, and we were glad to still see some wildflowers along the walk. The sandy two-track path was well-mowed and ran right next to the river, giving us some great views.

We enjoyed seeing the different water management and irrigation creeks that led away from the river, but the river level actually seemed low as we could see the root systems of many of the trees on the other bank.

Grand Kankakee MarshWe loved the rural area too, with a one-lane bridge over the Kankakee and railroad tracks that appear to go on forever. We had a great walk on our first stop of this trip, but I really thought we’d see more birds; the only birds we saw were several groups of turkey vultures soaring overhead.

Grand Kankakee Marsh 2Our drive to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area took longer than we thought, and our directions were a bit off. We ended up on washboard gravel roads and driving in a giant circle before we figured it out and arrived at the sand-hill crane viewing area.

We decided that this must be a popular spot, but we were there at the wrong time. In other words, the parking lot is huge, but with only one car parked there–ours. We checked it out anyhow. There’s a nice path through a wooded area with sand-hill crane information alongside. The viewing area is a large two-story tower with posted viewing telescopes.  There were about twenty sand-hill cranes, but we would have never seen them without binoculars or the telescopes because they were so far off. See them along the edge of the mowed area?

IMG_1287Part two of the trip was a bit of a bust! We had a good laugh about it at least. Get this, my family says we’ll just have to go back when there are more sand-hill cranes in October. Maybe I’ll get a telephoto zoom lens by then too!

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