Paynetown SRA and Charles C. Deam Wildernes

February 22 was an unusually warm February day and was a welcome reprieve from the cold and snow of this record-setting winter. Determined to make the most of it, our family headed out of Indianapolis toward Bloomington and the Hoosier National Forest.

Ice at Monroe Lake
Ice at Monroe Lake

We had no particular destination in mind, other than to play around Monroe Lake. After lunch in Bloomington, our first stop was Paynetown SRA. Even though the day approached 60 degrees, the lake still had a coating of ice several inches thick. The water level of the lake had clearly been higher at one point as there were plates of thick lake ice that had collapsed onto the shore. My son had a great time exploring the places where the collapsing ice plates were shattering into tiny ice crystals.

Axom Trail at Charles C. Deam Wilderness
Axom Trail at Charles C. Deam Wilderness

Next stop was just down the road into the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. We parked at Grubb Ridge Trailhead and hiked down the narrow switchbacks of the Axsom Trail. The trail looked fascinating, but there were portions where runoff had nearly washed out the trail. Some summertime repairs will likely be necessary to keep it open.

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