Thanks to a bevy of helpful Oppofolk yesterday, I made it to Shakamak State Park last night for a 3-night cabin reservation, and spent much of today on a long hike around the lake.

I love Indiana’s state parks. We celebrated their centennial 3 years ago, concurrently with the state’s bicentennial. The Hoosier park system was championed by Richard Lieber, a German émigré, and in the early days received no public funding. One of its early large donors was none other than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (see, this is Oppo-relevant!).

Lieber felt park admission fees were necessary, however, and by 1942 the parks were self-sustaining. He died two years later at one of the state park inns he felt were vital to encourage visitors. (Thankfully the holidays falling mid-week means I’m practically alone today here at the park, but during the summer this place is reportedly a madhouse.)

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This is all made quasi-relevant by the fact that I’m staying at a park which isn’t far from the state recreation area named after Lieber. I think he deserves a full-fledged state park named after him, but he’ll have to be content with having built such an amazing system out of practically nothing.

Anyway, Shakamak is a converted coal mine (the rather ambitiously-named “Coal City” is just down the road) that is now home to 3 man-made conjoined lakes. It’s quite lovely, and I wish I could afford to just rent this cabin year-round. All it needs is to remove the two bunk beds and put in a closet and I’d be happy as a pig in a poke.

Well, that and Internet. Fortunately my iPad is getting not-terrible connectivity, but my phone is nearly useless.

Today has been gorgeous (upper 50s and 60s) but tomorrow and Tuesday it’s freezing or below. More than I could have hoped for, so I shan’t complain. I’ll miss being able to sit on the screened-in porch tomorrow.

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Happy New Year’s everyone.

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This is why I let other people cook for me.
This is why I cooked for myself this morning.
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Yours truly on my current-favorite trail, which hugs Lake Shakamak so tightly I got my feet wet on multiple occasions.
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