The Spring Birthday 2021 Trip, Part 2 of 8: Muscatatuck Everlasting

Muscatatuck selfie sign.

Some people naturally know where to stage their own selfies. Other people need encouraging suggestions.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. Last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). This year is a different story. Anne and I have each received our pairs of Pfizer shots and reached full efficacy as of April 24th. This past Friday and Saturday the two of us drove out of Indianapolis and found a few places to visit in our eminently imitable road-trip fashion…

…beginning Friday the 14th, when we headed southeast of Indianapolis to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, the oldest of Indiana’s three federal wildlife refuges. The wildlife welcome wagon was small and sedate, but we also found serenity and light exercise in and near the pretty scenery, dense woods, springtime flora, distant singing birds, reflective bodies of water, and easy trails, one of which was an ADA-compliant loop called the Turkey Trail, laid down through the greenery around the visitor center. Gentle times far from big-city life.


Social distancing in the woods.

Welcome to nature! Enjoy your visit! Other people are lava!

A tree grows in Muscatatuck.

One educational sign touted a particular significant elm. We couldn’t find it, so please accept this substitute colossus.

flattened path!

Some paths were paved, some covered in woodwork, some narrow and worn down by guests, and some flattened with paid effort like so.

Muscatatuck playground.

In lieu of store-bought playground installations, kids can bring their imagination and turn this collection of repurposed wood-shop remnants into one fabulous green-screen backdrop in their mind’s eye.

Muscatatuck backyard.

Behind the visitor center (still closed due to pandemic) a sign proclaimed their backyard a “native wildflower garden”.

Muscatatuck crawdad holes.

Around the wooded ponds were several crawdad holes. We couldn’t tell if their residents were home.

Muscatatuck Wood Duck Trail.

After the Turkey Trail we drove a bit farther south to check out their Wood Duck Trail. The sign at upper right forbids jeep drivers from plowing through the underbrush.

Muscatatuck trees.

The Wood Duck Trail was all wood, no ducks. Nary a heartbeat save our own.

Muscatatuck tree.

Not the signs of life we were looking for.

mask in the woods.

Somewhere in Pueblo, a masked Indian sheds a tear that drips down his face mask.

Muscatatuck weeds.

After staring at so much green for so long, any old weed helps forestall monotony.

Muscatatuck daisies.

Daisies were more plentiful and easier to identify. Don’t ask me which kind of daisy.

Muscatatuck pond.

The water bodies came in a few different sizes and forms, from algae-choked ponds…

Lake Sheryl at Muscatatuck.

…to the surrounded, mirrored splendor of Lake Sheryl…

Muscatatuck National Wlidlife Refuge.

…to the effortlessly natural PC wallpaper that is Stanfield Lake.

To be continued!

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