I reached out to members of Women Who Hike and set up a group hike at Shades State Park for this past Saturday.
Shades State Park is often overshadowed by her big brother, Turkey Run State Park. Surprisingly though, Jess and I stumbled upon Shades first. It took another year before we even made it to Turkey Run. We don’t remember how we first heard about Shades, but we went in January or April (we’re not quite sure about that either) of 2016.
We had a blast. It was the first time either of us had climbed ladders as part of a hike! (It doesn’t take much to excite people who have mostly hiked in the Midwest.) I took so many pictures that my phone died a third of the way into our day of hiking. This was pre-portable Anker charger – I now hike more prepared.
Shades State Park is located in the middle of Indiana on the west side making it easily accessible for most of the Women Who Hike members in the state as well as those in Eastern Illinois. (Reason #1 for picking Shades for the group hike.) About 10 women signed up, but only Jess, Nissa and I showed up. We still had a lot of fun even tho it wasn’t quite as we’d planned.
The nice thing about Shades State Park is Trails 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 all start from the Hickory Parking Lot. It makes it really easy to add or subtract mileage as you wish. (Reason #2 for picking Shades for the group hike.)
The three of us hiked Trails 4 and 5. They lead down to Sugar Creek. There are two ladders on Trail 4 and one on Trail 5. Both trails involve hiking through ravines that water runs through. With all the leaves down on the ground it was hard to tell where the trail was and what was lying underneath the leaves….which led to me stepping into water higher than my boot. It wasn’t like it was 27 degrees out or anything…haha. Thank goodness for packing extra socks in my day pack.
We then headed back to the parking lot for a picnic lunch. We could’ve carried our food supplies over to a picnic table or to the Hickory Shelter, but we were too hungry for that. Instead we put my sleeping pad on the ground and Jess’s emergency car blanket over it and sat in the parking lot and ate our lunch.
Once refueled we decided to do one more hike before Jess and Nissa headed back to Chicago.
We did Trail 7, which involves a lot of stairs. The last set (when doing the trail clockwise) was long, steep, and left my leg muscles burning.
It was a great day of hiking, catching up, and making new friends 🙂
- Pine Hills Nature Preserve
- Trail #2