Sierran Masthead

Bog, Boardwalk, and Berries
Surprise Outings Committee

By Jane Fuller, Chapter Outings Chair

An abundance of serviceberries, carnivorous plants, and floating mats of sphagnum moss were a few of the surprises for those who attended the third 2003 quarterly chapter outings committee meeting. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was the venue for this meeting, and attendees came from as far away as Columbus and Lebanon to join representatives from the Michiana and Dunelands area.

Most of the group arrived on Friday evening to camp on the large, wooded sites at the Dunewood Campground. Serviceberry trees in the campground were loaded with ripe, succulent berries that were eaten-or, in my case, baked into pancakes.

On Saturday morning, the group joined Julie, a national park service ranger, for a guided hike to Pinhook Bog-a rare, contained ecosystem in LaPorte County. All visits to Pinhook Bog are ranger-led and by appointment only due to the fragility and limited space.

While thunderstorms threatened to waylay the hike, they passed over long enough for us to learn from Julie's educational information and visual aids about the geologic history of the area, the unique aspects of a bog, and the types of flora and fauna that may be found there. Visitors walk on a floating boardwalk bordered by wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes. A few berries were ripe enough to sample, but the bumper crop would not be ready for a few weeks. When the berries are ripe, visitors may eat as many as they like but not take any out of the bog-except for the ones in their stomachs!

Sierra Club members study the uniqueness of Pinhook Bog
during a chapter outings committee hike.

Both photos by Jay Stevens.

Pitcher plants and sundew were abundant, and Julie gave us suction bulbs to take water from the pitchers and magnifying cubes to get a good look at the "meat" the plants had captured. She only asked that we return our samples to the same pitcher from which they were removed.

Back at the campground, the group met for discussion and planning of the chapter outings program. I reported that day hike first aid kits had been purchased and assembled, and they were being distributed to groups and individuals who are scheduled to lead outings. Eleven new outings leaders had attended training sessions since our last meeting in the spring. Our discussion focus was on how to publicize our scheduled outings so that we can increase attendance at outings and possibly increase involvement in other Sierra Club activities. We adjourned just before a heavy thunderstorm moved in and sent most of us packing for home. The next quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Lafayette area. I will lead an outing to Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. Just a reminder that everyone is invited to be a part of the chapter outings committee. There is no formal "committee" per se; meetings are open to anyone wishing to attend and share ideas, lead an outing, support the outings program, or just listen to what goes on.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[09/13/03]efp

Fall 2003