No, that is not a typo. That is the English misspelled version of a French translation of a Native American word. I know, right? I swear it’s the truth, I couldn’t make this stuff up. Okay.. well I could, but I didn’t. I swear. Apparently, it is known as Ouabache, which is the correct spelling, but most people say it like Quabache. Kwah-bahh-chie. It’s supposed to be pronounced Wah-Bash. Look HERE for etymology. HERE is the park’s website. See? I wouldn’t lie to you.. about this.. right now. Ahem, anyways.
So Hubby and I took a little day trip and went to Quabache. . . Ouabache . . Wabash, whatever. We went there. It was fun. I took lots of pictures to share so get ready for some nature eye candy.
First off, I didn’t know they had bison there but they do! There’s a tiny nature preserve where they have about 7 bison, all ages and both genders, apparently.
There were two, younger bison scraping their horns against a few trees. I guess they were coming in.
The tree was completely stripped of it’s bark from about halfway down. There was also a much younger bison. A calf!
He was a cutie and stayed pretty close to Mom. The enclosure was very large, but was split down about halfway. On the other side of the split, there was one, solitary (and very large) bison. We assumed he was an older (maybe aggressive?) bull.
We walked halfway around the whole enclosure and then ventured off into the trails. We opted to start on the short leg of the longest trail, to see how we’d do. We had forgotten to put on (or even bring) any bug spray. By this point, neither one of us had noticed many bugs and weren’t too worried.
The trails were wide and mostly sunlit. It was gorgeous. We just walked in silence, taking in all the stress busting that nature had to offer. Every now and again, we would stop and point at mushrooms, strangely shaped trees, and funny looking insects and spiders. It was nice. We were starting to notice the bugs at this point, and I was swatting a lot. But it was still fun and we didn’t pay much heed.
The trail veered off and we decided to continue on the shorter route. Some of the trees had been cut down recently, and for good reason. A couple of trees hung precariously over the trail.
By now, I was swatting at the bugs so frantically that I ended up clawing Hubby. I “borrowed” his hat and spent the rest of the walk constantly fanning my head to keep the buggers away. It wasn’t just mosquitoes, it was also flies, bees, and butterflies. I don’t know why flying insects like me so much, but as soon as I’m outside, I’m usually getting buzzed at. Anyways, I did get some good shots of flowers. Of course I have to take pictures of flowers when I’m hiking! Mmm, flowers.
When we finished our hike and the bugs were done feasting on my flesh and blood, we came out by the fire tower.
The fire tower is used to keep an eye out for smoke (and fires starting) during the dry season. Hubby was surprised no one was manning it, but it’s been raining a lot lately, so maybe they don’t have to right now. At any rate, I decided to climb it. Yes, you can climb it. However, there is a sign that says you do so at your own risk. Oh well, here goes nothing!
The stairs and landings are wooden, but the rest of the structure is thin, light metal. It looked pretty sturdy, but once I started to get up higher, it started to sway with my movements. Yikes. Oh well, yodo!
Hubby has a ghastly fear of heights, so he stayed on the ground and waited, very patiently. I took pictures of him at each level, just to see how high up I was getting. It was pretty fun!
Yes, that is him in the middle of the third picture. He’s doing the same thing he was doing in the first picture. During his long wait, he went from the tree, to the sign; from checking his phone to looking around. He was such a great sport to let me have my fun. In the final picture, he’s standing at the base of the tree. I was scary high, but it was cool!
The top of the fire tower had metal walls full of graffiti from sharpie markers. It looked like it got painted over every season because nothing looked very old. Still, it was cool to see the names of all the people that had made it to the top. There was writing on the first step after each landing, also. It usually said something like “Keep going!” or “You’re almost there!” I didn’t stop to take a picture of these because I was desperately holding onto the railing.
At the top, there was a grid of metal to act as a support but still let people see out. There wasn’t any glass, nor sign of there ever being any, so I could stick my camera out and get a good shot of the view.
From way up here, I could still see the bison. There was just one difference: they looked like ants. I had to zoom the camera in all the way to get a shot of them.
I stayed up for only a few minutes because it was getting hot and I was starting to feel the ramifications of climbing four or so stories on rickety stairs. The way back down looked a little less promising than the way back up, but I swallowed hard and took the first flight in stride. By the time I had gotten to the top, other people had gotten the idea to climb as well. I passed two couples and a few groups of kids on the way down. Thank goodness those landings had a little room on them! I also got a better look at the actual construction of the tower on my way down.
After that, Hubby and I both needed a good rest. We grabbed our packed lunches and headed to the nearest picnic table, under some trees. I was extra precautious with the sandwiches and packed them between two ice packs. Don’t do this. The meat was totally frozen. We both only ate half our sandwiches and decided to let the rest of them thaw. It’s a good thing we packed crackers.
I was ready to pack up and leave, or go find a shorter trial to hit, but Hubby had a surprise. Canoeing! The park has a smaller lake on it with canoes and paddle boats, so we walked down there. The sky had started to rumble a little and a few, stray drops of rain fell, but we decided to see what it was like once we made it to the lake. Afterall, this is Indiana: you drive five miles or wait five minutes and the weather will change.
At first, we were going to do paddle boats because we didn’t bring a change of clothes. We didn’t want to flip in the canoe and then have to drive home in soaking clothes and shoes. Still, as we both sat in the shade looking out at the lake, we decided that our legs were just too tired for a paddle boat. Canoe, yes!
As we set out, the sky was starting to get a little darker. We weren’t worried, though, it was moving away from us. We had initially planned that Hubby take the rear and steer, but as he tried to get in the boat almost flipped. So I became the rudder and Hubby the navigator. It worked out pretty well. The rental was less than $5 and it came with two life jackets and two oars. Awesome.
The lady said we didn’t absolutely need the life jackets if we knew how to swim. I tried mine on and found it was really in the way of my arms movements, so I took it back off.
Finally in the boat, we headed out around the lake. There were spots where the seaweed was so high and thick, I thought it would get us stuck. It didn’t. It just gently brushed the bottom of the canoe. A lot of little minnows kept popping up as the jumped around the stalks of seaweed, it was neat.
We took our time and piddle-paddled around the lake a few times. It.Was.Awesome. It was so relaxing to be out on the water, paddling around. There was a large family there that had rented several of the canoes and we had fun watching them joke around. A couple of them raced, a few of them bumped into one another. It made me want to bring my own family next time. I took a ton of shots of the view, but they all pretty much look the same, so I’ll spare you.
It looked like the dark, thunder clouds were starting to inch closer so we opted to get off the lake. There were still quite a few people having fun in canoes and paddle boats, but we didn’t want to be a fricasseed paddler, so we headed for the shore. Let me just say that Hubby and I completely understand why people use kayaks, now. We both enjoy canoes, but it isn’t the best team work workshop for marriages. We were able to laugh at ourselves, but I can see people getting upset at one another. It’s nothing major, everyone just paddles differently. A few times, though, I thought it was good we brought along those life vests – I was eying them and the water. Was it worth it?
We found out that the same shack that rents out the boats also rents out bicycles. We eyed a tandem bicycle and I thought it was a good idea, but Hubby had a convincing argument: “We would kill eachother.” There’s no arguing with sound reasoning.
We headed home and picked up some ice cream in a little town called Berne. It was great to just sit back, relax, and spend quality time with Hubby. We even beat the rain home! Who woulda thunk it?