Perseid meteor showers, a new paddling group, night biking and Dutch oven cuisine all play into the deeper dive we take this week into soaking up summer.
In some of these tidbits, you’ll find morsels of curious information that may be useful throughout the year.
Concert, Perseid Meteors
Dr. TK Lawless County Park, at 15122 Monkey Run St., Vandalia, will host a concert as it also opens late Aug. 11-12 for viewing of the height of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Overnight camping will be allowed.
You won’t be able to see as many meteors as in last year’s Perseid shower because, unlike last year’s crescent moon, there’ll be a full moon filling the sky with extra light.
“The full moon will put a damper on the Perseids but should not completely wipe it out,” says Robert Parrish, a star-watching aficionado who gained the park’s official status as an international dark sky park and who leads the monthly stargazing nights. “It depends on how active the meteor shower will be.”
Status in 2020:Lawless Park in Cass County wins Dark-Sky Park designation
The concert at 8:30 pm Aug. 12 will feature the Samuel Nalangira Trio with folk/world musician Samuel Nalangira, percussionist Carolyn Koebel and bassist Nathan Durham. It comes as part of the Connecting Chords Music Festival and the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music (www.mfsm.us). Donations are accepted. In case of poor weather or excessive cloud cover, the concert will move to Aug 26.
On both nights, Aug. 11 and 12, the park will stay open until midnight for stargazing, weather permitting, unless you’re camping.
It’s good dark-sky etiquette to use red lights instead of white flashlights, which you can do by placing red cellophane over your light. Unlike white light, red light doesn’t interfere with your eyes’ ability to see the stars. It’s not required at Lawless, though.
Park admission is $2 per car for Cass County residents and $3 for nonresidents (bring cash).
There are a few camping spots available for each night. Cost is $10 just for a car, $15 for a tent and $20 for a recreational vehicle. The park doesn’t have a campground; so don’t expect hookups for your RV. Call 269-445-4456 to reserve a spot.
Bluhm County Park at 3855 S. County Road 1100 W., Westville, will dedicate its new 5,576-square-foot inclusive playground at 10 am CDT Aug. 13 with music, refreshments and giveaways. The playground includes wheelchair access to a 60-foot deck, 14 dozen panels for sensory, manipulative, musical and other kinds of interactive play, a double slide, alternative climber pathways, a “quiet grove” retreat to calm kids, a spinner, and swings, including one with a backrest. That is in addition to a jungle gym and other play at the park.
The new playground features were paid for with a grant from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.
Other than that, the 96-acre park has a mix of paved and dirt trails, mostly for hiking and horseback riding, and an off-leash dog park.
August 2022:This time, parks chief says, Potato Creek inn will really happen
From LaPorte, take Indiana 2 west, cross US 421 just north of Westville, then go south (left) on South County Road 1100 West.
LaPorte Night Bike Ride
Join the last of the city parks department’s summer night rides on Aug. 12, departing on a leisurely course of 13 miles from the LaPorte Civic Auditorium, 1001 Ridge St., LaPorte. Check-in will begin at 8 p.m. CDT. Cost is $20 per person, which includes a T-shirt while supplies last.
For questions, contact email@example.com. To sign up, visit a link in this column online.
Monarch butterfly enthusiast Molly Pink will teach how to raise and release monarchs in your backyard at 2 pm Aug. 13 in the nature center at Potato Creek State Park, 25601 Indiana 4, North Liberty. The event, offered by Friends of Potato Creek State Park, is free after paying the gate fee ($7 per car for Indiana residents; $9 for out-of-state cars).
At-home sanctuary:Granger backyard now a Monarch Waystation for the endangered butterfly
Camino hike at bog
The local chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino will hike for 90 minutes at Lydick Bog Nature Preserve, 25898 US 20 in South Bend, at 5:45 pm Aug. 18. It welcomes visitors to this gathering of people who’ve done or plan to do a pilgrimage hike.
Afterwards, there’s the option to dine at Pejza’s Tavern, 26444 Edison Road, with a Polish wedding dinner for $15 as an option on the menu, but you’ll need to email firstname.lastname@example.org by Aug. 15 if you want to join the dinner.
Mythology of the stars
Learn about the Greek and Roman mythology behind many of the summer constellation of stars from 9:30 to 11 pm Aug. 19 at Bonneyville Mill County Park near Bristol. A park naturalist will tell stories, give tips on finding constellations and offer a chance to look through a telescope, depending on cloud cover. There will be snacks and make-your-own star charts.
Cost is $3 per person. Registration is required at elkhartcountyparks.org.
Birds where golf balls flew
Join an Indiana Dunes National Park ranger to scope out a long-abandoned golf course for birds. It’s now the park’s Dunewood Campground, 645 Broadway Ave. in Beverly Shores, just south of US 12 and west of Michigan City.
These two-hour guided hikes begin at 7 am CDT each Sunday in August.
Dutch Oven Gathering
This annual event Aug. 27 at Bonneyville Mill County Park, 53373 County Road 131 near Bristol, is for cast iron aficionados and those who want to be one. It starts with chances to buy, sell or trade cookware during a swap meet from 3 to 7 pm You can sample kettle corn and Bonneyville cornbread during that time.
Then the actual gathering will start at 5:30 pm, with samplings from 6 to 7 pm For $5, tickets allow you to taste up to five different recipes. Two sessions will teach about cast iron care and use tips at 3:30 and 5 pm
Overall registration isn’t required. But, to register for a spot in the swap meet, call the park at 574-825-9324.
This event will be in Bonneyville Mill’s Feedlot Shelter. The park is along County Road 8 about 2.5 miles east of Bristol.
Elkhart Kayak Club
The Elkhart Parks & Recreation Department has created a new group that paddles from 9 to 11 am every other Saturday through Sept. 24. Bring your own kayak, canoe or paddleboard and gear. A parks van shuttles paddlers between the start and finish.
On Aug. 13, the club will paddle Christiana Creek from the launch at Redfield Bucklen Landing in Edwardsburg, on Redfield Street west of Cassopolis Street, and finish at the Christiana Creek Paddling Launch in Elkhart, on County Road 7 just south of Indiana 6.
The club paddles at a different location in Elkhart County each time; you can watch for announcements at the Facebook page of Elkhart Parks & Recreation.
It’s free to participate. To sign up and receive weekly updates and information, visit https://elkhart.ezfacility.com. For questions, contact Brandon Aguilar at email@example.com or 574-295-7275.
Elkhart River Challenge
Either push yourself in a 17.2-mile endurance race where you can win cash prizes or take a casual 6.6-mile float Sept. 10 on the Elkhart River. Both return in the second year of this fundraiser for the nonprofit LaCasa in Goshen.
Included in the $50 fee for each paddler is a T-shirt. A couple of outfitters will provide a boat if you don’t have one.
Downed trees near Ox Bow County Park mean that the endurance racers will have to portage at one point, Sarah Snyder, who’s coordinating the event as LaCasa’s marketing director, says. Racers also get to float through the rapids in downtown Elkhart where a low-head dam was removed across from the fire station.
Snyder says that last year’s race drew a couple of top paddlers in the US and some from outside of the area. The winner in each of four divisions will win $500. All other racers are entered into a drawing for $500. The divisions are split into men’s and women’s younger than 50 and older than 50.
Life jackets are required. Racers will launch at 8 am from Rogers Park in Goshen and finish at Island Park in Elkhart. Casual paddlers will start at 9 am from Rogers and finish at Ox Bow in Elkhart. Register by Aug. 30 at elkhartriverchallenge.org.
Find columnist Joseph Dits on Facebook at SBTOutdoorAdventures or 574-235-6158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.