Shades State Park Again After 33 Years

The summer of 1980 is special to us. We met and started our lives together. Melanie was an undergrad and Jim was in grad school at Eastern Illinois University. A mutual friend, Dan, introduced us over lunch in the cafeteria of the dorm complex.

It was a hot summer in several ways. One weekend, we rented some camping equipment and headed for Shades State Park in Indiana about an hour away. We set up camp, hiked some trails, and rented a canoe to float Sugar Creek through the park.


Was this before or after we drove to town, just to buy chocolate??


It’s still true: Melanie poses with rocks, and Jim poses with trees.



Many years have gone by since our visit to that special place. This year, we planned a road trip to West Virginia to meet our daughter and her family, who live in the Washington DC. The highway eastward took us only a few miles from Shades. We decided it was time to visit that park again and hike some trails, this time in the winter.

The sign to the park is modernized with surrounding stone work. We drove in. No one was at the front gate to collect admission or give directions. We picked up a brochure and drove to the parking lot at the trail heads we wanted to hike.



Here are two galleries of pictures from our walk.

Sugar Creek creates the northern boundary for trails in the park. Several trails descend steeply to the creek. Stairways, ladders, and stream beds allow hikers to cover the distance, one way or another.

The trails we took were rated as “moderate” to “rugged,” and those seemed like appropriate ratings. We enjoyed the challenge of hiking the narrow ravines, picking our way back and forth across the flowing but icy water.

We won’t wait another 33 years before going back.


14 thoughts on “Shades State Park Again After 33 Years

  1. OceanDiver

    Great verticals there, the icicles and layers of rock. Really nice having that third dimension out in nature. Your Tetons walk has that to the nth. I always find it a shock to compare maps to the real thing, in that regard, even google map. Liked the quotes in the Teton piece. There’s truth in that one about connecting more fully when undistracted by socializing – it says something about you guys as a couple you can walk together and still be immersed in nature.

    1. Melanie in IA

      Thanks. I think we are most present when we are outside together. And yes on the maps. I look at the flat trail maps and they don’t convey much to me at all. The layers of the Earth (earth) continue to amaze me.

      Thanks for taking a look today. Good to see you. 🙂

    2. Jim in IA Post author

      I will chime in here with Melanie to say we are very happy and at peace while out together. These winter walks are new to us. And, there is almost no one around. We have it all to ourselves.

      The newer version of Google Maps has a satellite view box in the lower left. Then, you can use the Tilt the View button just below the compass in the lower right. A second click on it goes farther. A third takes you back to directly overhead. That helps with some 3D perspective.


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