2021. After 8 years of telling my wife that I would one day buy a kayak and take to the local waters, I bought a kayak and took to the local waters. Worth every penny!
I entered a world unknown to most Region residents; a world that exists parallel to, and sometimes underneath, the more-familiar developed Region. I thought it was important to share scenes from this wild Region to a wider audience, and offer relevant historical context when necessary.
Another starting point was a series of long and somewhat-interconnected hikes during the winter of 2019/20, totaling over 100 miles, through natural areas across the broader Calumet Region.
I'm grateful to everyone who's subscribed to my YouTube channel, clicked the like button, shared the videos, and left comments. I have literally 100s of ideas for future episodes. I get outdoors 2-4 times a week. The show is simple to put together. And I have a huge archive of photos, videos, and sound recordings. I imagine there will be many more adventures in the The Calumet Wilderness in 2022.
Here are my favorite adventures from 2021. Well, the last half of 2021:
Clark and Pine
I joined my friend, writer Michael McColly (you can read an excerpt about his walk from Rogers Park to Miller in The Gary Anthology) for the Christmas Bird Count. This was my first time walking into the Clark and Pine Nature Preserve, up Clark Road on Gary's far northwest side. We found out the hard way there was only one way in and out.
For years I'd dreamed about walking around my old north Merrillville neighborhood where I lived in the 1980s. I really don't know why I didn't do it sooner. For time and clarity reasons I ended up cutting a lot of my stream of consciousness memories. Some of them were quite naughty - find them on my Twitter account.
The reason I wanted a kayak! I paddled the area immediately south of Lake George, the confluence with the Little Calumet River, the stretch between Lake Station and Liverpool, and a trip down the new "rapids"! I look forward to exploring more next year.
Plum Creek, North Creek, Thorn Creek
For some reason my creek videos seem to be the least popular. All that tells me is that I need to make more.
Nature Preserve Yes! Prison No!
I clearly had a blast stealing my first look at the woods and wetlands that almost became a for-profit immigrant prison. I tell the story of our mighty coalition and pay respect to those we've lost since our victory.
Briar East Woods
While I don't intend The Calumet Wilderness as a political or environmentalist show I also never shy away from those issues. This is one to key an eye on. And that red truck at the start of the video? He wasn't waiting for a train. He films people who enter the woods. Creeper!
I walked alone down Redar Road and lived to tell the tale! Of course, I didn't do it at night.