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Indiana Eco-Traveler Update: September 17, 2017

Scaling Mt. Carmel; following Woodland Indians; hiking with Hoosier National Supervisor Mike Chaveas

If the past couple of weeks are any indication, the Natural Bloomington compass has resumed its natural southern pull. Three new photo albums posted in the past couple weeks document two hikes through Hoosier National Forest’s backcountry and brushes with Forest Supervisor Mike Chaveas and prehistoric Native Americans who lived in the woods 700 or so years ago.

On Sept. 16, I led an intrepid group of wilderness champions on our third annual Sierra Club hike with Hoosier Supervisor Mike Chaveas. This year’s trek took us a couple miles into Nebo Ridge, one of the Hoosier’s most rugged and remote areas in southeast Brown County, and the same two miles back out.

Eight days earlier, I bushwhacked through the Charles C. Deam Wilderness with an ad hoc cadre of rock lovers along the Mt. Carmel Fault just south of Monroe Lake. The next day, en route to a marching band competition in Salem, we took a short stroll along the Lick Creek in the Hoosier, past the remains of a walled, 14th century Indian village.

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Next phase: Prehistoric Hoosier National Forest

September 10 - Two excursions into the Hoosier National Forest on Sept. 8 and 9 officially commenced the next field phase of the Natural Bloomington experience -- both involving glimpses into the 202,000-acre federal forest's prehistoric roots. The first involved bushwhacking through the Charles C. Deam Wilderness in search of an exposed section of the Mt. Carmel Fault, a 50-mile-long crack in the earth's crust -- hundreds of millions of years in the making -- that stretches north-northwest from Washington to Morgan Counties. The second featured a leisurely stroll along the Lick Creek in Orange County along the edge of what was a 14th Century Woodland Indian settlement.

Both trips follow a few weeks of sporadic research on the Hoosier's prehistory, the logical starting point for Rewilding Southern Indiana: The Hoosier National Forest, Natural Bloomington's next book project. Most of the bedrock underlying the forest is 300 million or more years old. Archaeological evidence suggests humans have inhabited the wooded hills that stretch from Monroe Lake south to the Ohio River for at least 10,000 years or more.

Archaeologists say the first humans in the Hoosier were hunter-gatherers in the latter stages of the last Ice Age who used the region's rockshelters, caves, and other natural features as hunting camps. So, next on the Natural Bloomington itinerary are photo excursions to places with rockshelters and known archaeological sites, assuming they are accessible. Much of the state's natural history has been destroyed and/or looted and lost forever. - sh

Nature Photo eBook - This is Indiana?

Natural Bloomington is pleased to announce release of our first Nature Photo eBook This is Indiana? - The Natural Bloomington Journey: 2013-2015.

This is Indiana? is a photographic retrospective of Natural Bloomington's first three years and features 105 hi res, full-color images of the Southern Indiana landscape from the Switzerland Hills to the Southwest Lowlands.You can download a copy of This is Indiana? for free. A $10 contribution is requested.



Natural Bloomington continues to evolve

From ecotours
to nature books

Natural Bloomington's transition from ecotourism to nature book publishing continued in 2016 with publication by IU Press in April of A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana and the signing of contracts for two more books.

Ongoing projects, which will be documented on this site, include a Northern Indiana guidebook companion to the Southern Indiana project and a coffee table book tentatively titled The Hoosier National Forest: Rewilding Southern Indiana.

We - owner Steven Higgs and family and friends who support the Natural Bloomington Mission in so many ways - will still arrange ecotours on request.

But the emphasis for the next two years will be exploriong solo what little is left of the unexpected natural beauty that is still to be found in Indiana, north and south.

A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana features anecdotes, directions and photographs of 119 natural areas between I-70 and the Ohio River. Here's what author James Alexander Thom said in the Foreword.

"In this guidebook, Steven Higgs has compiled and written a hundred times more good, useful information about my native state's natural treasures than I ever learned in eighty years of crawling, hiking, riding, swimming, and paddling all over them.”

To purchase a copy and support the Natural Bloomington mission, click here.


Natural Bloomington's mission is to celebrate and share Southern Indiana's natural beauty through image, prose and ecotourism.


Through our Historic, Environmental & Scenic Ecotours, Natural Bloomington subscribes to the principles set down by the International EcoTourism Society for “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Natural Bloomington welcomes the opportunity to lead groups on ecotours during any season of the year.

Contact us for information
on our guide services.


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