Wading pool, parks, meadow, puppies other outdoor events to come


The water is good, the meadow blooms and the woods are cool. Take advantage of each one with this week’s Outdoor Adventures events.

Canoe Champions on AuSable

South Bend’s Matt Meersman returns to Grayling, Michigan, to see if he and the same teammate, Jorden Wakeley, can win the prestigious 120-mile AuSable River Canoe Marathon again, July 29-30.

I wrote a column about their victory last year. This time, Meersman says, “I’ve got a big target on my back,” referring to the 100 two-teams across the United States and Canada.

Follow their progress in Canoe #63 at ausablecanoemarathon.org.

Yoga on Potato Creek Beach

The Friends of Potato Creek State Park is hosting a 9-10 a.m. yoga session every Saturday through September 3 on the park’s beach. The cost is $5 per person after the entrance fee to this North Liberty park.

The main column:A local climber faces the dangers of Everest, then attempts the next peak

plastic free picnic

Bring your lunch for this event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on July 29 on the lawn of the Amphitheater at St. Patrick’s County Park in South Bend. The catch: don’t use single-use plastic. It is part of the worldwide Plastic Free July movement and in cooperation with the St. Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District.

There will be eco-friendly games and crafts, such as a recycling relay, make-your-own biodegradable foil confetti, and recycled bubbles.

Walk in the meadows

Hike 1.5 miles among blooming wildflowers at Burns Prairie Preserve near Galen at 10 a.m. on July 30 with Harbor Country Hikers. It will be led by Ryan Postema, executive director of Chikaming Open Lands, which owns the reserve.

From US 12, about 1.4 miles east of Galen, head southeast on Mount Zion Road for about 0.75 mile. Watch for the reserve sign on the left and park along the road.

Paddlefest support legs

Join the canoe races for all skill levels on July 30 on Fish Lake at the Fish Lake Conservation Club, 7873 E. Indiana 4, Walkerton. There will also be a free festival with local artisans and vendors, food trucks, ax throwing, raffles and silent auctions, plus a beer garden and live music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Paddleboard races are $20 per paddler, $10 for ages 12 and under. Sign up and find details at lionspawsforsupport.com.

The Mill Creek Community Lions Club is hosting this event to raise money for pet adoption for military veterans.

Puppy paddle

Dogs are encouraged on this free Saturday 5-mile kayak tour of the St. Joseph’s River from Bristol, which is now a third annual event.

Like last year, it will launch from Hermance Park on Apollo Street, north of Vistula Street downtown and just east of Indiana 15. Meet at 9 a.m. to drop off your boat and drive your car to the end point at the 6 span bridge in Elkhart, where you will park and take a bus/shuttle back to the start. Launch at 10 a.m.

Canoes and motorboats are also welcome at this event sponsored by Bristol Library and the non-profit Bristol on the River. Here is a link to a Facebook group for the Puppy Paddle.

Urban Adventure Games

The games return on July 30 as teams of two on bikes choose the best strategic routes through South Bend-Mishawaka to do checkpoint stunts.

There’s still time to register and have fun for $160, $180 or $200 depending on whether you’re in the Fun, Open or Elite division. Details are at urbanadventuregames.com.

Run wild

This annual run and fun family walk returns August 20 to St. Patrick’s County Park in South Bend in support of St. Joseph’s County Parks. There’s a chip-timed 5k run/walk and a casual 3k “wacky” scavenger hunt walk. Dogs are allowed on a leash for the ride only.

Prizes and Bendix Woods maple syrup will go to the top three finishers in each age category, along with prizes for winners and masters (50+). Door prizes, music and a Victorian Pantry breakfast with baked eggs, fruit cookies and granola will follow.

The 5K costs $20; $17 for ages 14 and under. The 3K costs $15; $35 for groups of 3-4 participants. Add $5 for late registration. Online registration at www.sjcparks.org closes August 18 and mail-in entries must be postmarked by August 4. 8. Last-minute registration will be available on August 19 from noon to 6 p.m. at the park and from 8 a.m. to midnight online.

To volunteer, call 574-654-3155.

Find columnist Joseph Dits on Facebook at SBTOutdoorAdventures or 574-235-6158 or [email protected]


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