Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Camp" Kokiwanee

Just barely a mile from my childhood home lies140 acres of wonderful wooded wilderness, Kokiwanee Nature Preserve, otherwise known to my family and many others as "Camp Kokiwanee." Camp Kokiwanee was formerly a Girl Scout Camp, originally purchased in 1943 by the Kokomo Kiwanis, hence the name "Kokiwanee." (How the Girl Scouts were tied into the Kiwanis, I'm not really sure.) When Kokiwanee was purchased in 1943, the land was $64.18 an acre, for a grand total of $16,000!  What a steal! 
Kokiwanee is adjacent to Salamonie State Forest. After we climbed almost straight up this bluff, I had to sit for a (long) while. Luckily the view was a welcome distracion during my sweaty, huffing, heart-palpitating, near death break. 
While I was never a Girl Scout myself, my mom and dad were members of the Girl Scout organization. So during certain times of the year when the camp was closed for the Girl Scout-ing season, my family would have opportunities to camp there.  We would clean the lodge, help with tent maintenance, create paths, and other things related to closing or opening the camp for the season.  I don't remember the work much. But I totally rememember the fun of camping, hiking, riding my bike around, swimming in the lake, canoeing, pot luck meals featuring campfire cuisine, and the friends we made with the other families. 
A beautiful reflection on the lake. I can remember many-a-time spent on, in, and around this lake. 
Since 2003 Kokiwanee has been owned by Acres Landtrust.  Kokiwanee features bluffs along the Salmonie River with several streams flowing down several waterfalls to empty into the river.  If you walk the path along the river, you will see at least 4 waterfalls! 
Several of the waterfalls have names, and there are signs directing you to the paths that will take you there.  However, I don't remember which waterfall this is. 

Hank and Evelynn relaxing on a bed of moss.  They recovered from our nearly vertical climb up the bluff much more quickly than I did!
Brand new moss sprouts.  Did you know moss can make its own soil from particles found in the air?
My favorite place at Kokiwanee has always been "Mossy Heights." Mossy Heights, when it's not recovering from the winter, is the largest area of land blanketed by moss that I've ever seen!  When the moss is thick and green, it is like walking on puffy clouds.  One could literally lay down and take a nap on a proverbial "bed" of moss. (If one wasn't freaked out at the possibility of tiny creatures and creepie crawlies climbing into one's ears and nose, and all over one's clothes while one was sleeping!) Later in the season you can find many varieties of odd and unusual fungi growing among the moss beds, too. 

  Don't you just love this enchanted looking mossy path?  I felt like a fairy tale character as we took this route.
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."  ~John Muir
Until we meet again!


  1. I love the photo of the mossy trail, magical! And, of course, the photos of your kids are always adorable. Loving your blog...cannot wait to see what you create!

  2. I was a camper and a staff member for many years when Kokiwanee was a Camp (from the mid 1980's until its last year or two as a GS camp). A big THANKS to your family and others like it for always having the grounds and buildings ready to go for us each year! Equally important is what you've done here to keep interest in the beautiful grounds alive for another generation. My favorite place has always been Mossy Heights too. It was always worth that near-vertical climb. I'm so glad that at least some of the sites around camp kept their 'real' names. I'm ready to come visit again and bring my own kids. Maybe I'll meet you out there someday. Until then, from the bottom of my heart, and many others like it, THANK YOU!

  3. I went to girl scout camp there. Miss it so much. The memories created there will last a life time. Sad it still isn't a girl scout camp. .

  4. I went to girl scout camp there. Miss it so much. The memories created there will last a life time. Sad it still isn't a girl scout camp. .