Ravinia Woods (A Unit of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest)

Originally posted February 2009.

Ravinia Woods is a unit of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest located just 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis. This 1500 acre area of wooded rolling hills and valleys is interspersed with fields, small ponds and several streams.  The land was purchased in 2004 from AES/Indianapolis Power and Light and is open to the public for a variety of outdoor activities including wildlife viewing, hiking, and the gathering of wild berries, nuts, and mushrooms.

February isn’t the prettiest month to go hiking in Indiana, but Ravinia is close to home and begged to be explored.

After parking at the trail head I walked across a small field to the tree line.  As I stepped into the woods I faced every hikers most annoying “companion”. The infamous “sticker bush”.  Oh, the memories of following my dad through the woods as a young boy fantasying that I had a machete to cut these buggers down!

There are no designated hiking trails at Ravinia, so even though this is a small parcel of land, a map of the area and compass are a good idea.  Not to mention the knowledge on how to use them.

Before being owned by Indianapolis Power and Light this was farm land.  And when you’re hiking through former farm land it seems you almost always come across things like this.

After hiking for a mile or so I came across a small pond that looked like a great place for lunch.  I had brought along an old MRE and once I added some water from my hydration pack, lunch was on!

Chicken Fajitas and hot chocolate on a chilly February day.  Now that hits the spot!

This little guy showed up while I was eating.  Who knew Eastern Box Turtles like chicken fajitas?

When I got back to the trail head there were several Turkey Vultures flying overhead.

I wasn’t sure what they were so excited about until I was on the road.  Guess it was their lunch time as well!

Ravinia is a good destination to spend an afternoon exploring the little hills and valleys of south-central Indiana.  I’m looking forward to returning in the spring when the trees and wildflowers are in bloom.

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