Outdoor Indiana - November/December 2014 - Featured Stories

Creature Feature
Trailing
Get dirty

Creature Feature

Eastern Hellbender
(Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
By Shem D. Unger

By any of its colorful nicknames, North American’s only giant salamander is harmless to humans and fisheries, and a sign of clean water.When early settlers saw a giant salamander swimming in their newly discovered streams, they thought it was a creature from hell, bent on returning home.

That’s how it got the most common of its many colorful names—hellbender.

This harmless Indiana native also has been called old lasagna sides, devil dog, mud devil, Allegheny alligator and grampus. Its skin folds and mucous-like skin secretions earned another strange moniker—snot otter.

Cutline: By any of its colorful nicknames, North American’s only giant salamander is harmless to humans and fisheries, and a sign of clean water.

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Trailing

Indianapolis’ Canal Walk
Creating victory from defeat
By Nick Werner, OI staff

Indianapolis’ Canal Walk during a quiet snowy evening last December. The Indiana Central Canal was intended to run 296 miles between Evansville and Peru.

Only 8 miles were completed, all of them in Indianapolis, in the early 1800s.

While the original project was a historic failure, the canal has since evolved into an undeniable success. Today, a 1.5-mile section known simply as the Canal Walk serves as a bustling destination for walkers, runners, cyclists, and sightseeing out-of-towners.

Cutline: A jogger glides east along Indianapolis’ Canal Walk during a quiet snowy evening last December. The Canal Walk’s pleasant paved walkways connect many of the city’s cultural, architectural and tourist destinations.

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Get dirty

Running on trails changes pace from pounding pavement
By Nick Werner, OI Staff

Runners descend a hill at the Gnaw Bone race course.By the end of this calendar year, at his current pace, Larry Moffatt will have run 60,000 miles since he began logging his daily distances in 1979.

And 75 percent of those miles have been on hiking trails at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, a few miles from his home.

To put that into perspective, the world is roughly 25,000 miles around at the equator. So Moffatt, 60, has covered enough miles at the park to circle the world almost two times …

Moffatt is an unsung pioneer in the sport of trail running, which existed on the fringes of running culture for decades before exploding in popularity in recent years. According to research by the Outdoor Industry Association, an estimated 6.8 million Americans participated in trail running in 2013 … Competing in adventure racing and non-traditional triathlons, which combine trail running with other sports, is also on the rise.

Cutline: Runners descend a hill at the Gnaw Bone race course, which used to be part of a ski resort. Creators of the course’s Dances with Dirt race refer to the event as “Shock and Awe” because of the challenging terrain. Trail running has grown in popularity partially because of the scenery it offers participants.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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