Category: Outdoors

Safety First at the Polar Plunge

January 1st might be National Polar Bear Swim Day, but Saturday, February 18, 2017 is the day to mark on your calendar. It is the one day of the year when you can watch perfectly reasonable human beings – attorneys, firefighters, high school students, engineers and retirees – purposely walk, jump, skip or even swish into frigidly cold water. For ten years this wild behavior has been going on. And all to benefit Special Olympics.

http://soindiana-rod.org/polarplunge/

Whether the skies are sunny or the snow is blowing, folks will head out to Versailles State Park for the annual Polar Plunge next month. However, before any of the participants can enter the lake, local divers cut through 9” of solid ice to clear the plunge area.

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Between the preparation and the start of the event, emergency personnel check and recheck their gear while experienced divers drink plenty of water and relax.

Every dive demands pre-planning, training and focus. The water rescue team outfits each rescue truck with everything necessary for all kinds of emergencies including dark water, swift water and ice rescues.

 

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Gear like these lines and chain saws are tested frequently and maintained scrupulously to ensure the safety of the divers and the person – or animal – being rescued.

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Each diver is only one part of a large, cohesive team. Even getting dressed properly requires a group effort.

 

Testing gear, communicating with the team and being alert are three vital aspects of any dive.

 

 

 

 

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Clearing the Polar Plunge area of debris that can injure a participant, or impede a rescue is an ongoing process.

 

 

 

 

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The divers share a bond that is difficult to describe. Words like ‘family’, ‘brotherhood’, ‘tight’ cannot define the shared life and death experiences these men and women face regularly in and out of the water as part of the Team.

Everyone has a job to do – from hauling gear, drying lines and inspecting the dive site.

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Once in the frigid water, the team does another sweep before getting into position.

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Almost ready …

 

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Another successful, safe – and fun – Polar Plunge!

To learn about upcoming Polar Plunges in your area, please visit:

http://www.specialolympics.org/Calendar/Polar_Plunge_Events.aspx

To learn more about Rescue Diving, please visit:

http://www.rescuediver.org/Classes/rd-stand.htm

X Marks the Spot Along the Ohio River

The story of the Ohio River has never been straight and clear. Like the waterway itself, the history of the river meanders and rolls, falls and loops about again. This is a river alive with the spirit of Native Americans; moving with the enterprise of frontier families, yet still learning to balance the demands of commerce with the fragility of nature.

R Rising Sun West

Be forewarned – there is a robbers’ lair tucked into the banks of the Ohio River. Named Cave-In-Rock by notorious pirate and murderer Samuel Mason, this once violent site is now a peaceful addition to the Illinois State Park system. Visitors often stay in  comfortable cabins while exploring the nearby iron furnace, or the Garden of the Gods.

Located in Clarksville, Indiana, the once impressive 26 foot drop in elevation along two and one half miles of the Ohio River is now an educational site where fossils more than 390 million years old are preserved. Due to the fluctuating water levels of the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is best visited in late summer and through early winter.

The public is invited to learn more about the Ohio River where it flows through Southeastern Indiana when independent filmmaker Dennis Neary presents his film, Take the River, at the Lawrenceburg Public Library on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:00PM.

W is for Whitewater Canal Tunnel

Just a short stroll from South Miami Avenue in the Southwest Ohio town of Cleves is tucked an often overlooked piece of history: the Cincinnati – Whitewater Canal Tunnel.

Now a mere mere hint of what it once was and what it once promised for the region, this silt-filled tunnel had been used by canal boats for just thirteen years. Sold to the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad in 1863, soon locomotives thundered through the often flooded tunnel until being abandoned in the late 1880s.

Built during the years of 1839 – 1843, the Whitewater Canal Tunnel linked Hagerstown and Connersville, Indiana to Harrison, Ohio before entering Lawrenceburg, Indiana, until reaching the mighty Ohio River.

http://www.indcanal.org/

One of twelve canal tunnels in the country at the time, today only four such tunnels remain. This nearly forgotten structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/03/24/problems-plagued-canal-projects/6833875/

http://www.northbendohio.org/CanalTunnel.html

http://www.cincinnati-transit.net/whitewater.html

 

 

 

H is for Homerun – Vintage Baseball

There is something about baseball – real baseball. Not the mega-million-dollar, made-for-TV broadcasts.

This is baseball at its finest, where the cranks (also known as fans) can breathe in the fresh grass  while experiencing that satisfying thud of a fly ball hitting a outfielder’s bare hand for the final out.

These gentlemen players are just that – gentlemen who play the game without swearing, without brawls, without dirty tricks. The visiting team will cheer on the home town guys. When any player makes an impossible catch seem effortless, both dugouts applaud – as do the spectators.

It is worth seeking out these games, and taking all generations. Grandparents might remember stories about locally famous players; younger children will see true sportsmanship in action, and everyone will have a wonderful afternoon together.

For more pictures of the

Belle River Baseball Club and the Batesville Lumbermen

playing vintage baseball,

please visit Creatzart.com

Thank You.

G is for Guilford Covered Bridge

Until the arrival of steel bridges, most waterways were crossed by footbridge, boat, ferry, or wooden bridge. Of these, the wooden-built, covered bridge might be the most iconic.

According to National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Parke County, Indiana takes pride in being home to 31 covered bridges – the most found in any county in the United States – but Pennsylvania can boast a whopping 213 covered bridges throughout the state.

In Southeastern Indiana, easily visible from State Road 1, rests the Guilford Covered Bridge. The adjacent roadside park named for the bridge is accessed by this 119′ long span.

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Originally built in 1879 by the Kennedy family of bridge builders, the structure had to be rebuilt in 1997 after being damaged by arsonists in 1993. Today, the Dearborn County Parks Department maintains this historic bridge and the accompanying playground and picnic area.

For more information about this and other covered bridges, please click on the highlighted text above, and to enjoy more photos of this bridge and park, please visit  Creatzart.com

 

U is for Unexpected

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Some of the prettiest treasures are tucked right under our noses, or near major highways, anyway. When traveling between Kentucky and Indiana, close to the Ohio state line, an unexpected refuge for man and beast, bird and fish waits for us.

The Oxbow is home to countless land and waterfowl, amphibians, mammals and more. Wildlife is protected here, making this haven just off US 50 near Greendale, Indiana, a perfect setting for plein air painters, binocular clad birders, and contemplative walkers.

This special place is open to the public free of charge and offers an unexpected, little-known escape from the usual routine.

As with any lovely spot, when you visit, please be respectful of the earth by removing any evidence of your visit, and please consider joining the Friends of the Oxbow as a way to ensure future visitors an undisturbed sanctuary of their very own, too.

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S is for Surf

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I love the shore and the mountains, but the ocean might be even more precious to me than the Smokies. The seaside is where I come from since I grew up near Atlantic City – before the gambling, before the noise and commotion, and before the too-big-buildings got in the way of the beautiful sea.

It’s been a very long time since I walked along the New Jersey shore, but I have vivid memories of playing in the clean sand and splashing in the salty water. I loved every minute spent near the ocean, and still feel best whenever I am near water.

In celebration of Earth Day, and in honor of today’s letter S, join me in South Carolina where the surf is calling our names, and the beaches are waiting for us.

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