This past month has seen many gorgeous days to be out and about. I hope you have enjoyed the outdoors. The flowers are blooming, and the trees are budding. After a nice visit, take in a great place to eat.

Morgan Monroe State Forest is located between Martinsville and Bloomington. The park is a great place to hike and has many options. The older and slower I get, I really appreciate and enjoy the paved trail, although it isn’t for the faint of heart. There are some pretty good grades up and down to deal with. If you are thinking more rustic or longer distance, try out the Three Lakes or Low Gap Trails.

After a good hike, spend some time on the square in Martinsville and eat at the Groggy Goat/Greek’s Pizzeria, 21 North, Come N’ Git It, Los Reyes, Gather Around BBQ, and others.

I spent some time at McCloud Nature Park during the Maple Syrup Festival. McCloud is located in Northwest Hendricks County near North Salem. I enjoyed the Maple Sap 10k, which traversed several trails throughout the park, including crossing Big Walnut Creek on the relocated historic truss bridge. What a view from the bridge! After spending time on the trails, the pancake breakfast is always a hit and a great way to fill up and recover from exercising.

Another trip to Fort Wayne was on the agenda this past month. We visited Shoaff Park for a family get-together. It is located on the city’s north side along the St. Joseph’s River. When I was a kid, we would travel to Fort Wayne for the Three Rivers Festival. I remember going to the Coliseum and Johnny Appleseed Park. Those places don’t look like I remember them—still, a fun place to visit. The Komets had a hockey game the day we were there. Too bad we didn’t have time to attend.

While spending some time at Purdue for a conference, I took a trip west of town along River Road, which follows the Wabash River. I have wanted to visit Fort Quiatenon, a replica of an 18th-century French Fort, for several years. Downriver from the fort is Quiatenon Preserve which has great historical significance.

Take a hike in April to Burnett Woods Nature Preserve in Avon. Managed by the Central Indiana Land Trust, this property has some really unique flora and fauna. The wildflowers should be blooming, so the hike won’t disappoint.