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Dreaming of summer

| Monday, February 17, 2014

I love winter — just not after Valentine’s Day. After a while, the initial amusement of making little crunching sounds everywhere I go is literally overshadowed by the South Bend permacloud. In light of my winter depression, I thought a little daydreaming was in order. You see, while my love of winter comes with a few caveats, my love of the summer is truly unconditional.

As the temperatures in the Bend rise above freezing, winter’s blanket will pull back to reveal innumerable opportunities for fun in the sun. Summer is coming (eventually), so I am counting down my favorite spots to enjoy the return of the sun this semester.

South Bend is home to more than 70 beautiful parks. Think about that for a moment. You could enjoy a different park every single sunny day of this semester. I can’t talk about all of them here, but I’d like to highlight two. The first is the Potawatomi Zoo. The zoo is located approximately two miles south of campus. The zoo is Indiana’s oldest and is home to 400 animals. It is an often overlooked, yet excellent, spot for a date. The second park is the white water rapids course downtown. No, I am not kidding. Unfortunately, the course does not open until June this year, but underclassmen and any students staying here this summer should definitely check it out. The East Race Waterway is less than two miles away from campus and costs $5 per person, per run.

The Indiana Dunes State Park is an interesting natural landmark that combines the sights and feel of a beach with thousands of acres of hike-able landscape. The dunes are a bit of a haul from Notre Dame. The 52-mile trek will require a car, but rest assured, the trip is worth it. The dunes are a beautiful place to spend the weekend appreciating the natural beauty of Lake Michigan.

My final recommendation is the Potato Creek camp grounds. The grounds are home to the 327-acre Worster Lake and offer a host of services, including canoe rentals, hiking trails, volleyball and, most importantly, a flushing toilet. The park is 12 miles southwest of campus and is well regarded.

Now, you might be thinking, “Aw, man, why did I leave my eight-room jumbo tent at home.” Well, have no fear! RecSports offers a service that, in my opinion, is under-marketed. Via the Outdoor Adventure tab on the office’s website, you can obtain all forms of camping equipment, including tents.

Spring, summer and warm days are just around the corner. I realize by giving you all of these ideas so early in the semester I am being a bit of a tease. However, I hope that you will use the time to plan some adventures for yourself. Occasionally, the Midwest gets a bad rap. Sure, the winters are rough, and the temperature doesn’t always stay at a balmy 75 degrees, but we do have many natural wonders to explore. Get out and experience it.

The GreenMan will be here every other week to provide you with insights you never knew you were missing out on until now.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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