The Journal Gazette
Sunday, December 13, 2015 8:05 am

Don't let snow keep you inside

Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette

With winters in northeast Indiana pretty unpredictable in terms of weather conditions, outdoor activities can be hard to come by at times. Hard, but not impossible.

Especially with the Three Rivers Velosport’s Chilly Challenge on New Year’s Day, a 21-year tradition that attracted more than 100 cyclists to Northside Park and around the Fort Wayne trail system.

"The Chilly Challenge is celebrating its 21st year on Jan. 1," Mona Will said in an email on behalf of 3RVS. "First ride started out with what they thought might be about 30 people and 50 or so showed up."

With a mass start at 1 p.m., two loops are available with a 15-mile loop and a 25-mile loop.

There is a stop to watch the Polar Plunge at Johnny Appleseed. There will be hot chili, drinks and sweets upon the return to the starting area. Helmets are required to ride with the group.


Christmas Lights Ride with Three Rivers Velosport, 6 p.m. Thursday – Meet with your bike (and helmet) at Lawton Park for a ride around downtown to look at the lights and a longer loop, if riders want, through Franke Park’s Fantasy Lights with a stop at Summit City Bicycles for refreshments on the way back.

Ugly Sweater Run, 6:30 p.m. Thursday – Meet in front of JK O’Donnell’s downtown and run through a festive route through the holiday light displays downtown. Ugly Sweater beanies are available for sale for $20 preordered or $25 the day of the run. There’s also a free commemorative Ugly Sweater Run pint glass.

For more information, visit

Huff 50K, 8 a.m. Saturday – The 50-kilometer ultramarathon at Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Albion is one of the biggest in North America. Three-person 50K relay and one-loop (10.8-mile) options are also available.

The race is known for its post-race soups and unpredictable weather (in 2011, there was water up to runners’ thighs, and in 2012 it was sunny and 45 degrees).

One loop is $50 and full 50K is $95, and the three-person relay is $195. If all participants of the relay are younger than 19, the cost is $105.

More information available at

December Dash 5K, 9 a.m. Saturday – A 5-kilometer holiday run and walk along Bluffton’s rivergreenway with a 1-mile Jingle Bell Jog. Awards will be given out for overall winners, masters, 10-year age brackets and an ugly sweater contest. Cost is $15 through online registration until Thursday. More information and registration can be found at

Pokagon State Park’s 17th Annual Christmas Eve Walk, 9 a.m. Dec. 24 – Hikers should meet at the Potawatomi Inn Sun Deck for a hike to the Spring Shelter, warm up by a fire, enjoy some treats and hike back to the inn.

Salamonie’s Winter Day Camp, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 29-30 – The camp is for children ages 7-11 at the Salamonie Interpretive Center. The camp will have live owls, games, crafts and pellet gun shooting with a certified instructor. The cost is $25 for both days or $15 for one day. For more information and to register, call 468-2127.


First-Day Hikes

Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks is hosting 32 hikes around the state:

Chain O’ Lakes State Park, 2 p.m. – Starting at the schoolhouse for a 4-mile, two-hour hike with hot cocoa and coffee available

Ouabache State Park, 11 a.m. – Starting at the Bison Pen Shelter for an easy 40-minute, 1-mile walk around the bison pen.

Pokagon State Park, 1 p.m. – From Potawatomi Inn’s Lonidaw Lounge. The less than 1-mile hike ends at the toboggan run, and there will be a fire going for marshmallow roasting from 2 to 3 p.m.

Salamonie Lake, 2 p.m. – From the Salamonie River State Forest Hominy Ridge parking lot. The 1-mile walk will share the Civilian Conservation Corps history.

For a list of the state parks and First-Day Hikes, go to the DNR website at

Fort Wayne Track Club’s Ultra Frigid 5K Fun Run with Scott Jurek, 10 a.m. Jan. 31 at IPFW – This is the first time a public run is available with the guest speaker of the FWTC annual banquet. Jurek is most recently recognized for being the fastest supported finisher of the Appalachian Trail. Registration opens at 9 a.m. at the IPFW Athletics Fieldhouse with no charge to run, no timing and no awards.


Chilly Chili Run, 10 a.m. Feb. 6 – Organizers describe the run as a "just for fun trail run" at Ouabache State Park with 5- and 3-mile loops available with no timing, but chili afterward. The cost to run is $5 or $15 if runners wish to receive a shirt. More information and registration can be found at

30th Annual Fanny Freezer, 2 p.m. Feb. 6 – The 5K at Shoaff Park is the first race of the Fort Wayne Track Club’s points series and one of the earliest 5Ks of the season in the area. Cost is $12, and registration can be found at

Upper Wabash Interpretive Services’ 10th Annual Eagle Watch, 3 p.m. Feb. 13-14 – Participants should meet at the Salamonie Interpretive Center for a short program about eagles and a drive to some well-known eagle spots. Salamonie’s eagle roost is the largest winter roost in the state. Advanced registration is requested and donations will be accepted. For more information call 468-2127.


Headwaters Park ice skating rink is open until Feb. 29. The rink is open daily from 1 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; noon to 10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Cost is $3 for ages 13 and younger, $5 for 14 and older. There is a $2 skate rental fee.

If temperatures rise or remain mild, call the rink at 422-7625 to ensure skating is available.

Pokagon State Park’s Toboggan Run is open every weekend until the end of February from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, with or without snow. Sled rental is $13 per hour.

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