Updated: October 20, 2013 7:16AM
The nights are getting chilly and the trees are showing hints of golds and reds, but there is still some time to get out and enjoy the lakes, and there are some great ways to do it.
On Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, you can give a little back to Lake Michigan as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest shoreline cleanup.
Last year volunteers around the world covered almost 18,000 miles of shore along beaches and waterways and picked up millions of trash items littering the shorelines. In Indiana alone, more than 800 volunteers picked up more than a ton of trash along 15 miles of shoreline.
That is especially impressive given that most of the trash collected were small items, like cigarette butts, food wrappers and balloons.
This year collection efforts are scheduled across Northwest Indiana, from the Hammond Marina and Whihala Beach in Whiting, to Washington Park Beach in Michigan City and at several Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches.
Volunteers of all ages are invited to spend a few hours to make a big difference. To find a cleanup event this Saturday, plus ways you can help year round, go online to www.greatlakesadopt.org.
Avast ye readers. Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, but mateys, you can do even more than that at several upcoming pirate-themed events.
Decorate a treasure map and make a treasure chest today at 3 p.m. at the youth activity at the Michigan City Public Library, 100 E. 4th St., just south of Highway 12 in downtown Michigan City.
Set sail tomorrow for Summit Lake State Park in New Castle, Ind., about a 4 hour drive, for Pirate Weekend.
“We’re using this as an opportunity to teach people about what pirate life would have been like in the hunter-trapper days in Indiana, about the early to mid-1800s, when the waterways were used to get furs and goods to where they needed to go. And yes, there were pirates in what is now Indiana. They were on Lake Michigan, the Ohio River and on inland waterways,” said Amber Parrish, interpretive naturalist at Summit Lake State Park.
Gather round the campground campfire at 6 p.m. (CDT) on Friday to hear tales about pirates in Indiana.
Return on Saturday at noon (CDT) to make a pirate flag which you can hang on your ship as you set sail at 4 p.m. (CDT) on a naturalist guided tour of some of the coves of Summit Lake. Boat rentals are available for $5.35 per hour.
The pirates used the stars to navigate. At pirate weekend you can learn about the night sky and get close-up views at the star gazing party that begins at 8:30 p.m. (CDT). There will also be an orienteering program and a battle, with water guns, at this inaugural event with plans to expand next year.
For details and directions, go online to www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2967.htm. There is a $5 gate fee for Indiana-plated vehicles.
The Northwest Indiana Paddling Association has several more outings on this season’s calendar, including the LaPorte Chain of Lakes Tour on Saturday, September 28. Boat rentals are available for this event. For details on the LaPorte paddle and the NWIPA’s remaining events, go online to www.nwipa.org.