Secrets of the Rangers Charles C. Deam Wilderness, IN
At the height of summer, while the heat index soars to near 100°F, hikers flock to Indiana’s only designated wilderness, the 12,900-acre “Deam.” But ranger Teena Ligman, a 27-year veteran of Hoosier National Forest, has a trick for staying cool and escaping the crowds: Skip the trails and spend a day or weekend paddling 11,000-acre Lake Monroe, which borders the Deam to the north. “You can basecamp right on the lake at remote sites which aren’t accessible from any of the trails,” she says. Best bet: Launch from the Cutright boat ramp off IN 446 and head east to wilderness land. Paddle roughly three miles to a campsite on the tip of the John Grubb Ridge peninsula, which sports a fire ring and amazing sunset views. Explore farther east along the shoreline, keeping your eyes open for the ruins of old homesteads.