Deam Wilderness (Indiana) Backpacking – May 2021


My long overdue third hike of the 2021 season kept me local, to the Charles Deam Wilderness southeast of Bloomington, Indiana. The original plan for my annual spring hike was to head to the Appalachian Trail in late April, but on the very weekend I had planned to hike Mother Nature hit us with six inches of snow followed by two weeks of miserable, cold weather. So I delayed the hike to May and also decided to do something closer to home so the dogs would be able to join me (Jaden’s backpacking days are getting close to an end).

My previous two Peninsula Trail hikes and videos also took place in the Deam Wilderness, but for this hike I decided to head to a different area of the Deam – the Sycamore Trail in the northeast section of the Wilderness. The plan was pretty ‘loose’ but I went in thinking about doing 3 days, 2 nights, and 20 miles or so of hiking. I thought I would probably do the 4.7 mile Sycamore Loop plus some other ‘sightseeing’ on day #1, and then the Axsom Branch Trail and perhaps another go at the Peninsula Trail on day #2. In the end I decided to skip another hike and video on the Peninsula Trail and cut the hike to two days (the weather was pretty miserable with temps in the 80’s, swamp-like humidity, and intermittent rain).

Hiking in May in Indiana is a bit of a ‘long green tunnel’ experience, without the great views you would find in the mountains or even on the AT, so this hike and video was more to provide information to anyone thinking about hiking the areas I hiked in the Deam. But even without mountains and views, it was great to get out into the woods for a couple days with the dogs – I’m not sure how many more hikes I’m going to be able to do with Jaden, so that made this hike extra special.

For anyone thinking about doing this hike, I tried to include as much footage as possible of the various campsite options, water sources, and the trail conditions.

For those who have watched my other videos this one is done in the same style – a half hour in length, intended to bring the audience along for the ‘ride’, and with a still picture slide show with music at the end. If you just have a few minutes skip to the end and enjoy the pictures.

Equipment / Gear List:

Still and Video Camera: Nikon Z6
Lens: Nikkor 24mm f1.8 Z-mount lens
Tripod: Sirui T-025X carbon fiber tripod
Camera shoulder clip: Peak Designs Capture clip system
Video Editing Software: Vegas Pro 16
Pack: Zpacks Arc Blast 55L
Tent: Zpacks Triplex
Sleeping Bag: Zpacks 20degF Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir X-Therm
Sleeping Pad: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite
Pillow: Exped Air Pillow UL
Stove: JetBoil Flash
Stove: MSR PocketRocket 2
Pot: MSR Titan titanium 0.9L kettle
Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot
Buff: Merino wool Buff
Recharging Battery: Anker 3500mAH ‘lipstick’ charger
Camp Chair: Helonix Chair Zero
Camp Shoes: Xero Shoes Z-Trek
Wet Wipes: Survivorware Wet Wipes



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