Family members who read here I will have copies to send in the next couple of weeks.
Because why not? It was gorgeous today. My oldest and I had planned to hike together but her profs decided to add to her work load so I was solo today.
Another item on my E.S.L. is to hike every state park in Indiana. I’m approaching this from a post divorce angle. I want these hikes to be mine, either solo or with people that I want to make memories with. So while I have hiked more than the three I have checked off so far, those previous hikes will not count toward the goal.
Today was Clifty Falls State park. GPS took me in through the South Gate so I had a nice drive up to the North gate where the trail head I needed was located.
I found the parking lot, found the bathroom, packed up my gear and set out on trail 8. Two minutes in and I have a creek crossing that does not offer a way to keep your feet semi dry. So off came the shoes.
So I’m on trail 8. This is a higher elevation trail. For the greater portion of it you are waaaay above the creek bed. It does eventually take you all the way down to the creek where you can pick up trail 2 if you choose.
Along the trail there were several wild flowers blooming. I wish I could claim to be a hiker that can identify flowers and trees like a boss but I’m not even sure I can identify poison ivy and I know I can’t identify poison oak. I’m here for the beauty and the exercise folks! Lol
The closer I got to the creek bed the hungrier I was. I was hoping it would be a great place to rest and grab a snack. I was not disappointed.
After crossing the creek the trail was super nice in offering a climb that I would like to refer to as the booty burner. Once you reach the top your glutes will be on fire!
Trail 3 connects to trail 4 which is easy enough until you get to where trail four connects to trail 5 but there is no sign telling you it’s trail 5. Luckily someone had come from the direction of the unmarked break-off and confirmed that it was trail 5. Dear state park people there needs to be a sign.
Trail 5 was rugged! Loved it though. Lots of stone stairs, tree root steps and just plain challenging paths. My thighs will be sore tomorrow.
All along this trail dogwoods were blooming. Sweet reminders of my Grandmother and all the times she pushed me in the swing that was in their dogwood tree.
What goals do you have for this year?
Today was the day I drove my mom to the Tennessee/Alabama state line to meet her friend Ann who was taking her the rest of the way to Mississippi.
I missed my alarm so I was a bit behind getting ready. I hurriedly packed my hiking back pack with a change of clothes, deodorant so I didn’t offend the wildlife, contact lens solution, glasses, and my knife.
After we got everything loaded we set out. Gas station stop for gas. McDonalds for food but not coffee. We decided we would splurge on Starbucks. We get to Edinburgh and I exit thinking surely there would be a Starbucks by the outlet mall. I’m here to tell you there is not. It is absolutely rediculous and totally unAmerican. Someone is missing out on a money maker over there. I’m just sayin’.
Praise sweet baby Jesus that the next exit proved to be All American and we were able to get our high calorie, over priced coffee after throughly confusing the barista at the drive through. My communication skills were so bad that I told him he should probably get hazard pay for having to deal with people before they’ve consumed caffeine. People, a non caffeinated Jo is not a pretty sight.
Back on the road and we talk about all the things. How much different it will be when mom gets home now that Grandmother is gone. How much we miss her. I tell my mom how amazing she was through all of this. She worries that she didn’t do everything right. I call bull shit on that. I talk about hiking and if I might get rained out. Talk about being single in my 40s, about missing being on the plane that fell out of the sky over Lockerbie Scotland by just a few days, recalling childhood memories, and recapped how there really should have been a Starbucks at that exit.
We spent the entire ride to the state line without the radio on. No phones. Just conversation. And when I realized that, after I dropped her off, I smiled and thought about how amazing that was. Just two friends talking.
Heading back I hit Nashville and the bottom fell out. Rain, rain and more rain. The further north I went the heavier it fell. I checked the radar and thought my hike was going to be rained out for sure.
Oh wait, I haven’t told you about my hiking plans! So, I have this Epic Shit list. It’s like a bucket list but I don’t like the association with death in that title so I changed it. Anyway…on my list I have “hike every national park.” On this trip I was planning to stop and possibly catch a cave tour. So imagine my surprise when I pull up the website and see that Mammoth Cave is actually a National Park! Oh yeah, I’m hiking there for sure. The cave tour was put on the back burner.
Back on 65 north I’m trying not to be bummed about possibly having to pass up hiking.
I have passed this park more times than I care to think about. I didn’t want to pass it by yet again. At the last minute, with the rain falling still, I decided I was hiking no matter what. I exited and drove the 7 miles into the state park.
I changed my shoes and unpacked the clothes from my back pack. Loaded up my water and quickly thumbed through the park brochure my mom had grabbed at a rest stop. I made my way to the visitors center and got a map and some guidance on where to pick up the trail. It’s still not raining and I’m trying not to skip in excitement over the bridge to the trail head.
By the time I got to the bottom of that hill and across the way to the next incline it started raining. And it was the softest rain. Listening to it fall through the trees was amazing and all the vegetation lit up in such vibrant shades of green.
By the time I approached one of the off limits caves it was raining harder. But I didn’t care. This cave is closed because it is full of hibernating bats. The bat population is currently being negatively affected by a fungus. You can read about it here https://www.nps.gov/maca/whitenose.htm
1 National park down. 58 more to go!
You’ve seen my descent. Now watch my rising!
Sometimes simple days are the best days.
Work, school, a meal shared together. Fire in the fire pit, marshmallows and puffed up peeps. Laughter, gratefulness, satisfaction.