My 150mile goal

At the beginning of the year when I got my new planner I set some goals for the year. One of them was to hike 150miles. I’m 21 miles into my goal.

Today I hiked a local park with my friend Michelle. Eagle Creek Park is a gem of a park in the Indy area. I had been before with the girls to an owl program and to their discovery center but had not hiked. 

So today we opted for the longest trail which is 6miles according to the park map. Given all the rain we had I really expected it to be more muddy than it was. There were a few spots that were tricky to navigate but I love it when agility is needed. 

It was a beautiful hike! I’ll definitely be back to hike it again. 

Breathtaking

It’s three days out from my dad’s birthday. He would be turning 67 this year. He’s been gone almost 10. A decade. It doesn’t seem possible. When the picture below came up in time hop I immediately recalled that breathtaking feeling. I don’t remember the moment specifically but I can describe to a T the feeling of the realization. It’s like getting the wind knocked out of you.

The grief doesn’t go away. It’s always there in some form under the surface. Its intensity may change from day-to-day, week to week. It may not hit as hard as it did a month ago and sometimes, years out, it can hit you as hard as those first mind numbing days did. What has changed for me is how I recover from those unexpected moments. When they hit I grab onto the grief. I feel the feelings, I cry, I yell, I even wallow sometimes. I don’t stuff, I don’t fight, I don’t ignore. I let them swallow me up and then I get up. I call or text a friend. I hike, I remember something about my dad that makes me smile. I press forward. Sometimes the grief subsides quickly and retreats back under the surface. Sometimes it takes a little while. Eventually though, I get my breath back.

 

58359

 

Another hike

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. 


I made a mental note to pack a small microfiber cloth on my next hike. It would have been helpful in drying my feet. Also? I need a pedicure. Should anyone feel like donating I can accept pay pal! 😜

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. 

Tiny fall


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

Down hill!

You can’t see the but there are tiny white flowers on the ground cover

I love moss!


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. 

Trail crossing over those rocks.

Stayed dry and no longer hangry.

I could have stayed here all day.

North up the creek bed takes you to the base of the Falls.


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! 


At the top I picked up trail 3. This was narrow and on the very edge of the canyon wall. No worries though, if you slip off there are plenty of trees to break your fall. 

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. 


Trail 5 also had some really cool areas where the cliffs were exposed and the trail took you up close. 


Then there were the NOPE stairs that led to a memorial that I’m certain has not had many visitors.

Holy stair case Batman!

And this part of the trail that is the dry bed of a waterfall. You can’t tell from the picture but it’s about a 50ft drop off of there and the bottom is full of rocks. No trees to break your fall this time. 


Another cool area where there was a lot of exposed sand stone. 


Tunnel Falls


Trail 5 ended and I had to walk the road around to the trail head for trail 6. At this point my phone is pretty much dead. Trail 6 met trail 7 and I came across a sign that reminded me of my life.


Of course I chose the rugged path. 😉 Shortly after I headed down this path my phone died. So I completed my hike and then charged my phone so I could come back to get these last shots.


So my 5 mile hike turned into a 9mile hike. It was so beautiful. It was a great day. 

What goals do you have for this year? 

Rise strong!

Love ya!

Jo-

Road trip and epic shit

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


Hood up and I pressed on along the Green River Bluff trail. 


I could see hints of the Green River through the trees and I knew I was high up but I had no idea just how high until I got to the scenic outlook. 



I finished out the hike with almost 3miles complete. It was gorgeous and amazing. Hiking is so cathartic for me. I love how strong I feel. It’s healing and I don’t think I could ever get tired of it. 

1 National park down. 58 more to go! 

You’ve seen my descent. Now watch my rising!

Love ya!

Jo-