A Day In Nature

   This Sunday was spent in nature and it was honestly so nice. A friend and I left around 9 headed for northern Indiana to Turkey Run State Park. The drive isn’t long but it is all at the same time. Which was nice, it gave us time to talk about anything and everything. We complained about ignorant people, swapped work stories, and whatever else popped into our heads. It was a nice way to distract ourselves as we drove through Indiana countryside and small towns.

      Finally, we reach Turkey Run Park. We pay our fee, receive our maps, and make our way in to park. A quick swing by the bathrooms and a spray of sunscreen later and we are on our way. We hit a couple of false starts before heading in the same direction as several other groups of hikers. Down 70 stairs (as a small child later informed us) to the suspension bridge and our adventure was started. 

    We found trail three and started off. Trail three is set in an old riverbed and involves climbing of all sorts. There were several families there with small children and I was absolutely amazed by their abilities to keep up. They climbed over rocks and logs more than half their height. Plunged through water that reached up almost to their waists. And yet nothing deterred them, none of them slowed or lost their way. While we two almost 25 year old adults picked less harrowing paths or jokingly complained about the water in our shoes. 

   The path split several times but we continued on our way that would take us to the more rugged parts. We climbed up small waterfall after small waterfall. Up natural steps worn in the wall with footholds just big enough for us to step. Next came a sign declaring we were close to the Punch Bowl.

    The Punch Bowl was a small waterfall that fell into a shallow pool. There was a small cave offset to the right side that the family we had followed wandered in to. A photographer sat off on a stone bench nearby snapping pictures while we turned around to continue on the trail. Down the riverbed we went. Through the mud and across the rocks we wove a path that others had carved before us. Occasionally we stopped to take pictures of the beautiful sights surrounding us.

    Onward we went. We finally reached some stairs that carved a path upward at the end of the river. So up we went and went and went. At the top we paused to catch our breath and drink some water. Afterwards we continued on and found more stairs. Some wooden, some stone mostly they were the most taxing part of the hike. After what felt like a constant up and down battle we reached the ladder part of the hike. My friend bravely climbed down the ladder and I took the small path carved in the side of the hill. Both of us took our time and it was slow going. By the end we both were covered in mud and decided it would be better to take trail five instead of attempting the other ladders.

      Trail five was less intense than trail three except for one small factor. The 140 steps. Don’t get me wrong stairs don’t bother me but by the time we reached the 140 we’d already climbed up and down several sets. Not to mention the river bed we had previously climbed through. So by the time the 140 came up we both were a bit less than thrilled, me more so than her. Yet we persisted. We paused a little over half way at a bench and took a water break. Two guys coming from the top smiled and jokingly said, “Its easier going down”. We laughed and agreed easily. They asked if we were headed for trail nine which quickly denied and said we were heading for five. Off they went on their way and up we went on ours. Now I’m not gonna lie at the top I definitely felt like doing the Rocky happy dance, or at least sing some Eye of the Tiger. 

     Trail five wound through the woods and was a gentle slope downward the whole way. We followed the path knowing eventually we’d hit trail three again. Which would ultimately lead to the bridge and back to the car. Except it didn’t. We were close. We could see the river but we had just ended up at the Ice Box which is where the ladders we avoided led to. We searched for a path a bit frustrated that we had miscalculated exactly where we were. Finally, a galnce upward revealed the path we needed and up we went.

      This part of five led us up and down for a bit until we reached non-stair path. The view of the river was now constant and we finally hit back on trail three again.  The end was so close we could taste. The sightings of chipmunks briefly disteacted us but soon we were back on our way. A brief stop for my friend to stretch and loosen up some before the final bit of trail. Now the bridge was in sight and we were slowly regaining speed. Our trek was over and we were tired and happy.

   Once back in the cool car we were on our way back home. Both a little tired, not really talking. Suddenly the hunger set in and we stopped by a McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. Energy mildly regained we were back to talkative and the ride home went by quickly. All in all it was a fun day that didn’t involve technology or us lazing about or getting food or drinking. It was a nice break from what had become the norm for us when we hang out. Although next time we hang out I did promise her it was gonna be nice and lazy. 


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